I’ve always loved plants, houseplants that is, or should I say they have always loved me. It was the standard joke in our house that after Mom killed the plants, I would nurse them back to life. My teenage room did not have posters of the backstreet boys, pedestal bed, or pink frilly bedspreads. My room looked more like a rainforest with vivid ferns, exotic croton, and mottled calathea. It even had a bobcat curled up between the pillows and comforter. As in, Bob, my cat.
When I started adulting and had my own place to care for I moved into the wonderful world of landscaping and flowerbeds. I started planting flowers next to the house, around trees, down pathways, and along patios and porches.
So, when my husband and I bought a farm he suggested putting in a vegetable garden. I did not know a think about vegetable gardens. I’m a city girl! I bought my vegetables from the store or the farmer’s market in Lincoln Park!
“I got this,” my husband assured me. Having been raised on a farm I believed him. I agreed we should have a vegetable garden and he would take care of it. Only he didn’t. Don’t get me wrong, he was diligent in working the soil every spring, planting the seeds and plants, mostly tomatoes, peppers, and kohlrabi. And then he would promptly forget about it. So our vegetable garden soon became a weed garden.
Admittedly, I do not know much about vegetable gardens but I’m pretty sure they are supposed to grow vegetables, not smartweeds. Ever time I walked past the garden I imagined the tomato plants sending out an SOS. I physically felt sorry for a garden. I told my husband that I would be taking over the garden and that he was no longer allowed in it. He just smiled like a Cheshire cat and said, “Okay.”
I think I’ve been tricked!
Well if I’m going to have a garden it needs to encompass my love of fresh herbs and cooking. First thing I did was double the size and add more veggies. Along with the tomato and peppers, I added corn, zucchini, cucumber, broccoli, cauliflower, beets, onions, strawberry, kale, and lettuce. I took advantage of the fence line and planted squash, pumpkin, and watermelon.
Then, I decided to treat it like landscaping. Instead of a patch of turned up dirt in the yard. I looked for ways to bring in interest and make it an area that I wanted to hang out in. So, I added seating to rest my sore body after weeding. Put in borders to create clean lines and help control the more viney plants that if not careful will overtake the garden. Then I added pathways for visual contrast and to provide a way to walk around without trampling vegetation or getting my shoes all muddy.
My vegetable garden is now a part of my landscape and I am so happy I rescued it. I hope you enjoy the gardens! – Ella