Why am I doing this?

My husband has been telling me for a while that I need to consider keeping a blog about my adventure into growing produce for our family.  He said it would be a way to help me keep up with what I was doing in the garden and (hopefully) help people like me in the process.  But I was dragging my feet because the nagging question wouldn’t let me go … Who would actually want to read this?  So for my birthday, he, being the amazing husband that he is (just see his Happy Birthday post to show his awesomeness), got the ball rolling.  So here goes nothing!

Gardening was not initially a natural thing for me … like at all.  Yard work was a painful thing that my parents dragged us out to do as kids.  I could kill a plant in the blink of an eye.  It was spectacular.  But I loved to cook … and that passion only got stronger with years of food service industry work and living near fantastic farmers markets.  So it eventually became obvious, shortly after getting married, that I need to, at the very least, be growing some herbs.  I knew nothing.  It started okay … and by okay I mean an overcrowded pot with all the wrong things that totally became an overgrown monstrosity. Basil got huge and leggy with hardly enough leaves for a salad.  Rosemary and mint were on a mission to destroy any other plant in their path.  Mint is evil in the garden by the way.  A discussion for another day.  Everything bolted (for the gardening newbie, bolting is when the plant flowers in an attempt to make seeds and stopping produce production in the process).  I mean, to be perfectly frank, I killed a miniature pine tree in a pot that year too.  Truly awesome.

I guess I share this info because I want you to know that if this is you … don’t despair.  There is hope.  On the other hand, if you were the type blessed with a green thumb and the ability to whisper to plants, I hope that my slow but steady research into growing fruits and veggies might leave you with some new info in the process.

Being the mother of 2 kids, I really wanted to make sure I got both of them off to a healthy start in life.  I ate as diverse a diet as possible (depending on what morning sickness would let me choke down), loaded with fruits and veggies and all kinds of international cuisine while pregnant.  When we started into solid foods for the kids, it was home made organic all the way.  And only by the grace of living near farmers markets did that happen.  Organic food is crazy expensive.  It’s just not that financially feasible for us (and most people) to eat organic 100% of the time.  So we only kept that going until our kids wanted to eat what we ate. Worked out pretty well as the both seemed to be amazing eaters, most days.

After buying a house (but before child 2 was on the radar) I thought it might be fun to grow something with my daughter.  We planted an herb bed (really, herbs again? What was I thinking?) and grew bell peppers and tomatoes in planters.  I still knew nothing, but in truth it was moderately successful.  We had a tomato feast one day with my dad and brother serving grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato and bacon, fried green tomatoes with goat cheese and cashew relish, caprese salad and more. Yum!  That summer that we were expanding our produce growing attempts, we also took part in an organic CSA (community supported agriculture) getting our weekly, local, organic, seasonal produce.  That was eye opening.  We did it for multiple reasons: 1) I wanted to be pushed in the kitchen to try new things, 2) our friend was working as an intern on the farm learning to become a farmer and 3) I wanted to show my kiddo that fruits and veggies don’t just come from your local megamart.  I think it was the CSA that really helped me realize that I could really try this growing thing.  I mean CSAs are cool if you like having no control over what you get.  We weren’t such good eaters for a CSA to be the best thing ever.  We wanted peppers and corn and asparagus, not just another kohlrabi and bunch of collards.  Those things weren’t bad, but weeks of it was a bit much.  Getting brave, we built some raised beds.  Well, we built frames for them anyhow.  And there they sat empty for a whole year … {crickets chirping}

Enter the second child and all the insanity that ensues with that.  So more time passed and the beds sat lonely and empty.  Dreams of garden fresh produce and my kids running out in the yard to grab a fresh snack haunted me as I saw those desolate boxes just waiting for our love.  And so this spring started, and we decided it was time to get on the ball and make something happen.

So … why am I doing this?  Well, I want my kids to see the miracle of seeds become something that can nourish them with some water, sunshine and dirt.  I want them to know that fruits and vegetables grow on plants, outside, in the sun and not on tables at grocery stores.  I personally want to provide yummy, fresh, beautiful and healthy food for my family in a cost effective manner.  I want to be a better cook.  I guess in general, I just want better for us all.  If I can keep plants alive, there really is no excuse for anyone who really wants to try.

As the brilliant Dr. Maya Angelou passed away on my birthday yesterday (God rest her soul), I end with a thought from her:

You are the sum total of everything you’ve ever seen, heard, eaten, smelled, been told, forgot – it’s all there.  Everything influences each of us, and because of that I try to make sure that my experiences are positive.

-interview from the April 2011 edition of O, the Oprah Magazine (2011)


Welcome to Lovingly Grown.


7 thoughts on “Why am I doing this?

  1. This is so cool. As a fellow black thumb experimenting in earnest with a window box herb garden for the first time, I’m thrilled to think that there could be a real garden in my future.

  2. This is so cool. As a fellow black thumb experimenting in earnest with a window box herb garden for the first time, I’m thrilled to think that there could be a real garden in my future.

  3. Love it! What a great experience for your kids. And the blog will also be a way for them to one day look back and read your thoughts and see the experiences through your eyes. Can’t wait to read more!

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