Gardening has always been a part of my life. When I was a child, we used to spend part of our summer vacation at a property our family owned in Panama, best known by my family and friends as "La Finca". Acres of cultivated land, chickens roaming free, and a very modest house that was built from the ground up by my great-grandma, aunts and uncles. My great grandma Eugenia used to have a a very diverse vegetable garden including tomatoes, peppers, gourds, corn, and dozens of orange and lemon trees. Every season there was a new fruit or vegetable to learn about, like grenadine, which I'd never seen before, until my great grandma showed it to us, growing off a pergola. Helping to take care of it wasn't my favorite chore, but with time, I learned to appreciate all the hard work that went into it and of course the fruit of that work.
It is not a surprise that I grew up wishing I could recreate my great-grandma's garden. So, when Matt and I got married, I thought it would be a good idea to start small. We moved into a small apartment that luckily had two very spacious patios. I started my first garden, a container garden. It was so much fun but also challenging, as we used to live in the middle of the Sonoran Desert. Every time I made a salad with my freshly picked tomatoes or some pesto with our homegrown basil, all the struggles to keep those plants alive seemed like NOTHING compared to the satisfaction of knowing I grew them.
I was so inspired to keep going, but so limited by space, that I decided to look into community gardens. The Mesa Urban Garden was it. A great group of people devoted to serve their community, help newbies like myself to dive into the world of gardening outside of containers while donating to food banks and educating the local population. That's where I landed my first gardening plot, a 72 sq.ft. raised bed. I know, it doesn't sound like much, but to a container gardener, that kind of space is heaven. It was a completely different ball game, but I had space, and when you talk to a gardening aficionado, that's what matters, space. For a few short months we grew all kinds of crops. Several varieties of lettuce, kale, arugula (my husband loves it), peas (that never made it to the kitchen), beets, green beans, carrots and several different herbs. It was a great experience.
Fast forward a few months, we moved to Michigan. I left behind my beloved plot, but started dreaming of maybe finding a new one, when the time was right. Guess what? The time was right two months after settling into our new home. After doing a little bit of research, I found a great organization, Project Grow, whose mission is to provide the space, education, and inspiration to make organic gardening accessible to all. Exactly what I was looking for! I decided to apply for a plot (the application process was very easy and fast) hoping I would be able to get one close to home.
A few days ago I received an email confirmation that I was assigned a plot at the garden site I was hoping for. Plot 21S, 375 square feet of possibilities. Three hundred seventy five square feet!!! I can't begin to explain to you the excitement I felt when reading that email. I will be gardening again, and soon, or at least as soon as it starts warming up.
I can't wait for spring to arrive. For now, it is time to start planning a layout, choosing what vegetables I'm going to start the season with, and the fun part, buying seeds and starting the transplants.
It's going to be my biggest garden yet, and I will be sharing the whole process with you, from planning it out, drawing it up, and finally executing it. Hope you join me and also share your gardening plans for this coming season.