In the recent weeks I have taken on a new-old hobby. Growing up in an agricultural wonderland (thanks Mom and rural Massachusetts), gardening has always been a part of my life. Moving to Maine almost 8 years ago put a dead stop to that. I didn’t have space to plant, nor did I have any resources or time. College was a wonderful time suck. Feeling a sense of nostalgia, I put in my name for a Portland Community Garden plot, and lo and behold, a few months pass and I am signing up with a friend for our very own plot full of weeds and dirt. We were so excited, a little scared, but mostly looking forward to a new adventure.
We started by make a list of veggies we wanted to have. Peppers? Well, what color? Spinach, lettuce, kale or all of the above? Do we attempt root vegetables in our tough soil? How about sowing seeds… indoor or outdoor to start? Do we actually do seeds or buy someone else’s plants? …Are we too late?
Needless to say, we had a lot to decide, and many more decisions ahead of us. We ended up with many packets of seeds and a few already thriving plants… you know, just in case… Lettuce, spinach (no kale…), cabbage, carrots, cucumbers, cauliflower, green, yellow AND orange peppers, onions, tomatoes, peas, zucchini, and basil (our one lonely herb) to start. Quick trip to buy baskets, gloves, spades and other sharp gardening tools, a watering can, and of course — a sunhat.
We were ready.
Our dirt resembled that of a dandelion desert. Good news, it could grow SOMETHING! We spent our first long hours in the garden pulling up giant weeds and tilling the dirt along the way. More good news. So. Many. Worms. And no rocks. It was clearly once a loved plot, slightly neglected now, but this just grew our confidence. It is such an enthralling sense of accomplishment when you tear up the weeds and see this potential!
Once we tore up the plot, we got our hands on as much compost and seaweed as possible. It was totally helpful being a member of Garbage to Garden; bags of compost dropped off in advance was so great. Compost from other gardeners. Seaweed to mix in. Cow compost. Compost. Compost. Compost.
All in all, we will be continuing to learn so much and will hopefully enjoy some of our very own, organic, happy veggies. We have lettuce and cabbage sprouting up already in the plot now. Indoor zucchini and cucumbers are growing so quickly. Pepper plants, onions, tomatoes and basil are happily living on the windowsill until further notice. I’m a very proud plant mom – bringing on a new adventure, an excuse to be in the sun, soaking in vitamin D, establishing new connections with other gardeners, and getting a little dirty. On top of that, boosting mental health and immune functions. Being active. All welcomed side-effects.