Cuevano ~ Jorge Aranda

Our harvest last year

It’s been a while since I last wrote about vegetable gardening, but it occupies my mind quite a bit and I should share some of what’s going on. At home, we’ve had two growing seasons so far, the second being more demanding (and more rewarding!) than the first: we almost tripled our garden area.

We grew spinach, lettuce, kale, swiss chard, peas, beans, tomatoes, tomatillos, hot peppers, garlic and garlic scapes, strawberries, cilantro, and carrots. Without any actual effort we also got rhubarb and blackberries, whereas despite our efforts we had no zucchini, cucumbers, leeks, nor onions. The hot peppers and the carrots could have done much better, and I think they will this time around. Bringing the garlic heads out of the soil after spending about three quarters of a year there felt glorious, even though some heads came out with only three or four cloves.

Although I was not keeping track in detail, I think that the amount we saved on food, for veggies of this quality, surpassed the amount of money we put into the garden last year. Of course, I don’t do gardening to save money, but it’s a nice comparison: I’m sure this was not the case the year before last. This year we’re making some “investments”: a cloche frame (a kind of mini greenhouse) for the tomatoes and peppers, and an irrigation system for more consistent watering—it was difficult to find time every day to water an area this big during the Summer.

I like how gardening has become an important part of my life. I wouldn’t have expected that a few years ago: I was extremely careless and ignorant about plants. I’m still pretty much a novice, but I find the experience alternatively absorbing and dissipating. It gives life (including human life—gardening while being a new parent made the link evident to me) a more natural perspective than what I’d grown to expect in an urban environment. So here’s to many more growing seasons! And if you’re thinking about having a garden, this may be the right time to get started with your planning.