Papercut and colored pencil art by Sheryl Aronson X 5

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I Love My Gardens

Gardening is very refreshing.  I love going to my garden boxes and picking fresh tomatoes to eat.  When we lived in our house there were several large garden areas, all with lots of weeds to pull.  I spent many hours pulling weeds and fighting with plants, trying to get something to grow that would look decent.  I even transplanted buttercup plants that were growing wild in the yard into the garden areas, so at least something would be growing there.  I never really enjoyed this type of gardening because I never seemed to get control of things enough to grow anything I really wanted.
Now that we live in our apartment, I have two garden boxes, each around 10 feet long and 3 feet wide, and raised up from the ground about 1 foot.  (I am guessing at the measurements, I don't remember what they really are).  Since we just had them put in in May, and they are separate from other land masses, they are not overrun with weeds.  I was able to actually plant and tend plants, not fight weeds.
One box is flowers, I don't remember what all of them are called.  I do have a couple of varieties of Indian blanket, and a huge mass of zinnias.  When we were putting in the garden boxes our new next door neighbor came over and gave us bottles of cold water, and she also gave me a couple of packets of seeds.  The packets were for marigolds and zinnias, both of them dated 2009.  (I didn't point this out to her.)  I scattered them in my garden box, and watered them faithfully.  The marigolds never came up, but the zinnias are the hardiest, healthiest plants in the garden, covered with profuse flowers.
The other garden box is veggies and herbs.  I had two cucumber plants.  One grew one cucumber, then died.  The other grew so huge, it looked like it wanted to take over the garden.  I got lots of cucumbers from this plant, but for some reason, they were bitter.  I cut off the stem end and peeled them, which got rid of most of the bitterness, and marinated them in a balsamic vinegar/brown sugar concoction, and they tasted fine.  I have two pepper plants, one gave me one nice, big red pepper, and several puny ones, the other gave me about 10 small light yellow peppers (the tag said they were supposed to be red, which was what I wanted).
The tomatoes are the pride of the garden, giving me profuse red and orange cherry tomatoes, fun to pop in the mouth and squish.  Yum!!!  I also have a couple of kinds of basil and sage, and a prolific mint plant (mint always seems to be prolific).  My favorite of the herbs is lemon verbena.  I carry a water bottle around with me wherever I go.  This summer, every morning, I pick a sprig of mint and three lemon verbena leaves, crush them a bit, and put them in my water.  It makes a very refreshing drink.  I just keep adding more water as needed.  
I am really enjoying having a manageable garden to tend.  It gets me outside for a little while most days, to water, remove dead flowers and leaves, and to pick my produce.  The tomatoes taste better than store bought (too bad the other veggies didn't).  But that is okay.  I grew them, and that gave them a specialness.  I feel pride from my gardens.  Nurturing a garden nurtures me.  The time I spend in my gardens is productive time, I can see the fruit of my labors, literally.  It gives me a little physical activity.  Gardening is a great way to get rid of stress and anxiety.  A garden is so tranquil it can't help but rub off on the gardener.  This site on backyard gardening gives a long list of benefits of gardening.

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