When I was a kid I fell in love with ‘The Secret Garden’ my Frances Hodges. It was one of my absolute favorite books (Still is) and something about Mary’s desire for ‘a bit of earth’ really struck me. I lived in the city and my mom was definitely not cool on the idea of me digging up the yard to plant flowers and veggies. So I let me imagination take me to Mary’s English garden and lived vicariously through her, through Laura out on the prairie, through Rabbit and the constant battle for his garden in the Hundred Acre Wood! When I grew up and moved out of my parents house I lived in a series of apartments and figured there was no way I could grow anything (especially since any houseplants I ever tried died almost immediately), about 5 years ago though I had this darling little apartment that had a great little 2×3 foot garden area in front of my patio
I cleared out all the weeds and planted a couple of different flowers. I fell in love! It was better than I had every imagined. But I still wanted more, flowers are great but my yen was for fresh cucumbers, fresh peppers, and enough tomatoes to stock up on my homemade salsa! I was no where near ready to buy a house so I let my dreams just sit and pined for the day I could dig in the soil to my hearts content.
Cue wonderful friends now…I moved to Arkansas and met a wonderful friend named Claire who introduced me to the wide world of container gardening! It blew my mine! She had a whole garden on her apartment patio in a variety of pots and urns! It was the most amazing idea, and I loved hearing about the goodies she was harvesting. My next move took me to a great little rental house with a huge yard and patio. Since I knew I wasn’t going to be there long I figured the landlord would be less than pleased if I put in my dream garden (plus that’s a lot of effort to abandon) so I built my first raised garden bed!
Tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers that produced the most delicious cucumbers almost every day! I was in heaven, even though it wasn’t a huge harvest I thoroughly enjoyed my first ‘real garden’ and loved adding in my own home grown produce to my salsa and salads. My next rental put me back to a few containers and my first attempt at strawberries (huge failure). It was a learning experience and finally I had reached a point where I could start looking for a house of my very own! I needed space to create my own garden (preferably huge, but then reality set in and so did my budget) compromises were made but I found my lovely little house and knew exactly what I would do with my front yard! This left the back from my furbaby, who has a very bad habit of laying in my garden). We moved in in late august so I missed my first growing season, but I had my plans for spring. Life’s unexpected plans happened though and a job layoff, a divorce, and working 2 new jobs left me with little time for gardening. I haphazardly threw a couple of tomatoes and cucumbers and lettuce into one area and crossed my fingers. It wasn’t too bad, the tomatoes went nuts and the cucumbers gave me pretty much nothing. But I knew when I had the time I would finally get my life and garden in order.
That brings us to this spring! Life was good, work had settled and I finally had the time to really get my garden ready. The longest winter I can remember also gave me LOTS of time to get my seedlings sprouted out on my enclosed porch!
And TADA I am a part of the Grow Food, Not Lawns movement and I LOVE it. I squeal with delight every time I go out to weed my raised beds and find some new thing growing, sprouting or flowering in my garden. I have found that magically place where God, luck, sun and care come together to create something truly amazing. Is it perfect? No of course not, but it’s perfect for me, perfect for this time in my life, and perfect for my little homestead. I still dream about someday, and have a whole pinterest board full of ideas for my extra large homestead garden. But for now I enjoy getting my hands in the dirt, loved making my own rain barrels (that still need gutters so they can get filled ahem Dustin J j/k) and starting my first compost pile for all the garden and food related debris. Little steps to improve our food supply and security, I have my seed library and was happy to use Non-GMO seeds so as I harvest I will be able to save seeds for use next year! It’s a process. But the moral of this story is…you can garden ANYWHERE! In an apartment or condo, in the city, and yes out in the country with your acreage we are all jealous of 😀 check out local community gardens if you want some more space you don’t have, options are out there! So find what works best for you and your family and grab up your ‘bit of earth’.