Grow Your Own

One of the only amenities missing from my condo is outdoor space. Providence’s ban on overnight street parking has forced my building, as well as everywhere else I’ve lived, to pave over what once was a backyard.

In early spring, when the first hints of green started poking through the soil, I was getting itchy fingers. I looked into community gardens and was excited to discover one hidden just a block away! The first harvest happened even before I started planting: while weeding my plot, I discovered it was full of delicious arugula and chives and cooked up an outstanding pasta with blue cheese. The plot also has a peach tree and mint, cilantro and oregano plants.

Garden progress
Garden progress: from weeding to planting

We got a head start thanks to the Southside Community Land Trust‘s annual plant sale. If you live in the area and haven’t been, put it on your calendar for next year. It’s a great organization and they have some unusual and exciting plants. I picked up four varieties of tomato (red pear, sun gold, pink brandwine, and prudence purple – which really are purple), some herbs (sacred basil, purple opal basil, tarragon and epazote), alpine strawberries, and sweet peas.

A trip to the library was also fruitful. I’ve been reading Cultivating the Cook’s Garden by Theodore James, Jr. and Modern Vegetable Gardening by Christopher Bird. The former focuses on growing and cooking specific plants, with good advice about varieties. The author has a real enthusiasm for both gardening and eating, so it’s a fun read. The latter book is great for general gardening information and lots time- and money-saving tips.

I’m not an expert gardener: my experience consists of container gardening in apartments and helping my mother in the garden as a child. Jeremy hasn’t gardened a lot either, but garnered some great intuition while growing up in the midst of farmland. I’m sure we’ll make mistakes here and there, but hopefully we’ll end up with something delicious and fresh on the dinner table.

One thought on “Grow Your Own”

  1. Good for you! I hope your garden is going well this summer. My girlfriend and I talk about it a lot but haven’t done it… maybe next year :) We spend a lot of time at farmer’s markets and stands though… I like my food to come from as close to my plate as possible!

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