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Vegetable Gardening? Ooh, Shiny!

Written by Siri Paulson

Are you the "ooh, shiny!" type? The sort who picks up a new hobby or fascination, runs with it for a while and possibly learns everything there is to know about it, and then drops it for the next new thing?

I am.

My latest obsession? Vegetable gardening.

Now, I know this isn't an earth-shattering hobby. But I own land for the first time, or more precisely a house with a big backyard that was a vegetable garden for years. The soil is great; there's no grass, and it seems a shame to put in new grass and cover up even some of that rich earth.

So I'm gardening.

We actually moved in last spring, but we were a little busy with other life stuff, so we had a minimal garden. Our next-door neighbour, a very kind and very Italian grandmother, planted tomatoes and basil for us, and her mint crept under the fence to join them. All of it grew like crazy. And I have to tell you...the satisfaction of picking and eating food out of our own yard was amazing. We didn't have to buy any tomatoes for weeks...and we eat a lot of tomatoes.

We were hooked.

This year, we've resolved to go all out. We're not planting the whole yard – it's too big – but we're putting in lots of different things, and we're going to see which ones grow best, especially with sporadic weeding and watering (I mentioned that "ooh, shiny" factor, right?). So far we've got zucchini, spinach, cilantro, and onion, with carrots, tomatoes, and yes, flowers waiting their turn to go in. And the perennial mint, of course.

Where I live, it's early in the season. We've only just put in seeds, and it's too early for seedlings yet. But already we've had the satisfaction of digging up the ground with our own power. The earth is rich and soft, full of worms, and weeds come loose easily. It yields under the trowel when I dig a trench. The seeds are all different sizes and colours – large pale ones for zucchini, tiny black ones for spring onions that disappear against the soil. I cover them carefully, put in a row marker, and then peek out the window at least three times a day to see if they've sprouted yet, even though I know better.

What I love about this hobby is that it's so tactile – unlike my day job or my other job (writing), which both involve keyboards and mental power. And it's physical labor (who needs the gym, anyway?), with tangible results along the way, and delicious results at the end.

Of course, we may decide it's too much work. Our Italian neighbour thinks lawns are silly and labour-intensive – you have to mow them every week and you don't get any food out of them – but I've never heard anyone else claim that gardening is less work than mowing.

But I've got farming in my genes. All four of my grandparents grew up on farms; so did my father, and he grew vegetables his whole life. And being self-sufficient, even in a small way, appeals to the environmentalist in me as well. Those ideals may keep me motivated. So will my taste buds, and my bank account, and my gardening partner in crime.

At least until the "ooh, shiny!" factor strikes again.


Do you garden? What do you grow...or what would you like to grow if you had the chance?

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Kit Campbell

Kit Campbell used to be an aerospace engineer, but it turns out that there's a lot less launching of awesome things into space and a lot more paperwork than one would think. More

Siri Paulson

Siri Paulson writes all over the fantasy and science fiction spectrum, including (so far) secondary-world fantasy, urban fantasy, steampunk, historical paranormal, and things set in space. Maybe someday she'll pick one and settle down. More

KD Sarge

KD Sarge writes for joy and hope, and works for a living. She has tried her hand at many endeavors, including Governess of the Children, Grand Director of the Drive-Through, and Dispatcher of the Tow Trucks. More

Erin Zarro

Erin Zarro has been a poet since she was 11, when she discovered free verse poetry. She has been published in literary magazines such as Prism Galliard, Lucid Moon, Pen & Ink Magazine, and Nomad's Choir, among others. More