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The Revenge of Gardening

Written by Siri Paulson

So last year I told you all about my adventures in starting my first real vegetable garden.

This year?

Not only are the vegetables back, but I'm madly researching flowers, shrubs, and trees.

I have to admit I didn't anticipate this when the subject of buying a house first came up between my life partner and me. At the time we were living in a generic high-rise apartment building. I envisioned purchasing a lovely old house with history and personality, with enough space for us each to claim a separate office room. Location was important. Public transit was important.

A garden didn't really enter into our priorities, or even our thoughts, beyond "oh yeah, we'll have to mow our lawn."

We ended up with all those things, PLUS a large urban yard with nothing in it. 1250 square feet of fertile soil, almost twice the size of the one-bedroom apartment we'd lived in for years. Blank slate, wheeeeeee!

Now, two years into home-ownership, we've become devoted plant-growers, enthusiastic and slightly less clueless than when we started.

(Home-grown carrots? Best thing ever. Even when they're shaped funny. Same for tomatoes, but I hadn't realized how much I missed the taste of real carrots....)

Honestly, I don't quite know what hit me.

In retrospect, it's not really surprising. My father grew up on a farm and had a vegetable patch all his life -- he even became a quasi-expert in composting. My mother had a flower garden for many years, taking after her mother, who grew glorious flowers and who herself was raised on a farm. Both my parents had some hippie tendencies, too. So the idea of growing things -- both to eat and to admire -- goes back a long way in my blood.

My partner and I haven't jumped into urban farming full bore. After all, we both work full-time and have other hobbies (hello, Turtleduck Press). No backyard chickens or rabbits for us, and no canning either -- freezing the veggies is about as much as we'll manage.

But the idea that we own this yard, that we can plant whatever we like and experiment and change things around from year to year and EAT stuff that we put in the ground ourselves and be just a little self-sufficient...well, it's surprisingly seductive.

I loved doing the vegetables last year. (We had great success with tomatoes and zucchini and carrots and hot peppers and herbs, and somewhat less success with bell peppers. This year we're doing more of everything, plus several kinds of squash. Hey, we have the room. That's seductive too.)

This year we've added the idea of planting things just for decoration. That opens up a whole new vista...and avenue of research (I'm a writer, I research all the things)...and hobby to suck up many evenings and weekends. Stay tuned!

The only bad part? My other hobbies are suffering -- like knitting and, ahem, writing, which isn't a hobby at all but a calling, and yet is so easily derailed.

Somehow I need to tamp down on the tendency towards "ooh, shiny!", or at least redirect some of the garden-related enthusiasm to the other things that are important to me.

But it's planting season here. Good luck with that.

Your turn! What do you do to curb the "ooh, shiny!"? Do you have any beginning gardener stories to share?

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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