After my first year at the LCRC, I was inspired to step into the wonderful world of gardening that I had learned so much about! I knew it was going to be a lot of work, and would require extreme TLC, but I felt determined and settled on a lovely plot at the Carling Heights community garden. I just moved around the area so the location was perfect for me.
It was hard for me to get started. There are countless ways to set up a garden and create garden beds. Design options and decorative touches are endless. I found myself thinking, “Should you use rows or square foot gardens? Should you use straw or mulch on your pathways?” I felt like a rookie – no experience but a lot of heart. One afternoon I sat down at my computer, and using the Companion Planting Guide (found on the LCRC website!), I finally got to it and planned my garden. I thought about what vegetables I like to eat, what I see commonly growing in other community garden plots, and the spacing I had. I ended up dividing the garden into six roughly equal garden beds, digging out pathways, and filling them with black mulch to keep weeds down and define walking areas.
After a day of shopping at Van Luyk’s and Heeman’s I came home with a variety of tiny plants for my new garden plot. On a Sunday evening, Mike and I made a trip to the garden and eagerly planted two types of tomatoes, two types of peppers, eggplants, basil, squashes, and lettuces, just to name a few! We also bordered our garden with Marigold’s from Home Hardware in Wortley Village to keep pests away.
It felt so good to get my hands dirty and to begin experiencing the art of gardening first hand. As a nutrition student, I do feel it is important to know how food is grown but to also experience growing food yourself to better appreciate the food system and to give better, more practical, advice on the goodness and rewards of home grown food.
It has been about nine days since we planted our garden. To be honest, some of the eggplants and squashes are looking a little bit sad. BUT we also have tomatoes, peppers, lettuces, and onions that look great. We are watering frequently and weeding often, but not too much, and are hoping the sad plants will bounce back. Gardening is a lot of work. More than originally anticipated. I eagerly wait to see what our garden will bring, and feel excited to learn more about gardening each and every step of the way. After only one week I feel very invested in this garden and look forward to watching it grow.
Stay tuned for updates on my rookie garden.