What our Garden Grows

DSC_0256Seven years ago, my husband and I, with our firstborn in tow, traded in Vancouver’s bustling and vibrant downtown streets for a small lot in a Fraser Valley suburb. I wasn’t thrilled to be leaving the restaurants and shops we had grown to love. We had even become attached to the farmer’s market that set up every Sunday, just a few blocks from our little apartment. Our reason for leaving? We wanted our own piece of dirt!
The lot didn’t look like much when we bought it, several trees, and a lot of overgrown shrubs. No vegetable garden in sight. We plotted and planned that first winter, and when spring finally arrived, we knew exactly where to begin… the southern facing patch of yard along the side of our house. We set to work immediately, building six raised beds, planting several blueberry bushes, a variety of peach tree called a frost peach which works well for our northwestern climate, and a dwarf apple tree.
Our garden didn’t work out exactly how we wanted that first summer. Our soil didn’t have enough of the nutrients the garden center had promised; and what we planted didn’t all do as well as we had hoped. We had an abundance of lettuce and spinach, because we had yet to learn of succession planting, and our broccoli was all wormy because we had waited too long to plant it. But we felt proud! Proud of our first attempts, proud to share our overabundance of leafy greens with our friends; proud that we were embarking on a food journey we had dreamed of together for many years.
We are now seven years older and a little more wiser, although we still have a long way to go. We know what vegetables we most enjoy, what grows well in our raised beds, what our kids will eat, and what is most worth growing. We know that we can take a risk and plant slightly earlier than the May long weekend, which is the suggested time for our zone. And we know to how to prune our tomato and potato plants properly.
Since that first season, we have added a fig tree, an Italian plum, tree, and a sour cherry tree. We have an herb-garden and rhubarb among the flowers in the front. Our grape vine will have grapes for the first time this summer. We also have a small row of ever-bearing raspberries that the kids have been harvesting from on a daily basis since the end of June. We only have a seven-thousand square foot lot, but we can grow enough garlic to last us all year, and we enjoy fruit from our trees and bushes for six months of the year.
While we dream of one day expanding our land and garden, for now, we are happy to continue working in our garden, giving it lots of love, and hopefully passing on everything we are learning to our kids, who enjoy working, playing, harvesting and eating alongside us in our garden.

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One thought on “What our Garden Grows

  1. Pingback: On Tending Gardens and Children | Grow. Cook. Eat. Share.

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