I’m not sure what I have can quite be called a garden. In years gone by we had a sandbox (which was covered when not in use) in the corner of the yard. Now that my children are grown, my husband and I could decide to either grass it over, or change it to a small garden, since it already had a border.
I live on the west coast of Canada, where strawberries are plentiful in the early summer, so I decided to make it into a strawberry garden. I found out later that strawberries love sandy soil, bonus for me! With a some topsoil, a little peat, and a lot of prayer, I had my garden. Working full time, writing on the side, and being in three bands, the sandbox size garden is doable for me to maintain.
I’ve never grown anything outdoors except trees, which pretty much grow by themselves. But I wanted a garden, and I was going to do it, ready to raise the bar from only growing indoor houseplants.
When the sandbox was turned into a nice square of mud, one of my almost-adult sons bought me a package of ten strawberry plants, which when planted, didn’t look as big as they had looked in the box. I also bought two very small blueberry bushes from the saxophone player in one of my bands (he owns and operates a blueberry farm), and I had my garden.
The first year I didn’t get any blueberries (the bushes were too young, I was told), but I netted a small bowl of strawberries, which got me really excited. The second springtime, the few plants I had in the corner spread to about double, causing me to dig up the blueberry plants and move them outside my garden square. Over the year they continued to spread and gave me a few bowls of lovely berries.
Now I was motivated. I’d actually, for the first time, grown something productive, with minimal maintenance.
Last year the strawberries spread to the whole area except one corner, where I added some tomato plants and a cucumber. Unfortunately I made the mistake of moving the plants into the garden too late, so they were late to ripen, but I did get some delicious cherry tomatoes and one cucumber. But the blueberry bushes, even small, were loaded. I got about ten pounds of blueberries, and not one of them was wasted.
This year I have raised the bar. I know I can actually grow things. I didn’t buy plants, I bought seeds, and have started some tomato plants, cucumbers, and oregano, in my kitchen window in the little plastic cups that come with coffee for the one-cup-at-a-time coffee makers. I won’t tell you what my husband thinks of this, but we can say he humors me. In fact, last year he bought me tomato fertilizer spikes, which really made a difference. He enjoyed the garden, but doesn’t really admit it. But only when the plants are actually outside.
For now my garden is in the “before” stage, but soon, when the time is right, all my plants will go outside into their new home, and all summer I will watch them grow.
I can hardly wait!
Gardener/writer Gail Sattler has only been gardening a few years, but has fallen in love with growing. Her favorite part of gardening is seeing new buds in the spring, and watching in the summer as the tomatoes grow larger, then redder, than they were the day before.
When she’s not gardening she is either at her day job, or at band practice, or writing tales of sweet and inspirational romantic comedy.
You’re invited to see more about Gail at her website at www.gailsattler.com