Monday, January 17, 2011

My First Plant

It started innocently enough. When I moved to Boston, my mother gave me a cutting from one of her spider plants; one of the many indoor plants in my parents’ home. Those were in addition to the outdoor half acre garden with raised beds and back plot for corn. And the compost bin behind that and the grass clipping pile behind that. I guess I was raised as a country girl in Ohio, though not by my neighbors’ standards. My family only had one tractor, and it didn’t help the family income, like the Cooper farm down the road with their miles of corn and soybeans. My family just had a vegetable garden and a desire to grow some food on their own land.

There’s a photo, taken from an airplane, of my family’s garden one autumn. It shows the raised beds overflowing with tomatoes and peppers and herbs and strawberries and beans and onions and garlic. The open plot behind is tall with tassled corn and the long, leafy stems of all sorts of gourds and squash peek out and start to take over the yard. It was one of the best years for our family garden.

I have fond memories of going to the local greenhouse with my dad on
Memorial Day weekend. Walking up and down the rows choosing what we’d grow that year and then going home and planting right around my birthday. Over the Father’s Day weekend there were always more than enough strawberries to go around, and I think we even tried making jam one year. We’d go on vacation in July and come home a week later to big plants and bigger weeds. Then the blueberries would start and I’d be out every morning to pick some for on top of our cereal. As the summer started winding down the garden would explode and we’d plan the nightly dinner menu on what was in season, running out to pick produce right before we ate. Zucchini came in an almost unwelcome abundance, and friends’ cars had better be locked with the windows up, or they’d get a present from our garden.

When I moved to the city I knew I wouldn’t have the land available for a garden like that, but I still wanted plants around me. Mom’s tiny spider plant survived the loooooong drive in the moving van and found a place on the windowsill in our first apartment. Three years later it’s thriving and has been repotted twice. My success keeping the spider plant alive led to more plants… and a curiosity as to how many plants I could keep alive at once.

This blog will follow that curiosity. I'm looking for advice, for other city people who like plants, for country people who have lots. For everyone!

1 comment:

  1. When I first started growing food, it was on a big rooftop balcony. I loved it! I look forward to reading more about your journey!