I have been meaning to write about my journey from being a city slicker to a nature lover. I moved to Boston from NYC when I got married several years ago. After a few years of city living in tight quarters, my husband and I decided to move to a suburb north of Boston to start our family. We could finally have a backyard and fresh air! Three summers ago, I came home from an overseas work trip to discover that my mother-in-law had created a small vegetable garden in my backyard. She planted tomatoes, cucumbers, and a bunch of onions – the usual ingredients in Bosnian cuisine. Since I normally worked from home when I was not traveling, it was my responsibility to maintain this nascent garden for the summer. I started learning slowly by watering the seedlings with timid expectations of a blooming mini farm. As each day passed, I became more inspired to try growing some kitchen herbs, which necessitated numerous trips to the nearby Home Depot. As the summer progressed, the vegetables grew and bore their edible gifts and the herbs’ fragrance filled the air. The blooming atmosphere made me more relaxed, while weeding and tending to my small garden eased me into a meditative state. By the time fall came around that year, I was really sad to say goodbye to my miniature garden.
Over that winter, I started to daydream about how to plant a proper Pinterest-worthy garden next spring. I would watch countless YouTube gardening videos, brows the numerous gardening plans online, and mark up seed catalogs… which turned a little creepy as plant catalogs just started showing up at my door one day. In the second year, my husband and I, using a basic garden plot layout, created a formal, enclosed garden out of leftover construction materials (no need to be fancy here). This has since expanded to a better and more productive potager garden in our third year. We even managed to start a flower garden last year, in which our young daughter loved to run around to discover and smell the variety of blooms. With each step, I continue to be impressed by what nature can do with some nurturing and hard labor.
We are now in our 4th year, and as a self-taught gardener, I have learned a lot from my trials and errors. Gardening feels especially relevant in today’s quarantine situation, and when going to a grocery store can be a health risk. This makes it an ideal time to try your hand at growing your own food.
Gardening provides multiple benefits, including the real meaning of “farm to table”, growing an organic food supply so that you don’t have to leave your house, exercise, fresh air, and the list goes on. My methods are simple and include lessons gleaned from experience. I am still learning and by no means can call myself an expert on this topic. Let’s take this journey together and see how building a vegetable garden can improved each other’s lives.