It's seems that plans for my at-home vegetable garden are growing with each year. Before moving out of my parents' home, I was a garden novice with little interest in or knowledge regarding the care and maintenance of edible plants beyond that of the most basic herbs. Two summers ago, in my own house complete with modest backyard, I planted a simple array of squash, tomatoes, herbs, and greens. This past summer I expanded my edibles repertoire to include broccoli, string beans, cauliflower, and strawberries, though most of these newer additions didn't make it to harvest on account of a new puppy with a penchant for digging.
This year, I've decided to expand the garden both in size and scope. Inspired by both Fritz Haeg's Edible Estates project and my dog's unavoidable canine instincts, I have planned an edible garden that includes both my front and back yards. And I've challenged myself with the task of maintaining edibles that operate on different growing schedules, with some late harvesting pumpkins and some double sowers including arugula and spinach. My first batch of compost will also go into this year's vegetable-growing efforts once its time to transplant. And from colorful swiss chard to radishes, lavender, peppers, and stevia, this year is sure to be a diverse and delicious one.
For now, I've got sowing schedules planned out, garden layouts designed, and seeds well on their way in peet pots. Patience is not my forte and it was hard to resist starting those seedlings until the requisite eight to ten weeks before Maryland's last frost. But the pure excitement of growing my own food has already kicked in just days after that first batch of seeds was planted - some sprouts popped up over the weekend.
I never thought I'd be a gardener as it was always a hobby I associated with soccer moms, Martha Stewart, and retired folk (though I am quite the Martha fan). I guess I'm still far from your average gardener; I'm much more likely to spend a good ten minutes debating between two varieties of tomato seed than picking out ornamental plants for purely decorative purposes and I subscribe to the trial-and-error variety of garden knowledge more so than the scientific precision professional growers utilize. But there's something truly awe-inspiring about growing your own food. To start with just a mere handful of tiny seeds and then round out the summer having reaped a harvest plentiful enough to feed an entire family is pretty incredible. And the sighting of these baby sprouts are just the start of it.