Besides raising safety concerns for ourselves and others, hurricane Ike ruined Justice’s and my plans for a special date night yesterday. With posts on gardening and its wonderful fruits flooding the blogosphere lately, my increasing interest in eating seasonally (spawned by the farmers’ markets), my mother-in-law’s recent success growing just a handful of spinach plants, and rising grocery costs, I finally had the thought the other day, You know, maybe I’ll plant some tomatoes next year. I like tomatoes, you see, and the ones at the grocery store are awful, while those at the farmers’ market are expensive. This isn’t a completely new concept. Justice and I have both talked about starting a garden, but the conversations so far have been pretty abstract. This was the first time I felt a real desire to do something. I think I’m settling more into nesting mode as I approach graduation. Domesticity is starting to sound really good these days.
This thought then led to another one a few days later, Why wait until next spring to plant something? I had a point. Dark, leafy greens and lettuces grow all fall and winter here, and they’re some of my favorite vegetables. In fact, as much as I love cucumbers, I prefer the winter farmers’ markets to the summer ones. And my grandpa, who is a fantastic gardener by the way (oh, for his peaches, peas, onions, and tomatoes!), says that kale tastes better after the weather gets cold. I quickly performed a Google search on “Houston fall gardening” and came up with lots of great information. Apparently, September is not too late for greens and lettuces. Hurrah!
But since I know approximately, oh, nothing about gardening, I scoured the Urban Harvest website for information. (Urban Harvest is a local non-profit organization devoted to educating the public about organic gardening, supporting school and community gardens, and sponsoring the Bayou City Farmers’ Market, which I think is the best one in Houston.) Lo and behold, they were offering a beginner’s class on home fruit and vegetable gardening in only two days! I eagerly called, bought a membership for a very reasonable fee, and registered myself and my husband for the class. We used some money that we had set aside for our anniversary for the purchase. We wondered what could be a better gift to ourselves for our anniversary than investing in a new hobby for the two of us to enjoy together?
I have to be realistic about this, of course. My childhood gardening attempts failed miserably, and as much as I love the idea of gardening, I haven’t generally enjoyed the reality in the past. However, I love to research, plan, and coordinate; I think gardening makes all the sense in the world; and I adore cooking with fresh ingredients. Plus, I’m trying to keep an open mind. My husband, as it turns out, hates research and planning but really enjoys working with his hands outside. I think we might make a good team for gardening success. Who knows? We’ll start small this year and work our way up if all goes well.
For the moment, I’m most excited about the opportunity to spend time learning something new together. Learning together thrills me because it always produces the best conversations! I enjoy my husband so much. Yes, I think this will be a fun little adventure for our marriage. Maybe it will grow into a life-long hobby we’ll enjoy for the next fifty years together. Or maybe in fifty years we’ll look back, shake our heads in amazement, say, “What were we thinking?!”, and tell our grandchildren all about our young folly. Either way, I think gardening is bound to produce memories we’ll treasure.
Hurricane Ike will pass soon, and then Urban Harvest will reschedule the class. I look forward to sharing our experiences here.
What do you think of gardening? Have you always loved it, or was it an acquired taste? How did you learn about it? From your parents? Classes? Books? Do you have any tips for newbies?
(This post is a part of Frugal Friday, a blog carnival at Biblical Womanhood.)