How Does Your Garden Grow?

Back home, my family had a garden. Nothing fancy, just a couple rows of squash, zucchini, cucumbers, tomatoes, and some potted green peppers and cherry tomatoes. I can’t begin to tell you how happy I was to finally have a garden of my own. Our neighbors had one a couple years ago, and we often helped them maintain and harvest, but never had we had a real garden that was ours. This past year, we finally dug deep and built ourselves a slice of paradise.

We built our garden out in the old chicken coop so that our neighbors’ horses and goats and the local deer population would stay out of it. As I said, it was a small garden and the enclosure was literally falling apart; many times, we had to prop up some of the beams using old two-by-fours. But it was the perfect garden for me.

I have never had a green thumb. In fact, the only thing I’ve been able to grow successfully is a cactus, and that’s mainly because I didn’t have to do anything. For the record, it is still alive and happy. So nurturing a garden to maturity and fruitfulness was a big task. But I was determined to see this through.

I went out to the garden almost every morning throughout the summer. I even made homemade fertilizer out of banana peels, eggshells, and coffee grounds. We had figured that the chicken coop would provide fertile-enough soil for growing healthy plants, but after a couple weeks of poor growth, I took matters into my own hands. My mom was very curious as to what I had concocted using her blender… That was an interesting conversation. The next day she came home with a bottle of Miracle-Gro. I got the message and stuck mostly to watering and weeding after that.

Having a garden allowed me rare moments to think to myself and just be outside without having to rush to get things done. I learned a lot about gardening in general – before this, my experience with gardening was practically nonexistent. I learned to water the squash plants at their bases, not from above, otherwise the delicate blossoms break right off and the plant has to start all over. I figured out how much water the different plants each required. I suppose having a garden showed me that there are many things in life that you just have to figure out as you go along. Sometimes you mess up, but you learn from your mistakes, and move along. Take a moment today to step back and see your garden through new eyes. Ask yourself, “How does your garden grow?”

Katie Hay
BMSP Volunteer Fall 2014

BMSP Team tour of Allen Farms, Westport, MA 8/29/14. Photo by Anna Plumlee.


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