Eating Local for Urban Families. Gluten-free and Dairy-free, too!

Friday, August 24

Slow to ripen

Here’s something funny about me:

I’m afraid to grow food. I mean, in my garden, like tomatoes and zucchini and strawberries. It scares me.

It scares me because while I can be a total diva in the garden when it comes to just about any other kind of flower or shrub (I even start from seed! Well, sometimes…) I am totally intimidated by the planting schedules, worrying about frost, and pests and all the other things that can go wrong with a plant. And, I am not the best at watering. It’s no big thing to kill a pot of pansies (there will always be more at the grocery store), but if I kill a pepper plant then all my farming genes (of which I have many) go off and I think we’re all going to starve.

I know this is ridiculous. I’m trying to get over this. I am making slow progress.

My parents didn’t grow food. My dad, the gardener in the family, grows flowers like he’s a retiree and has nothing better to do (he is and he doesn’t). He doesn’t even bother with design or ambience, he just grows as many flowers as he can get out of his dirt (and his Miracle Grow). My mom just puts things in pots and leaves them on her deep shade deck and doesn’t care what actually happens to them, though she does water religiously.

I am certain that they are the first generation in their respective families to not grow food. My maternal grandparents grew up on dairy farms in Cornelius, Oregon. My grandfather always had a kitchen garden in the parking strip in front of his house on Killingsworth Street. My dad’s family was always in some kind of farming, though not successfully, I’ve gathered. But that’s another story.

It’s not that I have a black thumb. I have a nicely landscaped yard that I did myself. Well, I used to. My yard is in a total shambles since we had kids.

But I have a gorgeous new garden plan (thanks to the incredibly talented Laura Baughman) and a designated section for food crops for next year (it involves sacrificing some roses, wah). Because, dammit, I’m going to do it. You can’t exactly advocate for local eating if you’re too chicken to grow tomatoes.

But I couldn’t wait for the big plan. So I went ahead and bought starts and took my first tentative steps at growing real, edible food.

So here they are. My first tomatoes.

Holy shit. I did it.


Kaleigh said...

And nothing tastes better than a tomato just picked from your own garden. My kids can even tell the difference.

Anonymous said...

Looky! Adorable and taaasty, no doubt. Congrats.

Anonymous said...

hey, i'm growing those same little pear tomatoes! this was the first year i've really ventured into growing food too, and it's been a blast. i just harvested a pattypan squash the other day, and was so proud.

Susan Voisin said...

Hi, congrats on the tomatoes! I live a fairly boring life, so I really like gardening because it gives me something to look forward to every day. Yikes, that sounds pathetic! What I mean is, I get a kick out of going out each day and seeing what's new with the plants (even if it's that some bird has made off with half of my crop). Anyway, I think you'll really enjoy gardening if you don't worry too much about all the pesky details and just have fun.

And thank you so much for the lovely comment you left over at my Culinate interview. I was scared to death during that BlogHer foodblogging session, so it's nice to know that I didn't make a total fool out of myself. I can never be sure! :-)