I probably wouldn’t describe myself as someone with a green thumb. It’s not that I am not one with nature, or have no instincts when it comes to plants, it’s probably more because I approach growing things the same way I approach cooking. I prefer to go in blindly with little direction and see what works and what does not.
I planted my first garden this summer and it was very apparent that this approach probably does not work as well in the garden as it does in the kitchen. Or maybe it does, depends on how you look at it. I did make a lot of mistakes, and I learned some key lessons from those mistakes, so maybe that will make my garden next year that much better? I sure do hope so.
Last summer I volunteered one day a week at The Stone Barns Center for Agriculture in their dooryard garden hoping to learn a little from the experts: the passionate farmers and gardeners who work there. I did learn to make a killer trellis from found objects, and I learned about all kinds of plants and vegetables that I had never heard of, but most of all I learned that I had a lot to learn.
It was kind of overwhelming, especially for someone with very little knowledge of gardening. So when it came time to build and plant my garden this summer, I decided that I was not going to try and learn everything. I was just going to plant some seeds, give it some love, and see what happened.
The result? An out of control amount of zucchini, cucumbers that are popping up in and around my grape tomatoes, and enough pumpkins to charge for hay rides and pumpkin picking in my backyard this October. As well as a bunch of lettuce that never surfaced, and carrots and scallions that I’m certain were eaten by some sneaky little creatures.