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Getting Started

Sometimes in life, we look ahead, decide what we want to accomplish, and work backward to figure out how to get there. Orienteering is like that. In an orienteering race, you know where the next checkpoint is on the map. You can look for alternate routes to your goal: over the hill, around on the path, or straight through the swamp. You can estimate which one will be fastest and most enjoyable, and pick the route you want.

That is not how we got started gardening. We did not plan ahead. One thing just led to another. We met a friend of a friend who is a professional gardener. We asked him to come and talk to our children and their friends after school one day. We planted some seeds and somehow ended up ordering a delivery of compost and loam, and suddenly we had a huge pile of dirt in the driveway behind our house, way more than we could use in the raised bed we had prepared. So, we bought some 1-foot square containers and filled them with the mixture and left them in the driveway. One thing led to another. You have some kids come over to plant some seeds in little pots, and before you know it you are growing a bunch of tomatoes and peppers in the back yard. And, of course, our kids had no continuing interest in the garden whatsoever.

This week we started our free-seedlings-for-kids program. 30 children have signed up so far. A free seedling may seem like a good deal, but then you need a pot, and dirt, and fertilizer, and daily care -- and it turns out to be a big investment. With great rewards! Hopefully one thing will lead to another for these children, and they will grow more food, or better understand where their meals come from, or reap other benefits from this little experiment.

This week I transplanted the onions I started in the basement, into a rooftop container. The weather continues to be quite cool at night; not ideal for tomatoes. Still, I've planted a couple out, and I'm moving some of them to the back porch to get used to the cooler temperatures without full exposure to wind and rain.

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