Making things grow (part 1)

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I blame earwigs for my lack of green thumb. As a child, my family rented a small plot of land every year to grow vegetables– a działka, as my family referred to it. This was before the proliferation of community gardens, but is basically the same concept. Every weekend we would drive out to the country and I would water the plants with my child-sized watering can, and pull of vegetables when they appeared. But then I discovered earwigs. Or more truthfully: They discovered me. They were out to get me, and I wanted nothing to do with them.

Twenty years later, I tried to grow vegetables in my small yard in Toronto. Nothing came up, and so that seemed to be the end of it. It was clear as day: gardening wasn’t going to happen for me. I was not going to be one of those industrious hobby gardeners, waving my vegetables around in the faces of my friends and colleagues (a.k.a “the dream”). I reluctantly hung up my spade, for good. Or so I thought.

I’ve had the great luck to have met some truly amazing organic farmers. My partner’s mother, for one, has a sixth sense reserved strictly for plants. And one of my very best friends feeds hundreds of families every year with her market garden. It’s admirable. Inspiring.

And so, with a lot of help (and some incredibly supportive neighbours), we’ve carved out two gardens and a few pots of assorted edibles. Now, the trick is to keep it alive.

In a couple months, I’ll follow up on this “Before” post and hopefully have more to show than a few gnarled, abused, sun-burned plants, quivering for water and starved for love. Weed, water, repeat…right?

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