pumpkins and squash

It’s really Finny’s fault I started gardening. She’s always showing what she’s growing, cooking and eating and my goodness — it is incredible. I thought I could do the same, nevermind she lives in the Bay area and I’m in the desert. Thankfully, after several years of poorly researched attempts, this is getting easier.  And it seems I’m not alone.

Squash blossoms

According to my latest copy of Real Simple:

19% more Americans are growing their own fruits, veggies and herbs in 2009

54% of households grow their own food to save money on groceries

$70 spent on planting a food garden can yield $530 worth of produce per season

Before -- the dreaded rocky plot

Before -- ROCKS

There is a rectangular plot of land between my home and my neighbor’s. When we moved in, it was grassy, with a gorgeous tree in the center. Unexpectedly, the lawn crew decided to cut down the tree and place rock over the grass. My neighbor John and I discussed the state of this nonsense earlier this week and decided a winter garden would certainly make more sense. (Don’t tell our HOA.) I put a plea out for bricks yesterday on Facebook and within three hours had a trunk full, thanks to a sweet couple from church.

After -- lined with brick

After -- dirt and fewer rocks

Several hours, and countless shovels of gravel removal later, I have a $6 garden plot — spent on compost and manure. Granted, there is nothing yet planted, but the list is long for winter vegetables. This is a great planting calendar, if you are living in the desert and interested in doing something similar.

Happy pumpkin plot

I think using the earth we have at hand to grow good food makes more sense now than ever. Plus, gardening falls in line with all my other newly acquired domestic skills. If I can do it, so can a trained monkey. Now, what to plant?