Sunday, August 5, 2012

Guest Post: Gardening// My mom

I've asked a few gardeners to guest post about their experiences with gardening and what they've learned. Being interested and passionate about natural foods and self-sufficient living has me looking forward to a garden of my own someday.

Guest: My mom. Lives in Seattle, WA. I first blogged about my parent's beautiful garden HERE. Oooooh how I love that place.
Seattle 2012_0268

Seattle 2012_0266

There are a lot of poems about gardening.  There are two I think of--and both kind of have a morbid touch to them (Robert Frost’s “A Girl’s Garden” and this one below, lyrics from the musical “A Secret Garden”).  Here is a sample: 

A bit of earth,
She wants a little bit of earth,
She'll plant some seeds.
The seeds will grow,
The flowers bloom,
Their beauty just the thing she needs.
She'll grow to love the tender roses,
Lilies fair, the iris tall.
And then in fall, her bit of earth
Will freeze and kill them all.

Gardening is like that--there are delightful and delicious rewards, but there is also the cycle of life--things get hurt, get sick, and even die.  There are things out of our most diligent control. But next thing you know it is spring and stuff starts growing again.  So, it is worth it.
mom garden 4
I grow a few flowers but I really focus on berries and vegetables--edible things.  That is because I like to eat more than I like to have a vase of flowers in my house.  I like the idea of being a bit more self-sufficient (there must be a better word) and I also like the idea of having really fresh vegetables and fruit.  I can go out in the yard at 5:30 and find something to make for dinner or breakfast from early May to mid-October.  Then I can go to my storage shelves or my freezer the rest of the year and get a bottle of tomatoes  (there is nothing canned that compares to the taste of home-bottled tomatoes) or zucchini relish, rhubarb for a crisp, or a bag of blueberries to smother my oatmeal.  It is a lot of work, but it is satisfying to me.

During my semi-Hippie days when I was 16 years old I began to long for a garden--to get back to nature. So when we bought our first home a few years later I planted a vegetable garden--that was in SLC which has great weather for gardening.  Then we moved to Seattle and gardening there is a different kind of thing altogether.  The sun is spotty,, the moss is pervasive, the slugs are ferocious eaters, and the nights are cold.  But I can usually get a really good crop of tomatoes and zucchini, some beets and carrots, early lettuce and peas, lately I’ve had great results with kale, and then there are the berries.   Berries love the Seattle climate and the acidic soil.  
mom garden1
Last night I made a delicious soup from a few zucchini and 2 bunches of kale.  Instead of the vermicelli it called for I used some angel hair spinach pasta.  I only used 3 cloves of garlic instead of 4 and was judicious with the red pepper flakes--but really, the flakes are an important part of the flavor of this soup so I was glad I added some.

Some of you readers probably haven’t gardened much yet, but I hope you won’t be afraid to try.  I was a city girl and had to learn through doing.  You can to--your plants might die, but next time they’ll grow and you’ll be so excited when you pluck a tomato off your very own vine!

Thanks for the post mom! I have so much to learn from you. Every single summer I am so sad I'm not in Seattle feasting on your garden.


  1. What a great post! and so encouraging! I have been wanting to container garden while apartment living for a LONG time and I just haven't mustered up the courage and energy to get it started. I already know I am not good at getting things to grow from seeds, but there is a nursery down the street that I'm sure I can get a few herbs already growing and all I need to do is keep them alive!! :-)

    Love you Holly!!

  2. i love this, how awesome. your mom sounds so sweet. i cant wait to start my own garden!! just cant here in hawaii yet. unless i figured out a vertical garden of some sort or herb garden!!

  3. Mom has the most amazing yard and garden! I am inspired by her all the time! I love those pix of camp!

  4. OH yes. She is a gardening WIZARD! The recipes sound delicious. And it's great to hear from someone who isn't Martha Stewart, but could just as well be. My interests and faith in gardening have been renewed!