While a wet snow/rain mix fell outside, I found a blank piece of paper and a pencil, sat down at my desk and started sketching out what my 2018 garden will include.

I have participated in the community garden behind Sagebrush Elementary School for several years now. We don’t have a fence around our property, but we frequently host local deer in our yard. So we head up the hill and plant in the relative safety of the community garden. (I say “relative” because it still has smaller furry visitors like rabbits, and unless you’re in a greenhouse, not much can protect you from the occasional hail that accompanies thunderstorms).

We pay $40 per summer. A pretty good deal. We have access to compost and mulch and that covers the cost of the water we use. 

The plot my husband and I have planted the last several years is toward the middle of the garden and is in the shape of a piece of pie. We love it. 

With the warmer weather we’ve had lately, I couldn’t help but start dreaming about putting my hands in the dirt and growing some delicious vegetables.

Tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, squash, zucchini — they are all regulars in our plot. We’ve also tried watermelon (but they aren’t always ready by the time the frost becomes a pain), beets, potatoes, peas and more. Of course some years are better than others, but for the most part we’ve been successful every year. 

We supplement our own garden by shopping at the local farmers market. I cannot get enough of fresh sweet corn and other locally grown foods. I also enjoy the fresh bread, cheese, honey and other homemade goods. Something about nourishing yourself with items so much closer to you and the land adds an extra sense of health — both mentally and physically.

If you’re itching to get out and start planting — or if you have questions and need help getting started — stop by Landon’s Greenhouse and Nursery. Everyone there is helpful and knowledgable. They’ll give you tips on how to start plants indoors, how to acclimate them to the outdoors and how to care for them once they’re happily in your garden plot. 

Not sure you have room at your home for a garden? There always seems to be space available in the Sagebrush Community Garden, and I’m sure that’s true of the other gardens spread throughout the city. The community those spaces offer include years of know-how and folks willing to help water while you’re on that summer vacation.

Plus, fresh veggies all summer long — and a chance to learn and teach others about the benefits of local food — are pretty great perks to the experience.

 

•••••

 

“The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just on the body, but the soul.”

— Alfred Austin, “The Garden that I Love,” 1894