Lessons from the Jungle Garden

Gardening is hard work. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. Especially during a drought. Especially when someone steals your tomato cages. Especially when you’re a novice at raising vegetables, even though you’ve got an awesome backyard that you’ve landscaped yourself. (I’m here to tell you. The two disciplines are not readily transferable.) There is a vegetable learning curve. There is a community gardening learning curve. There is a time management, working in your community garden learning curve. Not yet mastered!

Take a week or so away and look what happens! Beans and chard and weeds all competing for love. I’m not even going to display a photo of the jungle tomatoes without cages. Just know that they are growing…wildly. Also today, I had to completely remove the zucchini. Totally infested with. No! The squash bug! Too gruesome to show. I had to make a trip home for a pitch fork and some hardy gloves to deal with the wreck. Enough said.

All was not lost though. I came home with some gorgeously delicious grape tomatoes.

And a handful of beets to roast.

In the meantime, we’re still waiting on the jungle tomatoes to ripen, some cucumbers, beans, and peppers. I think with a bit of TLC they’ll all come to fruition.

What has grown mostly from this community garden though, is my appreciation for the abundance of foods that are available to us every day. Don’t we take for granted the produce shipped from around the world, hardly thinking of how amazing that feat is? And to the flip side of that, taking for granted the importance of eating seasonal, locally grown vegetables, that don’t require politics and pesticides?

To have the good fortune to be able to grow my own vegetables (learning curve noted!) is nothing I will take for granted again.

And now – for a really wonderful look at a proper community garden, take a moment to visit one of my favorite sites: Promenade Plantings. You’ll be inspired to start a garden of your own.


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