Sunday, April 22, 2012

Trial and Error: Vegetable Edition

During the winter my boyfriend and I purchased our first house together and the prospect of being a homeowner is a daunting enterprise.  Though we've been in our house for six months  now, there are constant challenges and any romantic notions that I had went out the window very quickly.  The problems that crop up are none that HGTV prepared me for. There were none of those magical makeover moments, nor did those scary Holmes on Holmes issues come to light (knock on wood).  Instead we found ourselves replacing gutters and fantasizing about a life which might include an on-demand hot water heater.  

One of the elements of owning a house of which I was completely ignorant of was the overhauling and maintenance of a garden. As an apartment dweller for most of my life, I never had the need to learn anything about taking care of a garden, and my past as an indoor plant serial killer made my chances of success doubtful at best. Still I approached this challenge with gusto, and did the only thing I knew what to do when confronted by my own lack of knowledge, research.  I bought The Zero-Mile Diet by Carolyn Herriot and used it as my guide to planting a respectable vegetable garden which might bring about something edible.  

The book is structured like a calendar and I found this approach to be very helpful. For each month, there are different topics and instructions of what you should be doing to prepare, plant or harvest your garden.  Particularly being from the West Coast where temperatures are much different than those of other parts of the country, I was happy to find a resource which has advice that corresponds to our unique climate.  Although I think that the advice could be applied to other areas if one were to shift the calendar two months or so forward.  The tidbits of advice which Herriot gives throughout the book are clear and very practical, and I can easily envision myself carrying out some of her tips as I become more confident of my abilities.  

At this point I am doing the gardening equivalent of throwing a bunch of things against the wall and hoping that something sticks.  If anything grows, I will consider it to be a victory and with The Zero-Mile Diet, I feel that I have a better chance.      

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