Growing up I had always thought that gardening was for ‘old’ people. It was something that you did once you retired and were too weak to do other fun things.
Well, about five years ago I decided that I wanted to grow my own vegetables. I began with a few plants on a small plot of land (about 3 feet by 8 feet). That first year, my yield was so-so. I didn’t really know what I was doing nor did I try hard to figure it out.
So the second year, I decided to pull out all the stops. I cleared out the remaining area of my back yard. I put in a raised bed that was 16 feet by 16 feet. We built a set of gates and a fence around raise bed. When I planted my plants, I started them from seeds. I still had no idea what I was doing and when those seeds sprouted I could not tell which plants I wanted and which were weeds.
The next year the people at Home Depot taught me about weed barriers. I bought plants (instead of seeds) and really began to get picky about which plants I was going to grow. That year, I had so many vegetables that I was giving them away every week to several other families and I still had a ton of my own.
Now each year I learn so much more about how to get the best yield. We are building an A-frame string trellis for the tomatoes. We only buy our plants from Sunrise Gardens in Grant Park, Illinois.
So why garden? The vegetables are a definite bonus. But the workout you get starting in the spring, through the summer, and into the fall is also a huge bonus. Every spring I have to clean up the garden, add fresh soil, composite, till the garden, haul supplies, etc. Then during the summer, I need to tend to the plants and keep the area clean, watered, etc. Then when the fall comes, I need to harvest the greatest portion of the vegetables and then clean up all the dead plants. It sounds ‘easy’ but it is quite the workout. During the busiest times (beginning and end of the session), I find I am really sore and worn out. It is all worth it!
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