Growing up, I remember tasting green beans and rhubarb fresh from our backyard garden. Though I didn’t live in the country by any means (within the Baltimore city limits), the house I grew up in had a huge backyard with a tire swing, sandbox and swing set. Oh, and a little vegetable garden. But I didn’t think about that much as a kid. Sure, I helped move some dirt around while my mom gardened, and definitely helped taste the fruits of her labor, but I never really gave that little plot much thought. After I graduated from college, Benjamin and I bought our first house, a 100 year old 2-family house in the up-and-coming urban area of Somerville, just outside of Boston. Between the driveway and the alley on which we live, there is more pavement than green space; not exactly verdant pastures crying out for vegetables! However, with a few years of grass- and flower-tending under my belt, I am ready to try my hand at growing some of my own veggies.
As I have mentioned, over the last year I have become increasingly focused on eating whole, natural foods. And what better way is there to guarantee having fresh produce than to grow it yourself? I just finished reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, by Barbara Kingsolver. The book describes a year in which Kingsolver and her family challenge themselves to eat only locally sourced food (as in, mostly from their own backyard). She happens to live on a farm with rows upon rows of veggies, not to mention chickens — so I’m not equating her situation and mine just yet. However, the book did inspire me to see what I could produce for myself in an effort to understand more about where my food comes from and just how far it has to travel to get to my grocery store shelves.
So here it is… our own little urban farm, built with love at the end of our paved driveway. It’s the only part of our property that gets enough sun, so, aesthetics aside, it was definitely the best spot for veggie production. Unlike Kingsolver, I’m not counting on our little “farm” to produce enough veggies to feed us all summer, but I’m hoping for a few salads and maybe some zucchini to validate my green thumb.
Lest you think this is a deviation from my normal baby-focused blogging; it is not. In fact, I think that this recent shift towards living a holistic, natural life is directly related to the babymaking we’ve been doing. Even in the middle of a city, I want to raise my baby with a little dirt under his or her fingernails. I want him/her to experience the delicious smell of a garden-fresh tomato, and understand how we can do our part to support the local food economy. With the garden growing bigger every day, I feel like we’re another step closer to making our house into a home.