The great garden experiment.

This year marks my first as something resembling a gardener.  While my mother grew lovely things in our yard when I was growing up, I was never an active part of the plantings or maintenance.  However, with a burgeoning interest in food and urban homesteading in the past few years, I entered the LVC year excited about the prospect of having a yard to garden in.

The fall resulted in little bounty, at least from our yard.  I attempted a late sowing of spinach and carrots (because it seemed plausible for both to produce before the frost set in) but neither resulted in anything major.  Over the winter, however, I received some heirloom seeds from one of the board members at the non-profit I work at.  After a bit of research I carefully prepared egg cartons to receive the tiny seeds, which sprouted and eventually grew large enough to be transplanted into makeshift pots, usually half a milk carton or a yogurt container with a few holes in the bottom.  Much to my delight, my seedlings flourished, and come May were ready to move outdoors.  To my started plants I added packets of mixed lettuce seeds as well as spinach, chard and cucumbers, and found marigold, carrot, parsley and cilantro seeds leftover in our house.

And the garden grew.  Mishaps occurred in plenty (the spinach bolted almost immediately, the tomatoes continue to fall over regularly, my first tomato of any size was quickly snatched up by some city creature) but overall my garden was lovely and bountiful.  Almost accidentally I sowed the lettuce at the perfect moment, resulting in fresh greens for salad and sandwiches for months, and am just now adding the chard to the mix.

I spend time with my garden the way some do with their pets, lavishing attention whenever possible both for my sake and, possibly, the plants as well.  So without further ado, here is growth.

Swiss chard!  An earlier photo of the same is the top photo under the blog title.

Cucumber- flowers at this point, but much more successful than the first seeds I planted directly outdoors that were immediately destroyed by insects.

Hot peppers, soon to be made into bread and butter pickles (thanks for the recipe, Rachel!).

Tomato after the rain.  There are branches of the plant with many more green tomatoes, but I thought this particular one was too lovely to pass up.

May you all have abundance in your lives, be it from a garden, from the farmers market, or through books, people, conversations and beauty.

~Lauren

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