July 28, 2010

I grew up in Texas,the daughter and granddaughter of farmers. And until I was eight years old, welived in a dusty little west Texastown. (When I say dusty, I mean my mom used to stuff towels at the base of ourexterior doors to keep sand from blowing in the house.) Just beyond the woodfence that wrapped around our back yard was nothing but fields—one of mygrandfather’s farms—except for the calf pen we had off to the right side of theyard.

Papa’s farmbehind our house, like all of the properties he and my dad farmed, was plantedmostly with cotton in the summer and wheat in the winter. But a small part ofthe land was always reserved for planting an edible garden: beans, peas,watermelon, and the like. And in the summers we worked on the farms, movingirrigation pipes (this was before it became motorized) and walking the rowswith a hoe in hand—we earned twenty-five cents per row. But the big bucks cameat the end of the summer when my sisters and I harvested food from the farm,loaded it into our little red wagon and walked the neighborhood selling ourspoils by the bushel!

I’ve wanted toplant a garden in my backyard for as long as I can remember but never haveuntil this year. Ironically, I’m one of the last to the party for the latesttrend: urban gardening. On Mother’s Day my son and I planted our first seeds.He picked carrots, corn, cantaloupe, and watermelon for his crops. I plantedbeans, tomatoes, squash, eggplant, peppers, radishes, beets, and some herbpots. We also planted blueberry bushes and a peach tree. And tending the gardenhas become our summer project.


So far I’ve onlykilled a few things: the tarragon and chives are goners. And apparently summerin Alabama istoo hot to grow patty pan squash. But I’ve eaten 3 peppers and a few cherrytomatoes that we grew! I’ll be checking in occasionally in the next few weekswith reports from my garden and share recipes they inspire. My pictures here show how thingslook today.

Editor's note: If Julie's garden inspires, check out these stories for more on do-it-yourself gardens:

Start a Community GardenHerb Gardening 101

Three Easy Plants Every Cook Can Grow

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