Spring. The most exciting time in the garden. I’m sure many gardeners would agree. It’s that time when the winter vegetables end their run, making way for the spring/summer vegetables. I always find this transition thrilling, but this year even more so. Because this year I started growing my vegetables from seed, for the very first time, thanks to a bag of vegetable seed packets from a kind and generous friend. My winter crop of broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kohlrabi, onions, beetroot, parsnips, spring onions and radishes was a successful experiment. But I have higher hopes with my current crop, after implementing the techniques and lessons learned from my first attempt. This time I was careful not to overcrowd my pots with seeds, resulting in bigger and stronger seedlings for planting. I invested in a second greenhouse for my additional seed pots, and have also planted heirloom variety seedlings. I don’t think I could be more confident about the expected results! The mushroom compost is down and the seedlings are starting to make their way into the gardens. Exciting time indeed. And I think I may also have some other help. Is a green thumb genetic?
My grandfather never saw the point of growing flowers. After all, he surmised, you can’t eat them. My early childhood was filled with exploring his ample vegetable patches. In one of my favourite baby photos, I am a year old sitting beside the garden with dirt around my mouth from trying to eat the potatoes from the garden. He enjoyed growing everything from tomatoes to pumpkins to passionfruit. As my backyard and vegetable gardens were once his, an inventory of my generously producing yard would include his legacy of an avocado tree, a lemon tree and a mango tree. Every year, to varying degrees, these trees provide fresh, delicious fruit not only for myself, but for family and friends. Many wait around impatiently for these trees to bear their signature awesome fruit. Way better than the ones in the supermarket! And, right now, tiny baby avocados and mangoes are forming. Spring! A lime tree was added to the mini orchard a few years ago and produces well for its age.
Now a new bunch of spring seedlings, all grown from seed in my mini nursery out the back, are thriving in my Pop’s old garden beds. Several variety of beans are shooting up against the trellis, zucchinis and cucumber plants (probably a lot more than I actually need) are expanding every day, radish leaves are growing quickly, newly sown lettuce, tomatoes (many different varieties) and herbs are looking healthy. I am trying new plants, such as cucamelon, which I have never even seen before, let alone eaten. It’s all an experiment. With so many seedlings, I am struggling to find spaces in the garden to plant them. This year, I may also be growing some crops in large pots as the garden beds are filled to capacity. I admit I got a bit carried away. But I just love growing fresh fruit and vegetables in my backyard and eagerly await the results. After all it is tomato season, and what could be better than that?! And I am already planning to make my favourite summer salads with produce from my abundant backyard.
So can my success and interest in growing vegetables be put down to a genetic green thumb, or is it more about the care, attention and, indeed, love given to this yard and gardens over thirty years ago by someone who probably knew what they were doing much more than I do?