To describe the last two years in Arkansas as “life-altering” would be an understatement. I have changed so much (for the better, I hope) in this relatively short bit of time. I have learned a lot about myself–and without getting too philosophical (that’s for another post), one of those things is I love gardening.
Until last year, my experience with gardening could be summarized in two events: 1) sunflowers grown with my mom (WHICH WERE STOLEN, BY THE WAY [still mad]) in Kentucky and 2) my family’s well-intentioned attempt to plant tomatoes during our first summer in Arkansas.
It didn’t go well. Midwesterners adjusting to the humid climate and rocky soil of the South had no chance. And thus ended any further Yehling attempt at a vegetable garden (or any garden at all, really).
My dearest mama Tixqueen has had houseplants as long as I can remember, though–spider plants, asparagus ferns, some pretty ancient Christmas cactuses from my Uncle George (they’re still going strong)… lots of stuff! I’ve always loved the greenery that brightens our home. Still–never really showed any sort of interest.
Long story short (I will tell it some time), everything changed last year, and I became obsessed with seed-starting, container gardening, raised bed gardening, square foot gardening.. heirloom vegetables, organic fertilizers, pest control… and while not everything was a success (RIP to my squash and pumpkins), for someone who until then hadn’t really ever felt beholden to cleaning the litter box let alone watering a plant every day, my garden was super successful. And even with the varying rates of success and the crushing defeats from a renegade rabbit and squash vine borers, my garden was the highlight of my summer.
IN CASE YOU DIDN’T ALREADY KNOW, it’s April! And spring! In fact, April is such a great time for gardening that it is, wouldn’t you know, National Gardening Month. If you’ve ever thought about gardening, #whynot start one today? Doesn’t even have to be fancy. Maybe a little basil plant in your window. Mm, basil. Pesto. Now you’re with me.
I didn’t have this blog last year, so most of my garden documentation was relegated to sending photos to friends and usurping the Eggshells Kitchen Co. Instagram account to post pictures of my squash plants (may they rest in peace). No more though!
I’m looking forward to using this space as a place to talk about exactly why I think I fell so hard for gardening (and why I think you will too), what I’m up to in my #dirtclods, and the results of my work, good or bad!
The weather here over the past few weeks has been kind of dreary, though not miserable. The temperatures are nice for working outside, but the clouds blocking the sun and the seemingly never-ending dampness make soil temperatures less than ideal for planting. It’s even gotten a little chilly at night, forcing me to cover some of my containers with plastic bags to protect my fragile babies.
So. What am I growing (or hoping to grow) this year? Tons of things! Vegetables, herbs, fruits, and flowers.. but I thought I’d start by listing the longest variety list first, and the thing that maybe started my gardening obsession–TOMATOES! There are an estimated 20,000 varieties of tomato. Do you think I could try them all?
Tomato Cultivars for 2015:
– Arkansas Traveler (developed specifically for Arkansas climates!)
– Indian Stripe (I got this one from the Spring Planting Festival this past weekend; Herb Culver from Bean Mountain Farms says it was gotten from someone in Strong, AR)
– Cherokee Purple (classic heirloom that everyone seems to love)
– Park’s Whopper
– Red Beefsteak (hoping to slice a lot for tomato sandwiches!)
– Mexico Midget (insipid name, so much fun to grow [and hopefully I won’t kill them this year])
– Early Girl