I have always loved plants, houseplants that is, or rather they have always loved me. Growing up my mother killed every plant that was unfortunate to cross her path. I don’t think she was a sadist just never seemed to remember plants needed water. The plant would be withered, croaking, and all but dead when she would quietly knock on my door. “Honey, can you save this?” I did with the promise that she would walk away and never torture the plant again. My room did not have posters of the backstreet boys, a pedestal bed, or pink frilly bedspreads. My room looked more like a rainforest with vivid ferns, exotic croton, and mottled calathea. It even had a bobcat stretch out on the bed purring. Well, Bob, my cat.
So, when we bought the farm my husband suggested putting in a vegetable garden. “Umm, I don’t know. I’m from the city. I bought my vegetables from the store or the farmer’s market in Lincoln Park!”
“I got this,” my husband assured me. Considering he had been born and raised on a farm I made the mistake of believing he knew what he was doing and agreed we should have a vegetable garden. Only he didn’t. Oh, he was diligent in working the soil every spring, planting the seeds and plants, mostly tomatoes, peppers, and kohlrabi. And then he would promptly forget about it. So the vegetable garden soon became a thriving weed garden with the occasional brave tomato plant that would peep through the weeds.
I did not know much about vegetable gardens but I was pretty sure they were supposed to grow vegetables, not smartweeds. Every time I walked past the garden I swore I heard the tomato plants screaming, HELP! I physically felt sorry for them. I promptly informed my husband that he was no longer allowed in the garden and I would be taking over going forward. He just smiled, like a Cheshire cat, and said, “Okay.”
I think I’ve been played!
I figured if I was going to have a garden it needed to encompass my love of cooking and have an abundance of fresh herbs. I double the size and added more. Along with the tomatoes and peppers there was corn, zucchini, cucumber, broccoli, cauliflower, beets, onions, strawberries, kale, and lettuce. Soon I wanted more so we expanded the garden. I added squash, pumpkin, and watermelon. And still I want more! This year I am expanding it once again and adding raised gardens and pathways to better access and enjoy the gardens.
I hope to improve the design and make it an area that people want to hang out in. You will find interesting seating snugged in and around the gardens, borders to create clean lines, and pathways that add visual contrast. Be sure to check out the gardens when you visit the market.