Growing to Share

A few years ago I started gardening. Initially, I thought, “I have the space. I have the time. I have the desire.” I grew 36 tomato plants of different varieties, not really understanding the yield potential or what I was going to do with them. I just knew I loved tomatoes. I also loved sharing and making people smile. So, to me, this would be a win-win and so worth the effort.

Before I started gardening, coming by a homegrown tomato in Virginia was quite a treat. Occasionally they were around, but most of the time I found myself being told, “Tomatoes didn’t do well this year.” “I got a bad case of blossom-end rot.” or “We got the blight.” Since I had seen my mother struggle with growing tomatoes in my younger years, I thought I might lose a few plants, or even half, to all of these horrors people told me about. This was not the case.

It was a plentiful bounty, to say the least. I ate and ate and ate. I shared and shared and canned and froze and let many go to rot. My boyfriend/ gardening partner was like, “Karen, please don’t grow so many tomatoes next year.” He had to stake, sucker and tie them for me of course, because I am not so handy and I had put so much money onto the garden, I didn’t want to fork out more for baskets. Lesson almost learned…

I did the same thing with peppers and cucumbers because I love them and wanted to see if I could grow them as well. Same deal there. Lots and lots of extras.

You would think that this would have deterred me from growing things I don’t like to eat. But it has not. I have grown Swiss Chard for two years in a row now, even though I find it less than edible, because I like the way it looks. What is wrong with me? I grow most of these things, beautiful peppers, herbs, eggplant, the dreaded chard just to see if I can. It still astonishes me that I can’t find enough takers for all of these beautiful, healthful varieties, what with all the vegans out there on Facebook.

I should mention, I have no desire to stop, growing things for the novelty and just to see if I can. I am fully addicted. I am an addict. There, I have said it.

Fast forward three years later. I have pared it down to about 12 tomato plants, (except the ones in pots I keep hidden behind the shed…please don’t tell the BF) which is a manageable number I think. But I have branched out into growing heirloom plants and a bunch of other veggies I have no desire to eat. I should be selling them at GrubMarket. Perhaps that’s my next step.