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How does your garden grow?

My passion for gardening began when I was a little girl. I was always amazed when I would visit my grandparents' house during the summer. The rows of lush green vegetation against the dark rich soil were striking. I can remember walking into my grandpa's garden, picking a green pepper off the bush, wiping the dirt off it, and then eating it like an apple. Oh, how I hated picking tomatoes in the hot August sun, but I did enjoy snapping green beans under the shade of the weeping willow tree.

As an adult, I wanted to grow my own garden, but I didn't have room in our yard for a garden. For many years, I would take my children over to visit my grandparents and help in the garden. After grandpa passed, I found that gardening reminded me so much of him that I decided to plant a small garden. The house I was renting had a small space for a garden, so I bought some tomato plants. I did not know how many plants I needed, so I believe I bought 20 or 24! I assumed each plant would only produce 3 or 4 tomatoes. (I never paid attention to the part of gardening where I learned how much each plant would yield.) Wow! we had a lot of tomatoes that summer.

For the next several years I would buy tomato plants and then I added pepper plants. The garden was small and manageable. In 2018, I moved to Parma, MI. I now have several acres, and my garden is larger than the back yard at my last house! I was so excited to finally be able to have a large garden, that I planted every type of plant that I could find at the garden store. It was crazy! I was overwhelmed and realized that I was not enjoying it at all.

I now start most of my plants from seeds in a small greenhouse, and I have scaled back the types of plants I grow to the items we eat the most often. I am still learning how many tomatoes, peppers, pumpkins, etc., I need to plant. Just because there are 100 seeds in the packet does not mean I need to grow 100 tomato plants! Last year none of my zucchini grew, but the year before we had an over-abundance of them. We will see what happens this year, I am hoping for a good crop of zucchini

I encourage you to try to grow a garden, even a small one if you can. Whether you grow from seed or buy a plant and put it in the ground, the rewards of amazing fruits and vegetables are far better than what you get in the store. If gardening is just not your thing, (and that is ok), make sure to shop at your local farmers market and support your local farmers. You will not be disappointed.

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