I have a green thumb. I have for as long as I can remember. We always had a big vegetable garden growing up in Utah, and when we moved to Michigan, I was allowed to clear a spot of land in the forest and make a little garden of my own. I’ve had patio gardens and container gardens almost everywhere I’ve lived. When I was renting a house in Utah, I even ripped up part of the house’s lawn and created a garden there.
So, living in apartment has always been difficult for me around this time of year. I’ve always wanted to plant a huge garden. I’ve had container gardens every year since I moved into this apartment complex, but the big issue there is that I get so little sun on my patio, what with it being covered and behind a large tree.
This year, however, I’ve decided it’s time to go big. And go big I shall.
In Redmond, there is a massive park called Marymoor Park, which has among other things, a large community garden. (It’s also the park that contains the 90-acre off-leash dog park with swimming holes). I have opted to rent one of the plots in the community garden this year. For $65 a YEAR, I get a 10’X40’ plot of land, with access to city-provided water and lots and lots of sunlight. (No trees!)
The theme for this year’s garden (and pretty much all of my big gardens) is Growing Things You Can’t Easily Find at the Grocery Store, and with only a few minor items (Corn, Zucchini) I have managed to procure a quite astonishing selection of produce for this year’s project. Most of my plants are heirloom varieties that aren’t commercially available, and those few that aren’t heirloom varieties are unusual enough in their own right.
Here’s the crop selection for this year:
|Peaches and Cream Sweet Corn|
|Italian Striped Zucchini|
|Stars and Moon Watermelon|
|French Breakfast Radish|
|Horto Semi-Bush Beans|
|Purple Vienna Kohlrabi|
|Royal Burgundy Bush Bean|
|Cherokee Purple Tomato|
|Dr Wychee’s Yellow Tomato|
|Striped German Tomato|
|Black Prince Tomato|
|Orange Bell Pepper|
|Golden California Wonder Bell Pepper|
|Ancho Tiburon Pepper|
|Rosa Bianca Eggplant|
|Imperial Black Beauty Eggplant|
|Sugar Sprint Peas|
I have to say, the world of the Garden Center has changed a whole bunch over the last couple of years. It used to be that when you went to your local big box store garden center, you could only get two or three varieties of tomatoes or peppers. Now there are dozens. I got every single thing on this list at my local Fred Meyer, and all of the tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, beans, and melons are heirloom varieties. It’s quite impressive.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: Yes, this is a LOT of stuff to fit into a 400 sq. ft. garden. Yes, this is a LOT of produce for a single person. You are correct. However, since I have a full 400 sq ft, I have every intention of using it to its fullest. I will give away produce to friends who would like it, and if I have any excess, the community gardens have a plan by which I can donate my extra produce to the Hopelink Food Bank.
So, I am SUPER excited about the garden this year. I won’t be spending as much time (or money) at the Farmer’s market, and will be spending more time, and hopefully less money, at the farm.