The first time I worked on a garden, I helped my grandparents pick strawberries at a pick-your-own farm. Tons of delicious strawberries to eat raw, in my grandma’s jam and over ice cream and shortcake. I saw the end result, not all the work involved in getting those strawberries to grandma’s kitchen.

Picking strawberries is different from when I was in high school. My family rented a house on 72 acres in North Carolina. We borrowed our landlord’s tractor and put in a large garden plot behind the house.

We planted stuff — corn, watermelon, cucumber, etc. My dad helped for a while, but as the summer when on, the garden became my project.

I got up early — super early — so I could work a few hours before it got too hot. I remember picking ears of corn and other things. I remember giving up because I wasn’t used to the N.C. heat.

After we had kids, I thought of having a garden as a teachable moment for them. Food doesn’t come from the grocery store without getting there from a farm. I also thought we’d save some money since we were growing our own food.

We planted in pots while living in an upstairs apartment. Those plants where eaten by neighborhood cats.

We planted in the ground. We had bugs, over watering and other issues through the years.

For 2020, we decided to expand our garden with the plan of having other family members help. They helped with the initial set-up, but it’s been a project done by the kids and I.

The soil is kinda crappy — a mix of sand, clay, gravel and debris. Our entire town, which has been around for almost 350 years, has served as a generational dumping ground. My yard also happened to be a creek bed and parking lot.

We compost as much as possible and supplement the ground with potting soil.

We plant things in cinder blocks, pallets, pots with big cracks on the bottom.

Right now, several seeds from gourds, watermelons, pumpkins, etc., are spouting after sitting in our yard since the summer and fall.

We have also have some plants we purchased from a local nursery. They are use to the weather here, which make them a little more tolerant to what we have going on in the yard.

We also have seeds that were planted a few days ago. More will be planted next week or so, when I can get the ground clear for them.

In this blog, I plan to update you on the garden as we try to make it a year-round thing. I’ll share what’s working, what isn’t. We’ll also share tasty recipes and uses for what we harvest.

For now, here are some photos of what we’re working with so far. This upcoming week calls for a nasty storm and a temperature drop, so we’ll keep you updated on how we handle the adverse weather conditions.