• Jenny Dupre

So... I guess I need a garden?

If there is one thing anyone should know about me, it is that I likely have some undiagnosed obsessive disorder. When I get an idea in my head, I obsess over it until I make it happen. This "character trait" can be helpful in making me an extremely driven individual. It can also be a pretty big pain when the thing I start obsessing about is a huge project, life transition, or just for one reason or another (usually money) out of my reach. When I decided that I hated living in an apartment, we were in our own house three months later. When I decided the deck had to go, we put in a patio. And when I decided that Henry needed a friend? Well... we got Leroy.

Back in April of this year I was feeling the restlessness of a behind schedule spring, combined with the most stressful part of the year at my job and I was in full on "let's quit everything and move to Vermont and start a homestead" mode. I looked at every single homesteading pinterest pin. I read every blog post about getting started. I talked about it CONSTANTLY until Marcel acquiesced - if starting a homestead really was my lifelong dream, we could... in a few years. And like the snap of my fingers, it was gone. Not the want to start a homestead, but that frantic, obsessive need.

The good news is Marcel just telling me I could have what I wanted was almost like getting what I wanted. So I didn't quit my job. I didn't sell my house. I didn't move to Vermont. Actually, we took a trip to Disney instead. It helped.

During this time, one thing became very clear... I don't actually know the first thing about farming. Sure... my ma had kept a vegetable garden when I was a kid and I vaguely remember sowing green beans with the neighbor in their garden. And sure... I've BEEN to a farm before. I even worked at a horse stable in high school. I've hauled hay. I've shoveled poop. How hard can it be? Don't worry... I'm not that naive. Really. Freaking. Hard. That's how hard it can be. So I decided that in the interim before I can get my beautiful dream homestead, I should probably start doing a few things in my little backyard to get prepared.

So... I guess I need a garden?

Henry helping Marcel and Mike level the boxes.

I drew up the design for my DREAM GARDEN BOXES and then brought myself back into reality and picked up some crap wood from Home Depot. I know that these boxes may only last me a few seasons before they rot, but I don't even know if I like to garden yet! My ma and I built the first box using a way not-powerful-enough power driver and a ratcheting hand driver. If you ever wondered where I got my "this is not optimal but I will persevere" attitude, you should have seen us crawling around on the ground, hand-ratcheting the 2.5" screws into the knotty wood. Once the real power driver was charged, the other two boxes went together a lot more quickly!

500 lbs of shit

The following weekend, my friend Mike came to help Marcel level the boxes. Mike doesn't have a house of his own yet, so he's always happy to come over and help us with our home projects. How does a person like that even exist?? I couldn't tell you, but I'm so happy he does. Once the boxes were in place and level, Marcel and I filled them with 500 lbs. of shit. Literally. We used a mix of topsoil, peat moss and composted cow manure. Bag after bag went in, I turned it all over, and immediately wondered why the hell I thought this whole "work for your food" thing is such a good idea?

By this time it was mid-May, which I guess is when you're supposed to plant outside in Connecticut. It seemed too late to start seeds inside, and also I JUST WANTED MY PLANTS DAMNIT! so my ma and I took a ride over to the beautiful and extremely well-stocked Country Flower Farms in Middlefield to pick up some supplies. In hindsight, I know that I was a bit overzealous, and probably got too many plants for my boxes. But I didn't care! They were beautiful! I felt such a sense of accomplishment when I looked at that garden!

So now we have a garden. It's beautiful. I love it. I still have no idea what I'm doing, but I desperately want to eat a tomato that I grew, and obviously desperation and anxiety is what plants grow on, right? Garden and I are going to have a very healthy relationship...

#garden #firsttime

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