Garden Dreaming

This weekend, we went to Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. While the house was incredible, my favorite part of the experience was exploring the gardens.

Watermelon

There are 330 different types of vegetables in the 1,000 foot long vegetable garden. Though most of the crops have been harvested, I had a lot of fun examining how the different vegetables grow in (and out) of the ground.

Apples

Jefferson also has an orchard, featuring apple, peach, and fig trees. And of course, Jefferson’s vineyard!

Grapes

Living in Charlottesville for the past year, I have become increasingly interested in learning about gardening and farming in Virginia. A large part of this has grown from the local food movement, and my Saturday morning trips to the Farmer’s Market.

Backyard Vegetable Garden
Image Source

I am very jealous of friends like Faith and Kath who have lovely gardens in their backyards. Living in an apartment, it will be years before I can have a backyard garden of my own. For now, I will have to be satisfied with limited container gardening on my small, second floor balcony.

From flowers to tomatoes!

At the end of May, a co-worker brought a few tomato plants to the office, offering them to anyone who wanted to give them a good home. I had been nervous to buy any plants for the patio, doubting my ability to grow vegetables successfully (I once killed a cactus, so my track record isn’t great…). But I decided to try it out, and I brought home two small Sweet Million Cherry tomato plants.

Over the past 6 weeks, though, my tomatoes have grown so much, and I am learning a lot about container gardening.

Tomato Growth

At 3 weeks, I bought a tomato cage to five them more support. By 4 weeks, they had outgrown the 12 inch pot, and I upgraded to a container twice as large  (about 23 inch diameter)! They continue to grow at an incredible rate, and in the last few days, my first green tomato bud has turned a lovely red-orange.

Almost ready to eat!

Each day after work, I give my plants plenty of water, marveling over any new yellow flowers that offer the promise of new tomatoes in the near future.

Tiny yellow flowers–soon to be tomatoes!

I can’t wait to eat tomatoes I have grown myself! This experience has only increased my desire for a real garden, but it might be years before that dream comes true. For now, I’m loving my tomatoes, and  I might add some pots of peppers and herbs soon…

A cluster of tomatoes

I’d love to hear about others’ experiences with gardening. What was your first plant? Do you grow things in containers, or in a backyard garden?

-L

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