Proverbs 31:16 “She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.”
Spring is here! (Or for those of us living in ND/MN, it is just around the corner … I think). It is time to start planning our gardens. What will we plant this year? Where will we buy our seeds? Are we going to try growing something new? How about some herbs? When will we begin planting? There are many things to consider when planting a garden.
Before you brush this article aside because you “do not have a green thumb,” let me assure you, no one really has a green thumb. Having a garden and successfully growing produce is a learning experience. You have to work at it. When I moved to MN I wanted to have a garden. I really didn’t have much experience and knew very little about gardening, but I wanted to learn. I talked to friends who have been gardening for years and asked lots of questions! I even went so far as to plunk my garden right next to their plot so I could observe and learn as I went. I laugh when I think back to that first garden! I am positive many other people chuckled as well, as they compared my first attempt at gardening to my friends’ gorgeous garden. But I was okay with that. I wanted to learn. As the years go by, I gain more knowledge with experience, and my garden looks better than it did when I first began.
Does a woman need to plant a garden in order to be a virtuous woman? I wouldn’t go as far as to say that, but I do know that in the beginning, she at least considered it. Let’s consider some things together.
When I started gardening, I did not have a good spot in my own yard to plant a garden. Many communities have plots that they rent out to those interested in gardening. Check with your town to see if they provide such a service. This is a wonderful situation, in that the town normally does the tilling and composting for you, prior to planting season, and even provides the hoses and water source. This is not the most convenient situation for a garden, due to the fact that one must drive to it, but with a little extra time and planning, it works out quite nicely.
If you have a sunny space in your yard for your garden, this is ideal. Having a garden close by is so much more convenient for watering, weeding, and harvesting. Of course, preparing the soil by tilling and composting prior to planting is essential.
Planting a garden in your yard or in a community garden might not be an option for you. I have friends who grow just a few types of plants in containers or small raised beds. Some types of plants that grow well in containers include bush tomatoes, lettuce, peppers, and pole beans. There is a wealth of information on the internet to help you get started.
If you are planting a garden for the first time, start small. Just plant a few types of vegetables to “get your feet wet.” If you want to feel like a champ, plant zucchini. Nearly everyone can successfully grow this hardy squash. Leaf lettuce grows quickly and is one of the first things to be harvested. After one has consumed many salads from their crop of lettuce, they are looking to enjoy the next ripening vegetables. Green beans normally do well, and the high yield will help to boost your confidence. Green onions, also known as scallions or bunch onions, grow well and continue to yield right up to the first frost. If you like kale, it is a plant that continues to yield even well after the first frost.
I was given a salad recipe a few years back when I had more lettuce than I knew what to do with. If you find yourself with a very successful crop of lettuce from your garden, try this recipe. My mouth waters just thinking about it.
Wilted Lettuce Salad
10-12 cups garden lettuce
3-4 green onions, thinly sliced
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
¼ tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
½ lb. bacon
1 tsp sugar (optional)
Place lettuce and green onions in a large salad bowl. Sprinkle with apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper and toss to mix. Set aside.
Cut bacon slices into small pieces. In a frying pan, cook bacon until crisp. Add sugar (optional) to bacon and bacon grease in hot frypan and stir until dissolved. Pour contents of frypan over lettuce. Toss to mix well. Serve immediately.
This does not keep well as leftovers, so plan to consume the whole bowl. You won’t have trouble finishing it, as it is delicious!