The Grass Is Always Greener in Your Own Garden

By GreenUp! Community Blogger Monique

The other day my friend informed me that produce labeled “USDA Organic” may only be 70% organic. Rather than spending countless hours researching the validity of this statement or becoming disparaged by our government’s seeming dedication to “middle ground” solutions, I focused on the fact that I am happily & inexpertly growing produce in my rooftop container garden. And I’m in complete control here, so it’s 100% organic, friends, though it’s far from a perfect or large garden by any means. The point is I’m doing my best, keeping it simple, and reaping benefits from my efforts.

I wouldn’t call myself a lazy gardener; I’m more challenged than sloth-like. I have a deficit of resources: no traditional yard, scant time, and, essentially no help to cart materials up 4 flights of stairs. But I do have a surfeit of passion and dedication. I planted my garden right before 23-month-old Tater was born and it’s still here almost 2 years later. It consists of:

  • 3 large tomato containers with various plants including heirlooms, yellow pear and tomatillos
  • 1 die-hard japanese eggplant that produces exactly 2 small fruits a year
  • 1 large, lovely meyer lemon plant that has just abundantly fruited
  • Assorted herbs including my gung-ho mint, garlic chives, rosemary, & sage
  • 2 kale specimens
  • 1 large persimmon plant that has yet to do anything but flower
  • 1 large blackberry bush that has not died despite my best efforts, but did not produce fruit this year after giving me about 12 blackberries last year.
  • 1 aloe vera plant
  • 1 pepper plant
  • 1 “salad bowl” of mixed lettuces

Over the past 2 years my commitment has consisted of regular watering, replanting (once), mulching (once), and lovingly sprinkling plant food (maybe twice)…oh, and listening to lots of gardening and foodie pod casts. And my family has enjoyed the weekly output of herbs, lettuces, and random fruits to enhance our meals.

Despite my lackluster performance, Matteo and I enjoyed our first yellow heirloom tomato of the season. Though we, challenged gardeners as we are, did not even replant our tomatoes this year. We just let them keep growing from last year…but….behold!

It was so delicious that my son and I ate it like a peach. If you haven’t tasted sun-warmed fruit, there is nothing better, concrete jungle or not!

The point is this: start small, keep it simple, work with what you have and you’ll surprise yourself with the gratifying outcome. Just keep doing it!

Yes, you can plant your own food. And you’ll love it, too!

~ Monique


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