Friday, June 10, 2011

Backyard Garden in the City

As a child, I remember I used to play a lot with soil. I was in Grade 3 when my mom started growing her garden. I would tag along when they bought sacks of soil and flowering plants to decorate our small yard. From the common santan and wild roses, her collection later grew to include bromeliads, orchids and then a lot of shrubs and ornamentals. Sometimes, my sister would joke around and tell mom that her garden looked more like a forest.

When I was in high school, she gave me my very own pot to take care of. It was a cactus so it wasn't such a hassle taking care of. In college, I started to grow my own bonsai. But being away from home most of the time, I wasn't able to take care of it. Later, I grew fond of taking care of mom's plants when she was too busy. I didn't mind as I enjoyed digging and watering the plants.

Now that she's back in her hometown, mom maintains their huge garden. It takes about an hour to water the entire garden; Longer when they had to get water via hand pump (poso) and then carry the pail across the property. Her collection has grown vastly including varieties and some rare plants that she has amassed from relatives' gardens during visits. Oh, the family knows she just can't resist a pot or two so they fondly show her to their garden.

I miss tending mom's garden and was envious when I saw my uncle's vegetable garden in the city. They have kamias, ampalaya, tomatoes, okra, pechay to name a few. The boys had fun going around inspecting and even dared tasting the fresh produce.

I've always loved the idea of handpicking and cooking what I sow. I guess I miss the digging and watering most; Never mind that it took at least an hour. Gardening, for me, is like therapy to the soul. And it brings food on the table, too!

Last year, we only had fresh herbs planted in our small window garden; Basically just ginger, basil, mint and oregano. This is my nth time to plant tomatoes and instead of just a small pot, I placed a couple in a wider rectangular window box. Well, that's my best effort already. City-space is very limiting. Can't wait to hand-pick my own tomatoes!



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