Summer Gardening + Seed Giveaway

March 16, 2010(updated on October 3, 2018)

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For the last eight years, I’ve lived in a two-bedroom apartment on the 20th floor of an apartment in the middle of Center City Philadelphia. I realize that some might see this as an enviable position, and really, I do recognize the many perks to my home (the block and a half commute to work is a particular joy).

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Nonetheless, I itch for outdoor space. For a deck on which to drink coffee in the summer and to feel the gentle heft of early morning sun, while still in my pajamas. For the ability to use the outdoors as extra refrigerator space in the winter. And for a little patch of dirt in which to grow my own tomatoes, cucumbers and climbing pole beans.

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Last summer, I chatted my way into a plot in a community garden (truly, I was at a happy hour and, over specialty cocktails, managed to mention to the the very right person how I yearned for growing space). It was about a mile and a half from my apartment and yet, it was heaven to have a bit of dirt to call my own. You see, I come from people who habitually plant edible things and so existing in a state of no backyard vegetable garden has been an unfamiliar and awkward position for me, even after all those years without.

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Happily, I’ll be returning to my twin bed-sized plot again this year and I couldn’t more delighted (even the profusion of mosquitoes can’t keep me away). This year I’m going to keep it simple, just tomatoes, kale and a number of herbs (last year, those damned vine borers destroyed my promising zucchini and cucumber plants. I can’t deal with that kind of disappointment again, so I’m skipping those plants for ones I know can survive the space).

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I realize that lots of you have started to plan your gardens (and your canning) and may have already placed your seed orders for the year. For those of you who haven’t, I’ve got a giveaway for you. I’ve have one set of Survival Seeds* from Hometown Seeds to send off to a lucky gardener. These are non-hybrid seeds, which means that you can save the seeds from your harvest and plant them again next season. They come packaged in a sealed mylar bag and are designed to keep for years (so even if you can’t use them this year, you can pop them into a cool, dark place and plant them next spring).

For a chance to win these seeds, leave a comment sharing a memory of a garden. I’ll select a random winner on Friday, March 19, 2010 at 11:59 p.m.

*For the record, I want to say that I do not preserve food or garden out of fear or a sense of impending doom. I know that there are lots of people out there who are motivated to acquire these skills because they believe some sort of global cataclysmic is imminent. Not me. I believe in hope and the ability of love to to triumph over fear and hate. I grown food because I appreciate the sense of renewal that it offers. And I preserve because it brings me joy (sun-ripened tomatoes in January!).

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234 thoughts on "Summer Gardening + Seed Giveaway"

  • My mother has always loved gardening. About 8 years ago my father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s so she had to put it on hold. We had to move to a new house – one floor, to avoid the use of stairs. She had so much going on she didn’t have time to think about gardening. Lately, he’s been so quiet and they have a routine, she has been able to start her garden again. She has created the most beautiful organic garden in her backyard (Texas) and I love to go visit when I can. I would love for her to have these seeds to add to her garden. 🙂 Thanks for posting.

  • I’ve gotten more serious about gardening the last couple years, and last summer spent many afternoons with my 4 year old son picking cherry tomatoes and eating them in the garden – there’s nothing better! Thanks for the contest!

  • as a kid, my mom, sister and i used to plant a giant plot of land (about 40 feet by 40 feet) full of all kinds of delicious things! we would weed and water and at the end of the season can as much as we could. i looked forward to the winter months when we would pull down the canned green beans to eat with dinner (they were my favorite). it was a lot of work, but looking back, we had a lot of fun too.

  • When I was a kid, in our front yard there was a tiny strawberry patch, walled off by rough stones, that grew the teeniest strawberries ever. By the age of five I was dodging around the dogwood and over the rosebush to start looking for the flashes of red I would immediately stuff into my mouth. Once I got older and less afraid of the briars, I did the same with the wild raspberry canes that grew haphazardly next to the woodshed in the back. The pale pink raspberries were hard to spot, and you got scratched, but oh so worth it.

  • I love planting my garden every year – seeing what thrives, what doesn’t and what my dogs like to dig up… 🙂

  • My favorite garden memory is following my grandmother around her vegetable garden, helping to gather tomatoes, squash, and all kinds of other magical things. And fresh cut zinnias…still my favorite.
    This is the first year that I’ll have my own green patch to call my own and would love to start out with some of these seeds!

  • My grandfather had a huge garden plot that always had corn, tomatoes, and peppers. We live in the Pacific Northwest, so I now realize how ambitious he was to get those things to grow well here.

    Miss you, Grandpa.

  • Amusingly enough I hated gardening as a child. My father would move the garden around the yard each year, so all I remember of gardening was digging up sod every year and thwacking grass pieces with a trowel until all the dirt was off…lots of sore arms and backs.

  • I have so many memories of gardens that it’s hard to pick just one! Both of my grandmothers were florists, so I’ve been planting things for as long as I can remember. I got away from it for a little while when I lived in NYC, but when we bought our house in East Kensington, I was a little worried about how we would do it in our all-concrete backyard. But we’ve made it work…with containers! (You can see last year’s set up in one of my old blog’s posts, here: http://lauradraperdesigns.blogspot.com/2009/06/maybe-i-should-just-change-name-to.html) I am really excited about this year because I will be building beds, right on top of the concrete, so that we can do a little bit more farming, this year (which means more canning…yay!). I would say that my fondest gardening memory is probably last year’s success in not only planting a successful veggie garden in containers, but also transforming our backyard into a nice oasis where my husband and I spent alot of quality time, together and with friends.

  • We rotate tomatoes through the yard and last summer the majority were out front. I loved watching the girls graze on them on the way in for dinner. The big kid because she did so knowing that she had seeded, transplanted and tended to them since early spring and the little kid because she once packed away 37 cherry tomatoes before I finally called it. She was 15 months old at the time. 🙂

    Although I may pinch a couple for us, should I be the lucky recipient, these will be going to my girls’ school. They are really working on getting the kids connected and involved in the food supply and I am all about encouraging it. Planning on spending a day teaching my oldest daughter’s class about canning this summer. Thinking cold packed fruit since many of our big summer canning (tomatoes and jams) involve a little swearing and/or a burn or two.

    Best wishes with your garden!

  • My favorite garden memory would have to be visiting my great-grandpa as a kid. We’d go out into his garden, and he’d pull these amazing carrots right out of the ground. We’d wash them off in the hose (or not!) and just take a huge, delicious bite. No carrot has ever tasted so good.

  • I am hoping to make gardening memories this year, in addition to calluses on my hands. I just hauled two loads of soil to the top of my shed roof; we’re hoping to plant a living roof, complete with edibles and succulents!

    That sounds amazing! I hope you post pictures of it when it starts to thrive! -Marisa

  • My favorite memory is actually last year – my husband and I had just bought a house and he helped me from start to finish. The joy on his face when he picked his very first tomato was worth every second of our hard work.

  • I remember my mother’s garden as a child – there was an enormous raspberry bush in the back corner that kept threatening to take over the entire garden, but it made the best raspberries I’ve ever had. I would spend hours out there picking raspberries, eating half of them and pretending to be Laura Ingalls. We also had a hybrid apple tree – it was half golden delicious and half McIntosh, grafted together after a rabbit attack, and the apples were tiny, incredibly sweet little things. If we managed to save them from the birds, they made the best applesauce I’ve ever tasted.

    Sarah, it sounds like we were practically the same kid. I did lots of Laura Ingalls pretending as well. -Marisa

  • Planting a garden was one of the first things my boyfriend and I did when we moved in together several years ago and it is still one of our favorite things – from the planning, seeding, prepping, planting, weeding, harvesting, and of course, battling the local deer herd.

  • I honestly don’t have any gardening memories as of yet, only the hopes of making some. See, I’ve been discovering the beauty of fresh, whole foods over the last couple of years, and now I’ve decided I’d like to grow my own. My husband and I have just recently moved back much closer to my parents, and my dad (who has recently taken up gardening) and I are planning to plant a garden in his back yard. As it turns out, I’ve recently found out I’m pregnant, so I hope to start and continue a tradition of planting with our child as well. 🙂

    Oh! Congratulations, Diana! -Marisa

  • My parents are both serious green thumbs, but I sadly didn’t inherit that gardening gene. Summer always meant plenty of zucchini, strawberries, tomatoes, and chives (and one summer, one baby watermelon!) My favorite memory is probably just puttering around the backyard with my mom as she weeded. She’d pluck a few ripe tomatoes off the vine and hand them to me as an afternoon snack. The sweet earthy taste of those luscious tomatoes always transports me back to my childhood.

  • I hear ya on the no green space, although I doubt I have the view to quite make up for it – living in a second floor apartment in lovely, if lacking in skyline, Drexel Hill.

    The lack of yard bothers me more from a grilling, drinking tea and reading a book in fresh air standpoint. I come from a family where yard work meant raking leaves in the fall and picking up sticks before my Dad mowed the lawn in the summer. We had a few potted plants and my Mom was particularly fond of pansies. We did not grow anything that ended up in our bellies.

    But this year things will change! I am mailing off a check to my local community garden this very afternoon. I was recently gifted a gorgeous canning essentials kit and can’t wait to grow some cucumbers and turn them into pickles. I am full of hope and enthusiasm, but low on getting my act together. (No seeds to speak of, as of yet) Anyway, I’d love the ones you’re offering. I partially credit your blog with making me yearn for a garden. I want to grow my own food, participate in more Dark Days meals and can can can!

    Thanks for your generosity 🙂

  • I started a tomato garden last year, with four types of heirlooms. I watched carefully as the plants grew, tomatoes sprouted, and the fruit grew to near-ripe gloriousness. When I went to harvest what should have been several perfectly-ripe tomatoes, I discovered that a @*#$@& bird had stolen every single tomato. The jerk even left chunks of munched tomato flesh on my sidewalk to taunt me! I’m read for the birds this year, though!

  • I remember my dad always having a pretty big garden. Sometimes one of my grandfathers or my great-grandfather would share some of the space. I remember my dad would always prepare the garden in the spring by burning off everything that was left in the fall. I wish I could do that in town! I remember the year my grandfather planted what must have been a Red Robin or Tiny Tim cherry tomato plant for me because it only grew about a foot tall. I didn’t know anything about what determinate meant then, but I sure was surprised and sad to find it dead in September. I also remember my dad growing some unusual varieties like yellow pear tomatoes or giant jackolanterns. I hope my boys have some of the same fond memories, but more than that, I hope they grow up feeling like having a garden, even in town, in a completely normal thing to do.

  • When I was younger, my parents moved us from an urban house on 1/6 of an acre to sub-suburbs, with over 8 acres. One of the bonuses for the move was a large garden that my mother carefully tended with our help. I still remember eating still-warm tomatoes like apples, searching for beans amongst their leafy vines, and discovering overgrown zucchini. My favorite memory, however, was the time my mom hatched a clutch of garden snake eggs with her hoe while turning the soil in a raised bed to plant herbs. It startled her, to say the least. We took a couple of the unhatched eggs to school in little cages, and watched as they hatched on the windowsill of the classroom. I learned a lot about life those summers.

  • My memory has to do with my parent’s garden and having to prepare specific vegetables to submit to the county fair for 4-H. It got to be a bit more complicated as the years went on since each year had to have more unique vegetables than the year before. It got so ridiculous that one year a judge asked me what we do with swiss chard, how do we eat it? I couldn’t answer because we didn’t eat it – we only grew it for display.
    Looking back it was so wasteful and I am a bit embarrased by it. As I begin to plan for my first garden this year, I am starting small and thoughtful.

  • I remember helping my dad plant over 300 tulip bulbs, every summer for almost 5 years before any of them started growing. Seems like awfully expensive fertilizer.

  • My mom had a garden for a couple years when I was young. I remember going to pick beans before dinner almost every night.

  • When I was first Married we rented an apartment above a sweet older Itallian couple, Mr B asked me if I wanted a garden and of course I said Yes, well that year I had 50 tomatoe plants not to mention almost everything else he would give me to plant. we came in the fall so when we frist moved in Mr B would put all kinds of things to eat on my porch for our little family. I will never forget getting zuccihne, didn’t know what to do with them. so I asked his wife Mrs. B, she expalained what they where and how to cook them. and I have had a love affair with them ever scince. He had a green house something my husband and I will build this spring, I am so excited about it. he had a pot belly stove in it to keep it warm all winter. that Spring I got to garden and weed everyday he had barrels of water along the premitar of the garden, with Manure in it too. He called it tea for the plants, it was warm and full of good stuff for the plants.he would gently pour a coffee can full on each plant. That FALL I had a thirty five pound pumkin, we had a compation going I won for the biggest pumpkin. My Mother in law taught me how to can tomatoes and pickles that year too. So ever since then I had a love for gardening.

  • What a generous giveaway. I love to garden with my kids. To see them eat tomatoes straight from the vine is fantastic.

  • My grandma had a garden when I was growing up – mostly I remember the grapes, and the sweet homemade grape juice we would enjoy all year long. So now it’s an incredible gift that my home came with old grape vines. My grandma gave me her old steam juicer, so now I make grape juice of my own!

  • One year when I was a kid, my mom fenced off our tiny 5′ by 5′ back yard and planted all the vegetables she could stuff in there. Before this point for most dinners my mom would open a couple of cans. This was the 70s so the only tomatoes you could buy were pale, mealy and completely flavorless. The first fresh tomato I ever ate came from that tiny garden, and it was an epiphany.

  • We planted our first vegetable garden last summer, and it was so much fun! My favorite memory is my daughter eating all of the grape tomatoes right off the plant! This year we’re planting one for her, and one for the rest of the family!

  • My mother has always been an avid gardener. When I was a young teenager she used to have to bribe me with a new pair of jeans to get me to go to the nursery with her…man did I have her wrapped around my little finger! Now, as an adult, I’m so thankful her love for gardening has taken hold in my soul. Both my husband and I have a true passion for this hobby, and really enjoy getting our two young daughters (3 & 4) involved as well.
    Thanks for the chance to win….a very fun giveaway!

  • My mother always kept a wonderful vegetable garden when we were growing up. Sadly, somehow I was often “too busy” to help out with it. I remember that the sandy Jersey soil was easy to till and weeds were easy to pull. Mom was happy to spend time working in her garden. We all enjoyed the fruits of her labor and were repeatedly amazed at the delicious fresh dishes she prepared. Thankfully my husband’s parents were gardeners, too. When we had a family of our own we started our own vegetable patch and have been growing food for our table ever since.

  • If you want a little more space for shade-friendly plants, I have just acquired permission to garden on an open lot. I’ve claimed the sunniest part for obvious vegetables (tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and a summer squash) but I’m have no ideas what to do with the partial shade.

    But part of why I’m at this new location is because I had late blight in the small backyard garden I had last year, so that area is getting all new plants to me. I’ve never grown beans before. And I’m considering cucumbers. So sure, random seeds would be a great inspiration.

  • When I was a kid, our neighbor whose land was behind ours was Mr. Holland, a retired man who had worked for the Cornell Ag School. He was very good with plants and had a beautiful asparagus patch, grape vines, and raspberries. One year he made it a point to tell our family that he had more raspberries than he knew what to do with and invited us to come pick them. The raspberries were huge and beautiful and I’d pick them into Ball jars for my mom to freeze (eating at least half of them).

  • I garden because I appreciate real, *fresh* food – knowing what has been used to grow the plants, as well as where the seeds came from (I am very much into not supporting agribusiness as much as possible – buying local, farmer’s markets, even butchering my own chickens). My favorite gardening memories always involve picking real, fresh tomatoes – I adore the scent of tomato vines on a warm summer day! I appreciate all of your commenters, as well. I’ll have a few new blogs to visit!

  • When I was growing up, we always grew tomatoes and cucumbers and some herbs. My mom build a raised bed with a huge trellis for the cucumbers, something I want to try building this year.

    The last few years, my husband and I have started our own garden. First in containers, and now in some long narrow raised beds. Last year’s success was potatoes, so easy to grow! Now we just need to figure out how to keep a woodchuck from eating all the tender plants. But really, who can blame him!

  • While I’ve been gardening on a small scale for a couple of years, my fondest gardening memories involve family members.
    The only flowers I even consider growing are the ones my mom or my Gram are so fond of.
    But the memory that sticks out most for me is spending time in my grandmothers yard, pulling up mint that was invading the rest of her garden and yard. While by brother snuck parsley into his mouth, nearly finishing the plant off (he was only 5 or 6)

  • I grew up in a little town in WV about 15 minutes away from the Ohio river. I grew up on 32 acres and we always always always had a big garden. Corn, tomatoes, onion, sweet peppers, hot peppers, garlic, asparagus, cucumber, yellow squash, green beans, zucchini, lettuce, watermelon, potatoes, turnips, beets, occasionally cabbage and strawberries, and always the blueberry bushes, cherry trees and blackberry brambles. Just across the river in Meigs county Ohio there are farms all along the river where in mid to late august you can get a bounty of produce for pennies compared to the grocery store. My dad would always make up for whatever he didn’t grow with trips across the river. We would pick a bushel of tomatoes for $2 and ears and ears of corn. Coming home with his truck bed full of the smells of summer. We would can tomatoes and tomato juice, hot pepper mix, green beans, pickled beets, cucumbers, jam, The corn would get frozen…right along with the freezer jam and some whole peaches we picked up. I remember stringing beans until I didn’t think my little fingers could take much more. And when my grandpa got older and couldn’t make his own tomato juice, well we just had to can 100 quarts for him too…often we canned 250-300 quarts of tomato juice alone…not even counting the whole tomoatoes or anything else. We always ate well…the bounty of summer on the coldest day of the year. I live 6 hours away from there now in a second story condo. With a balcony. I do what I can on my balcony – lots of herbs, lettuce, some green onions and squash etc. I wish I could find a community garden, but the closest ones I can find are 30 minutes away. I still head home in mid to late August though…and the whole way back…you better believe my packed car smells just like summer.

  • My favorite garden memories revolve around my grandfather’s house in Arkansas. Some avid gardener had lived there before my grandfather and the variety of plants was wonderful. Cedar, sweet gum, sassafrass, black cherry, sour cherry, black walnut, quince, pine, catalpa and other trees. Flowers including four o’clocks, lilacs, grape hyacinths, daffodils, regular hyacinths, day lilys, and others. The hyacinths, which had only 2-3 blossoms to a stem (but I didn’t know they were supposed to be fuller),made the most fragrent bouquets. Summer nights we would go to sleep with the scent of the four o’clocks coming in the open windows. We tried, unsuccessfully, to catch rabbits with freshly pulled carrots, a box, some string and a stick. I could go on all day with the wonderful memories

  • I grew up with my parents gardening. Many of meals were made with vegetables from their garden. My husband and I have also enjoyed growing a few things in our garden. We love the quality and taste of the tomatoes that come right out of our garden.

  • As kids, we earned allowance by digging grubs out of the garden (10 cents each!). Spending time in the garden gave me a lifetime appreciation for the outdoors that I still pursue today.

  • Gardening with my father as a child…we watered a very large garden with a well and a hand pump, let’s just say I was a strong child!

  • Some of my favorite memories of childhood including running out to the large vegetable garden my mother had cultivated and picking tomatoes, zuchini, squash for a summer salad. As an adult, with a small deck large enough for a few containers, I’ve been trying to recreate some memories. So far, I’ve had luck with lettuce and tomatoes. Looking forward to being more creative this year. Thanks for the chance to win some seeds!

  • I started a garden last summer, then just as my plants were beginning to fruit, I moved 2,000 miles away. I gave the plants to friends who ate well that summer. This summer I want to eat food that I’ve grown. We just tilled our new “front yard farm” last weekend with some friends. We have a small problem, we want to grow EVERYTHING!

  • I guess it wasn’t a garden so much, but I remember picking and collecting figs off my grandparents’ tree! They also had peppermint growing along their fence, something that never ceased to amaze me as a child.

  • I remember eating warm cherry tomatoes off the vine, and digging carrots out of the garden and gobbling them down after a quick rinse with the hose. Thanks for the opportunity to win these lovely seeds.

  • my fondest garden memory happened just last year when i picked my very first sun gold cherry tomato off the vine. i waited weeks and weeks for them to turn and finally one morning they did. little did i know that in the weeks to come i would be absolutely flooded with millions of those tiny orange jewels but that first one popped into my mouth early in the morning was heaven!

  • As a kid, I spent spring and summer afternoons in our vegetable garden with my mom, aerating, digging, weeding, and picking. Three memories stand out: my mom insisting on planting rows of marigolds around the garden, to keep out rabbits (it never worked that well, but it looked so pretty); picking green beans, crouched over and loving the feel of the sun-warm vegetables in my hand; and the taste of tomatoes that we had just picked, as we ate them like apples over the kitchen sink.

  • When my BC and I were first married (8 years ago) we moved into a tiny 1-bed apartment in the middle of the city, no grass, no dirt in sight BUT a large porch / stairway that was shared with our three nearest neighbors. Our first Spring there, I proceeded to scrounge every pot and planter I could find and started my first true veggie container garden. At first the neighbors were not sure what to think (other than, those young kids are creating a fire hazard or now the porch looks like a jungle) but by mid-Summer I’d open my windows to see 80-year old Eli combing through the cherry tomatoes and our landlord Jack pinching off sugar snap peas. It became this amazing little source of community in an area where people live close for years and still don’t know each other’s names.

    In two weeks we’ll be moving into a house with a huge backyard and I’ve been positively salivating over the idea of planting my very first, “in ground” garden. Can’t Wait!

  • My mom always had a garden so I do too now that I have my own yard. I think the absolute best part about gardening is the volunteer plants that appear – either from compost I added in or who knows. Last year I had volunteer dill, tomatoes, and squash.

  • My favorite memories of growing up are of my brother and I helping my father with the family garden. Helping to pick peas, potatoes, carrots, corn, pumpkins, and the like were so exciting for us. It was the best way to spend a summer evening, helping until it was too dark to see. I’ve had a townhouse for years and have planted what I could in pots. My husband and I bought a house last fall and I am so excited to start a garden just as soon as I can this spring, and would love the seeds to help get started. Thanks for entering me in the drawing!

  • I’ve had my own little garden at my parents house since I was very young. Last year we planted purple carrots, beans, squash, eggplant, chiles, zucchini, bell peppers, potatoes, burdock, chard, fennel, sato-imo, leeks, scallions, tomatoes, artichokes and I’m probably forgetting a few things. I love going out into the garden during the summer and taking pictures of my bountiful (and sometimes not so bountiful) harvest daily.

    I also love climbing up my valencia orange tree and swinging from branch to branch picking the ripest oranges

  • Thanks for the inspiration to start planting! We did our first vegetable garden last year and it was so easy and fun. Our yellow cherry tomato plant went into overdrive when it was too late for them to ripen. Fortunately, we found a recipe for green tomato enchilada sauce and made 12 batches for the freezer. Still making our way through those…

  • One of my favorite memories…
    We plant a large garden every year and include lots of different vegetables and flowers. In August, at the peak of the season, we have a birthday party and there are usually 10-15 school age children. I love to watch them ramble through the garden, picking different tomatoes and beans, finding caterpillars and butterflies to watch, making a small bouquet for their mothers. Their amazement cannot be contained and it’s so rewarding to witness the fun!

  • My gardening memory is the HORROR of my mother finding me hunkered down between rows of peas eating as much as I could, right around the end of June, every year I could usually get out there around dusk and get quite a few mouthfuls in until she found me. I never understood how she found me until I got older – our dog would hang out with me and her high white and yellow tail was some flag in the wind for my mom to see. 😀

    I should note: our garden was our food, we grew and canned/froze over an acre of garden every year. We were poor, but we ate very well!

  • Last year was my first attempt at my ‘own’ garden. I grew up in PEI, Canada and I helped my grandfather plant a (mostly potato) garden every spring. I realized, early on, that planting a garden in mid-coast Maine was extremely different! First the groundhog dug everything up and what was left, the turkeys ate! Yikes! This summer, I’ll be much better prepared for gardening with animals around – I’m locking the garden up!

  • I hope your gardening year is a success!

    The Seed vaults are so interesting. I’m going to be making my own with my seeds orders this year. I figure I’ll get more for my money because my seeds will last longer and I won’t have to buy as many seeds each year.

  • my first gardening memory is from when I was about 5 years old. We lived in Bakersfield, CA and my mom would let me and my sisters ‘help’ in her garden. It was mostly us pulling weeds, but hey it was fun back then. 🙂

    Thanks for the chance at the giveaway!

  • Last summer was my first adult attempt at my own garden. I don’t have garden space as U live in a bitty downtown apartment much like yours, and haven’t found someone to chat up at a bar in order to jump to the top of the garden plot waiting list. So last summer I bought, borrowed, acquired and created as many bit pots as possible and covered my front steps with a pot garden. At one point in the summer there were so many that we had to go up the neighbour’s steps and across the balcony in order to get into our apartment! We, of course, repaid them in delicious heirloom tomatoes and home-cooked food. Can’t wait for this summer!

  • I always thought it was the grossest thing ever that my grandpa would save the fish heads from all of his fishing trips to place in the bottom of each planting hole. Little did I know that it was one of the main reasons he had such great tomatoes!

  • My adoptive grandparents grow a huge, backyard-sized garden. I’ve loved getting fresh tomatoes from them and I’m starting my own garden this year!

  • My husband and I did a ton of hard work building a large fenced garden with 6 raised beds last Spring. Despite really bad weather much of the time, we worked many weekends clearing the area, measuring everything out, sinking the fence posts, building the fence and the beds, covering all the areas outside of the beds with materials to keep weeds out and then lots of mulch, filling the beds with all of the necessary soil and compost, and then finally we put in the seeds/seedlings and were able to watch things grow and eat.
    We had wonderful veggies and learned a lot in the process, and I can’t wait to plant again this year. Of course I am happy that the garden is already built but I will miss all the time we spent together in the building process. It was great exercise too!

  • I remember picking lemons with my grandmother and then watching her make the best lemon bars with what we picked. I loved the smell of the lemons and flour!

  • A few years ago, when my four year old was a baby, I would garden with him in a backpack. I looked around to find him with a big tomato in his chubby hand that he had manages to reach and pick!

  • My favorite memory is from about 4 years ago – my two young daughters (3 and 4) eating practically our entire crop of peas straight from the garden. They would stand at the edge, pick, shuck and eat right there – the ground was littered with empty pods!

  • I really, really miss my tomatoes. Although they were only in pots, I had quite a system–top secret fertilizer mix, daily watering, homemade cages, daily visiting and love–and bored everyone with describing my love for them. I’ll be really happy when I have space for them again.

  • One of my favorite garden memories is with our first garden. We live in the city. My husband “designed” our watering system with hoses and sprinklers and other creative things and I remember sitting there with the water on simply listening to the sound of the water….it was musical and beautiful. The city sounds were gone and only the garden sounds remained….truly a gift.

  • My favorite garden memory was sneaking into my best friend’s parents’ garden when we were little. We would spend an hour eating green beans, lima beans, and tomatoes right there in the garden. When her mom caught us, we would always get it trouble — it was worth it!

  • I think I am into my fifth season of vegetable gardening, wherever I go I can’t help but dig in. Four years ago my roommates and I spent a good hour or so constructing a tent made of quilts and bamboo poles around our infant tomato plants that we optimistically put out a little early. I have a lot of garden memories but that may be one of the silliest.

  • My only gardening memory is from when i was in elementary school and my parents started a little plot in our backyard. I was allowed to plant a patch of anything i wanted. I chose strawberries and they grew wonderfully. So wonderful, in fact, that by the third summer, they had taken up nearly half the garden. My parents don’t live in that house anymore, but i still wonder if the strawberry vines are making their presence felt in the back yard.

  • I would to win these 🙂 I know it’s weird, but one of my favorite garden memories is eating potatoes right from the ground! They’re like a special secret. I would go out there every weekend with my mom and mound the dirt up and then when I finally got to dig into the hills, I couldn’t resist. I just wiped it off on my shorts and took a bite like it was an apple. I still sneak a little raw potato every once-in-a-while.

  • I, too, have been itching to start a garden of my own. The good news is that since last summer, I’ve moved into an apartment with a yard just itching for one! Winning these seeds would be a joy.

    As for my garden memory, I have many. My favorite comes from gardening with my Grandma, who is an Iowa farm woman. In addition to her crops, she keeps a small garden for a variety of vegetables. Although the food she grows is delicious, my favorite part of gardening with her was (still is) her hat. She owns a bright orange straw hat with a big black bow that wraps around her chin to keep it in place on her head. She’d sometimes let me wear it when I helped her garden as a child. She still wears it when she gardens and I still love it!

  • These days, we live on an urban lot, so we don’t have much space for gardening. But, I LOVE being able to open the back door and hop over to the garden to grab a bite of sunshine during the late summer months. We have two small raised beds that we fill with any number of “rarities” — heirloom varieties of tomatoes, peppers, and tomatillos. Most of the food we eat over the course of the summer, but some (as in the case of the tomatillos, which produce like crazy) we put up.

    The first year we gardened in our yard, we started a compost pile in a black bin right next to our garage. Seems that whenever we would take out our kitchen scraps to throw them into the bin, we were always finding odd objects inside the bin. One day, it was a number of old G.I. Joe dolls. Another day, it was a few large sticks. Finally, one afternoon we noticed our neighbor opening our bin and tossing a couple of soda cans in. I stopped her and explained that we were trying to start a compost pile. She laughed. Apparently, she saw us dragging our “trash” outside, so she assumed that it was a garbage can!

  • Amen to the non-gloom ‘n doom! These do look like amazing seeds, and since I haven’t planned anything except that I joined a CSA for the first time, maybe some seeds would come in handy! I come from Gardener stock, too, but my citified self doesn’t have quite the capabilities of my countrified self. Doesn’t stop me from trying every year, tho!

  • My best garden memories from childhood involve a dear neighbor who had a huge garden. I got to help her a lot, and learned almost all I know about gardening from her. The more I learn from other sources, the more I discover that everything she taught me was spot on!

    Would certainly love to win some seeds. Our garden will never rival the former neighbor’s but we do what we can.

  • I have fond memories of the dozens of fruit trees we had at my childhood house. Every summer my grandma would come out to visit, and we’d make jams from the plums, apricots and peaches. I miss it so much!

  • My favorite garden memories are from my grandparent’s garden. They had a plot that was probably 75 feet long by about 50 feet wide, full to the brim of tomatoes, snap peas, zucchini…whatever you could imagine, my grandmother could grow it. Now that I’m 28, I finally am getting the gardening bug. My husband keeps a garden every year, and to jumpstart everything I’ve got a window garden started in our kitchen. Lime basil, cilantro, thyme, and more!

  • My favorite garden memory is eating raspberries straight off the bush at my grandparent’s house. It was warm, not yet too hot, and the red dirt was so soft between my toes.

  • Oh, dear me! Would LOVE to win these! I have gardened here on our small farmette for 8 years now, but this Jan. I had knee replacement surgery and am finally getting around enough to where I can get in the yard a bit. However, have NOT placed any seed orders yet! Last year should have been my year for tomatoes…all kinds of heirloom plants growing…but here in the midwest we had tomato blight and barely had enough for our suppers, let alone enough to can and freeze for winter:(

  • Ooh those pictures have me itching to go dig in the dirt and watch worms wiggling around. i’ve been plotting just how many raised garden beds i can put in the backyard this year. my favorite gardening memories are of spending time on my grandparent’s farm. I suppose it was more the harvest that i think of so fondly. when we’d all sit around with bowls on our laps, snapping beans. yay for summer!

  • I used to have a huge garden but with a back injury I had to give it up. I’m going to have a couple of raised beds built this yr so I can work at waist height and not have to bend. Won’t be very big but maybe some tomatoes, hot peppers and herbs and a few other things will be fun.

  • My mother always planted a garden. Every day I would go to the garden and pick something in the early morning sun. Plums and peaches pulled from branches high over head, radishes and carrots pulled from the dark rich earth, beans and tomatoes snapped from their green stems. I still think of those times fondly, and try to replicate those emotions on my rooftop garden knowing I’ll never quite recapture the aesthetics.

  • My best garden memories take place in the herb garden I started in middle school and kept through high school. It was a beautiful calm flourishing place and I loved that it was mine and that all my hard work paid off beautifully.

  • My best garden memory is digging potatoes with my Grandpa and the going on a ride on the “sled” (basically, a flat piece of wood on runners)behind his HUGE Clydesdale horse. It was wonderful, but lots of work.

  • I have a lot of gardening memories, particularly with my mother. However, the one that comes to mind now is a story from last summer.

    My mom went through some really hard times fairly recently, but in the last year her life has been pulling back together in a way that is much better than before. Last spring she ended up being one of only 4 non-returning gardeners (drawn lottery-style) who got a plot in a nearby P-Patch.

    She and her brother worked hard all spring and summer, drawing from their childhood experience & their years of leisure gardening experience, and they had such a bounty come late summer / early fall.

    I went to visit her in August I think it was, and we ended up going over to the patch where we picked what was ripe, cleared the plot of weeds and talked for almost two hours about the joys of life and how that season in the P-Patch was an incredible turning point in both her and my uncle’s life. We remarked that being able to grow so much in this new plot was an amazing metaphor for each of their lives.

    As I am now old enough to appreciate our conversations and her gardens much more than when I was a lazy teenager (I’m starting to plant my own gardens now!), it was a really significant and satisfying afternoon that drew my mother and I even closer together.

    These seeds look great — thank you so much for the chance to possibly win & plant them!

  • although today i am an inveterate vegetable gardener, my earliest and sweetest garden memory is of my mom planting hens and chicks at the old house my grandparents owned. i must have been maybe 5 years old, and i thought they’d really turn into chickens! ok, i wasn’t a very bright child…

  • I come from farming people, so we always had a garden at home. I moved to the city for my professional life. Then to get ready for retirement I moved back to my hometown and bought a house on an acre. Last spring I plowed up the front yard, 4000 square feetof high maintenance lawn, to plant my first garden. Old memories from my childhood about when to plant potatoes, how much to water tomatoes, how to hill up around the corn and beans, when to pick melons all came back to me over the course of my first season. New memories started then, planted with my first crop, and will continue this spring when I put new seeds in the ground.

  • My best memories of my garden are from when I was a wee thing, in the probably 400+ square foot garden we used to have in our backyard. My best garden memory comes from when I was five years old, and my mother wanted a butternut squash for dinner. She sent me into the back yard with a steak knife, and I went and got one for her. Cut my finger a bit, but I was so proud of the fact that I’d done something like that – with a knife! oh, wow, the pride – that it didn’t even hurt. And now I’m 20 years old and trying to grow my first proper garden. 🙂

    Thanks for the prompt, bringing that back to the surface.

  • One of my strongest memories of my grandmother is of sitting in her garden while she watered the plants — beans, peas, roses, tomatoes. I can recall the smell of the water hitting the hot, California dirt, and her cigarette, which she attempted to hide from me. She watered in the late afternoon, so in my memory the sunlight is coming in slantwise.

    I use this memory to fuel my own garden design and habits, so that my children (and grandchildren?) can have similar memories.

  • My Dad always has a garden. I remember helping him plant corn when I was little. I never appreciated the whole process and what he taught me so much as I do now that I have a garden of my own.

  • I think one of my favorite memories has to be when I was a child and we went to a raspberry u-pick berry patch. In the middle of picking an eclipse happened! The best part was that every one was so distracted by the eclipse I was able to sneak more raspberries into my mouth instead of putting them in the bucket.

  • my favorite garden memory – my best friend I weeding my aunt’s entire garden (and we’re talking a few king sized beds!) for her when she was ill, and for that, she promised we’d be going to heaven! phew. that’s a relief. we’re in!
    and a runner up – watching my dad till, carefully plant, and later care for his big backyard garden when I was a small small child, knowing that it meant delish fresh goodies later!
    xoxo, L.

  • I was just thinking of planning my garden when I made my way to your site! I’m excited for you to have a garden. I learned to garden with my mom, but these past couple years have brought me great joy as I’ve coaxed beautiful fruits and vegetables out of my formerly boring lot. One of my favorite things to do is run outside to cut some herbs or harvest a tomato in the middle of meal preparation. This year will be a challenging year because we are moving in September; I’m trying to figure out what to plant so that I can get the most out of my garden (and still have time to can a little).

  • We started a small square foot garden in our (cement) backyard last year after 3 years of failed container gardening. Aside from the innumerable compost volunteers that eventually took over and the sad, sickly tomatoes, it went better than we expected. This year I have even lower expectations since I’m expecting a baby and the 4 year old and husband will be in charge. But I’d still like to start with real seeds.

  • Love your asterisks comment! I feel the same way.

    My best garden memory was laying around in a hammock at a community garden in a Buddhist retreat center I was working at. Feral cats ran around and the bees made music for me. The sights and sounds of the garden, not to mention the super fresh and yummy produce, were one of my favorite parts of working there.

  • I have only been gardening for two years now, but it was something my husband and I started last year when we were engaged and had just purchased our first home together.

  • I wish I had a land lord that would let us till some of the back yard, but until then I will be happy for the patio and containers.

  • My grandfather, who recently passed away, was a Gentleman Farmer. Before he became too elderly to till the 2 acres (!!) of his garden, he would go out every evening after coming home from work and send his time taking care of the things that needed tending to that evening. My favorite things, though, were his wild blackberry jams and wild plum preserves. I’m hoping to keep alive some of his traditions and my memories now that I have some space of my own. It’s not a garden story, but the first time I made jam, I called him up (before he had his stroke) and asked him for the secret of his jams, convinced that he had some arcane list someplace. His response? “Sure honey! Just go get a package of surejell, and it’s right there on the inside package!” All these years, I was convinced it was his own trial and error 🙂 then come to realize well, it actually was picking the best fruits and veg at the right time, which is also a special kind of know-how.