My great-grandma grew green beans. Grandma liked flowers and indoor potted plants. Mom was totally uninterested in growing anything. Dad grew tomatoes -late in life after his retirement. This was the extent of my training for gardening. So what possessed me to tear up the back yard ten years ago with the idea in mind of growing my own vegetables when heretofore, I had attempted to grow only flowers and house plants -with nominal success? Inasmuch as I was 41, I could hardly classify this act as "hubris of the young". But I had always loved farms and I consider myself to be a country girl at heart. Openness, quietness, no neighbors for miles, wrap-around porches, wind chimes, and the neatness of the rows of growing vegetables was my idea of good living. Then too, my father had always spoken his own desire to own a farm and as a man of vision and an intense entrepreneurial drive, he had consistently framed this desire in terms of economic security and practical needs. Having access to your own food is inherently a means of security and independence, and for a man who had experienced many hungry days in his childhood, his desire to own his own farm seems -in hindsight- quite natural, indeed, even logical. Perhaps a part of me wanted to see my father's dream come to fruition and I shared his entrepreneurial drive and work ethic. I had the added impetus of being a vegetarian, I suppose.
Regardless of the source of my inspiration, the fact remains, in 2006 I tore up the back yard and established a garden. The next summer, I enlarged it, adding another 50 square feet, give or take. Later I began composting. Mother was involved in the entire process. She had been transformed from a disinterested bystander to an active gardening apprentice, her senior citizenship notwithstanding. By 2013, we had built 5 raised beds on the front side of the house for the purpose of establishing an herb garden and had purchased a fenced in 1/4 acre plot around the corner from our home. Less than a year later we acquired another 1/4 acre nearby, and by summer of that same year, we had transformed my father's old dog run into our first greenhouse. The bees came in the Spring of 2015. They left by late summer. I've since acquired another brood who seem to be willing to stick around, but we've got winter coming up, so we'll see.
I consider myself to be a novice at best having many successes and failures by which to learn and build. I am still in awe when the seeds we plant actually bear fruit, not just because of my awareness of my own deficiency of knowledge and skill, but also because, well, the process that transforms seeds into flowers, and flowers into fruit, is just so damned amazing.