Liz Cultivates: Spring 2022

So, what am I growing this year?

This year, I am going to focus on some veggies I enjoyed last year (green beans, lettuce, tomatoes, banana peppers) and some new ones (zucchini, cucumbers, pumpkins, different hot peppers).

The vegetable garden has been a huge boost to my mental health over the past two years. In 2020, it started as just two plastic planters with three total plants: two banana peppers and one jalapeño. In 2021, I grew green beans, tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, and lettuce. The broccoli didn’t turn out so great — I think the soil got too hot. This year, I’m going to branch out and create another plot for pumpkins, and I’m going to be better at the whole picking weeds thing. I’m excited about the possibility of zucchini and cucumbers. For one, zucchini is my favorite vegetable to cook on a weeknight. For the other, I might try my hand at making pickles!

I am also planning to do a better job with the flower bed this year. The perennials I put in two years ago are coming back up already, and I want to plant some lilies and maybe a couple bushes. I definitely want to continue along the side of the house (the first photo) and put mums alongside all of that. As you can see, I have some work to do as far as weeding and putting new good soil down.

These small plots have helped me focus during times of stress. The property is coming along, and my partner has been working hard on the shop and the inside of the house. The landscaping and the back patio are my priorities for this summer. I am excited to make this place a home over the next several years. Today, I bought a bleeding heart flower that I will be putting in a barrel planter and carefully nurturing. The bleeding heart has always been beloved to me. My mom had a bleeding heart when I was younger, one that she planted on the side of the house where she grew up; and when I bought the house I lived in with my ex, I came out one spring day to find that there was a bleeding heart struggling to come up in the soil next to the house.

I’m going to tend this bleeding heart. I already love it and I haven’t even planted it yet.

This house is something my partner has been working on for nearly a decade. It’s his passion project — a place he is building basically from the ground up all by himself, with his own two hands. We live in a condo on the other side of the city — so he spends his evenings over at the house building, tinkering, sculpting the life he wants.

And now, it is becoming the life I want, as well.

When I started working on the flowerbeds, my partner and I were just friends. I was dealing with some relationship issues. COVID was a twinkle in anyone’s eye. Now, as the perennials come back up and the vegetable garden produces more food for me and my partner to consume this year, I am reflecting on how our relationship has blossomed along with these plants. We are still best friends, and now we are entwining our lives in myriad ways. This relationship is much different than anything I am used to. It’s a partnership. Equal in all of the important ways. We share finances; we share goals; we are now sharing homeownership.

My garden is growing just like my relationship. More than that, my knowledge of plants and how to care for them will be something I can take forward in my life no matter what the future holds. I’m excited to learn, to cultivate myself and grow with my plants. Learning and growing and stretching tendrils toward the sun.

Published by Liz

I'm a writer living and working in Cincinnati, OH. I've been writing for ages and ages. Somehow now I'm actually getting someone to pay me to do it.

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