I had too much free time on my hands during the pandemic and I needed a hobby. I decided to try my hand at gardening. Then my girlfriend died and my life went on hiatus for a few months while I was processing and grieving. One day my sister came over and we were hanging out in my backyard when I noticed a weird weed growing from a crack in the ground. I pulled it up and it was a little carrot. I took that as a sign that I should take up gardening again.

My old roommate/good friend and his girlfriend/another good friend moved in to my place to take care of me. They brought along some of their plants from their garden, and we created a backyard garden together. We mostly stuck to potted plants, but when spring rolled around this year we decided to upgrade to raised planter boxes. We bought lumber from Home Depot and built three planter boxes. They weren’t the most glamorous things to look at, but they held the soil in place and that was good enough for us.

We planted tomatoes, potatoes, cucumbers, squash, multiple types of peas and beans, kale, lettuce, arugula, carrots, beets, strawberries, watermelon, cantaloupe, basil, cilantro, cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, onions, various herbs, peppers, and a bunch of other things that I’m too lazy to list. We did the bulk of planting in March and April and now we are finally starting to see the fruits (and veggies) of our labor. It’s pretty damn satisfying to get fresh produce from our backyard that we grew ourselves.

It’s an ongoing battle to keep our plants healthy and happy against the forces of nature. We live in San Francisco so the fog keeps the sunlight away more than we’d like. There are pests like aphids and caterpillars that can destroy months of work in a few days so we have to stay vigilant. But it makes everything we successfully harvest taste so much better.

Tending the garden is soothing. It’s good for the soul. It gives something to occupy my time, and it gives me something to look forward to. We are nowhere near experts, so there is a lot of trial and error. But we enjoy the learning process. Playing in the dirt makes me happy, and being happy is a nice distraction from my depression.

Critically Rated at 16/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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