For the last three or four years, Tate and I have planted a garden around Mother's Day which we would take care of over the summer and enjoy the tasty vegetables as the reward for our work. Interestingly, gardening can both be a therapeutic experience as well as a proxy for your state of mind. More on that later.
Over the years I have tried to focus on planting things I particularly enjoy or things that cost a lot in the store. The best example of that for me has been Heirloom tomato's. I started with a couple and I think that last year I was up to seven varietals. Last year the startup, but more importantly the young children took a toll and I was unable to keep up with the garden. In years past, the morning watering and weekend trimming sessions were a part of my summer ritual which I both love and missed last year. For some reason the combination of things was bad for my garden. By mid summer I had the most amazing overgrown garden you can imagine. Things were rotting on the vine beneath the overgrowth.
This year as a family we resolved to pitch in together and, frankly the little ones just continue to get easier(if we could just get them to stop picking on each other). Jessica took a big role this year and really helped to plan out the whole garden in a thoughtful and methodical way. The three of us spent a good chunk of yesterday doing the initial planting which was a real blast. I decided to scale back my "quest for the perfect tomato" this year and am giving it a go with three varietals (Purple Cherokee, Mortgage Lifter, and Brandywine). The coastal coolness just doesn't get the right amount of flavor development that you get in hotter climates. I am hoping that I can get some good combination of soil treatment and aggressive sucker trimming to make an inprovement over the last couple of years. But even if mine aren't as good as other areas, I was planting in shorts while parts of the country were in a snowstorm. Everything is relative. At any rate, pictures here and on my Flickr page.