By Ashley O’Connor
I’ve never been inside a community garden prior to interning at the Washington Gardener, let alone grow something myself from seed. But this experience taught me everything from the importance of composting to the terror of finding a baby bunny in the plot.
With the guidance of editor and publisher Kathy Jentz, I decided to grow beets: a vegetable tempered for the cool-season. We later added a third row of Swiss chard for good measure.
I was forced to replant after a September day of heavy rains that washed away my seeds. And a hailstorm in November froze portions of the Swiss Chard plants.
Because of the weather issues, the results weren’t extraordinary; many of the red variety didn’t grow beyond tiny roots. (The roots are still edible) But there were enough fully formed white beets and Swiss Chard greens to make a nutrient-packed salad, dressed with EVOO, salt, and pepper. Eating something that came from my own efforts—digging in the hot summer sun, watering in the cold fall winds—was truly special. In the future I would like to start a small garden of my own.
About the Author:
Ashley O’Connor, a senior multi-platform journalist at the University of Maryland. This autumn, she is an editorial intern at Washington Gardener.