April 27th, 2009

Good Things to Come

These little lantern-like flowers are harbingers of blueberries!

It all started when I won two blueberry bushes in a raffle at the farmers market last year.

“Where shall we plant them?” I asked Bill.

The best place, we assessed, was in a small sunny patch of the front yard alongside a smattering of perennial herbs and flowers already growing.

But, once in place, two bushes didn’t seem to be enough.

“We need two more,” Bill said.

We bought two more.

Four blueberry bushes full of little ripening globes in the front yard opened up a world of previously unconsidered possibilities. Why shouldn’t other summer favorites be included?

Seeing no wrong answer, we expanded our tiny urban garden patch for Tomatoes, planting two Bradleys, one Cherokee Purple and one Mortgage Lifter. Then, I found a packet of heirloom cherry tomato seeds left over from a lawn and garden fair promotion and got several started in containers for the garden. Volunteer vines from last Halloween’s pumpkin assortment sprouted up and joined in.

We called it the Upper Forty—as in 40 inches.

“Gonna check on the crops in the Upper 40,” I’d say.

It was such great joy to walk out the front door and pick blueberries for the morning’s yogurt and cereal. Or peek under pumpkin blossoms in search of developing fruit. Or patiently monitor the redness of tomatoes.

“Not now,” Bill would caution. “Maybe tomorrow.”

We live on a busy boulevard in midtown Nashville, but with ample sidewalks and a bike lane, it’s an active neighborhood of walkers, runners, and cyclists. Our little patch of fruits and veggies seemed to be giving a great deal of joy—if not, providing at least a modest curiosity— to many of them.

“Is that a real pumpkin?”

“I didn’t know you could grow blueberries here.”

“Nice lookin’ tomatoes.”

“Can I grow that in a pot?”

So, this year we decided to grow the Upper Forty—increase our urban farmette. We widened our patch. So far, I have planted assorted lettuces, chard, pak-choi, kale.

Baby Romaine

Red Russian Kale

Then, we made our radical move. A testament to our hippie heritage, we seized the little plot of earth–the easement–across the sidewalk from our house. If you happen to stroll our way, you may see the row of onions and the many mounds emerging with potato plants.

Potato plant from sprouted eyes

All of this is to say that growing these bits of food is good for many reasons. In no way do my endeavors compare with my farmer and master gardener friends; I can’t wait for the bounty that they’ll have to offer.

But it feels right to have our Upper Forty, not only for the delicious fruits and vegetables we’ll bring to the table, but for the beauty and pleasure they provide to our little piece of the hood. If I can grow things, so can you!

With spring and summer, there are many good things to come. Look forward to recipes for all sorts of salads and dressings, blueberry buckles and tea breads, swiss chard gratinee, squash strata, tomato-basil pie….

Use this as a place to share:
Do any of you have a garden or farmette? Vertical containers? Pots of herbs?
Growing pains? Growing tips?

Blooming Chives

Ah, I mustn’t forget—-the plum tree in my backyard. It’s dripping with fruit. If I can beat out the squirrels, we’ll have plum sauce, plum tart, plum vinegar, and more…Stay tuned!

Beginnings of Plums

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10 Responses to “Good Things to Come”
  1. Judy DePalma Says:


    These photos are so delightful, and your descriptions……I’m drooling! Thanks for inspiring all of us to utilize whatever size piece of the earth that we inhabit to grow our own food.

  2. Barbara Says:

    Hi Nancy,
    Wow. your fruits and veggie garden is off to such a great start. The pics are beautiful. Husband Ted planted our garden over the weekend.All I have done so far is planting pansy and impatiens(sp) seeds in a couple of pots 2 wks. ago, and nothing is happening. I am not a patient person so if I do not see green soon, I am going to buy plants. I look forward to seeing how your garden progresses.

  3. rhonda Says:

    Beautiful!!!!!! and yummy! I love that you took over the “outer easement”(i guess that would be the back forty). A little later this summer I may have to grab a bottle of my favorite dressing and come for a stroll down Belmont! ;-)For years I have had a small patch for lettuces, herbs and tomatoes. Unfortunately, the heat always keeps most of my lettuces from growing much past april. Looks like you took this into account and chose more hardy lettuces. If you find a way to grow arugala through the summer, let me know!

  4. Suzanne Says:

    Hi Nancy,

    You’ve inspired me….
    I will plant a bunch herbs and vegetables this weekend! I can’t wait!
    Reading about your wonderful garden was just the push I needed.

  5. Madeleine Says:

    Once I have a plot of land to call my own, I will be calling upon you frequently for advice on plantings! In the meantime, I am inspired to grab a pot a plant some seeds. Good things are surely coming!

  6. Wendy Says:

    I take pride in the potato plants–they grew from the sprouting eyes on my very OLD potatoes forgotten in a basket on top of the fridge–can’t wait for some interesting potato salad this summer—

  7. Tony Says:

    How many blueberries will a blueberry bush bloom?

  8. goodfoodmatters Says:

    Too many to count!
    My largest bush has hundreds!

  9. connie Says:

    Hi–I guess you could say I started my little garden a couple weekends ago when good friends who happen to be family showed up on my door step with two blueberry plants already laden with fruit. After a couple of tries, and a cut phone line, we found the perfect place for my plants. They are right off my deck; perfect for that morning handful for breakfast–or just snacking when passing by. I received these plants for one of those landmark birthdays. This one many say is the one where real life begins–will I can begin this one with a handful of berries. Thanks again Bill and Nancy for the plants and for bringing them in person. I’m at the Southwest Missouri location of the John Deer Gator ride no less.

  10. Good Food Matters » Blog Archive » And The Winner Is… Says:

    [...] it gorgeous? This is my second raffle win in as many years (in the spring of ‘08 I won 2 blueberry bushes in a drawing at our farmers market) so, I guess you could say that I’m on a [...]

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