Friday, May 03, 2013

How Does Your Garden Grow?


I've never been a fan of gardening. My mom was a gardener - all my people are gardeners. My earliest memories of gardening are picking the weeds out between the rows of okra and eggplant that my mom decided to plant one year, the whole time thinking, "I HATE okra. I HATE eggplant. Why do I have to pick out these stupid weeds. I don't even LIKE gardening."

Thanks Mom. Happy times, there.

I have another memory about gardening, but it involves chicken manure and a game of king of the hill. You'll thank me for not repeating it.

Anyway - as I've grown older, I've found that I miss the taste of fresh-out-of-the-garden tomatoes and peppers. I miss the smell of fresh vegetables sitting on the counter ready for preparation. So I planted some tomatoes in pots on my deck at the last house - it's not gardening! There aren't any weeds! All I have to do is walk out onto my deck and pick my glorious tomatoes!

Except it never worked all that well. The containers dried out too quickly and the tomatoes suffered and all it did for me is make me want more. MORE, I tell you.

So, last year, as we were examining our acre of land and marveling at the fact that the previous owners of this house cut down all the trees except the five scraggly, ugly cedars and left the patches of bare, scorched earth that used to be shaded by said trees, I thought maybe I'd plant a garden. I wasn't brave enough to till up the soil, yet, so I bought a raised bed kit at the local hardware store and filled it with gorgeous garden soil.

I planted four tomato plants, one cucumber, a yellow squash and one zucchini. ONE zucchini.

The zucchini plant that ate my garden.My zucchini is as big as...

People - this garden produced like crazy. I had so much zucchini, I couldn't keep track of it all - as a matter of fact, I would lose zucchini in the giant leaves of the plant so that they ended up growing bigger than my dog. The picture above shows the zucchini plant at about half its eventual size. It completely crowded out my squash and my cucumber. The tomatoes held their ground, but it was pretty clear that a) zucchini plants are insane and b) zucchini plants need more space.

When the garden was done, I removed the raised bed, mixed the garden soil into the bare scorched earth area, planted crepe myrtles, daylilies and oriental lilies and turned it into a beautiful little flowery oasis. I'll take a picture of it as soon as everything blooms.

Yesterday, I took my raised bed to a different bare, scorched earth section of the yard. I found another raised bed at the hardware store and added it so that the zucchini will have its own space, although I did give it a spaghetti squash and a watermelon friend to hang out with. Hopefully, they'll play nicely together.

I gave the tomatoes their own bed, with a border of marigolds and a lone bell pepper friend to grow with. My mom always planted marigolds with her tomatoes to keep the bugs away. Guess she taught me something after all.

Thanks Mom. Happy times, indeed.