Sunday, June 10, 2012

Garden Party 2012

What is she doing? The half-crazed woman stabs the ground over and over in the late dusk. Hurriedly plunging seeds into the ground before the sun carries its last lingering rays around the world. Must finish before dark; I will look like a cult priestess planting seeds by moonlight.

I've remained uncharacteristically silent about the garden this year, even though I have more time, plants, and successful garden-harvested meals than any other year. The disappointing end of previous gardens has humbled me. At least for April and May. All plants looks promising in early spring.
This year, I started in early April with the ground preparing and the seed buying. By mid-April, I picked up half price plant packs for spring crops and the garden was well underway. I seem to add new plants every 2 weeks as I find more space.

Space. Isn't that every gardener's dilemma? Produce is addictive. I have more space, more plants, more variety than ever, but in my head, all I can see is what I could plant with more space. Maybe this year the Lord will teach me garden contentment {a positive step from the lesson in futility of the last two years}.

Every year is a learning process. Even now, I'm writing not to brag but to learn with you and make notes for future years.

Garden Party 2012

  • I gave up on pots. The garden theory reason is that boiling summer temperatures fried all my plants not sheltered by large quantities of dirt. In real, heart-exposing life, I wanted to feel homey and permanent. The pots were so handy if we decided to pick up and move. I don't want to move. So with DH's ok, I planted roots in the ground. A visual promise that we're not leaving before fall harvest.

  • Starting from seed is tricky. It's not really. Lots of plants start beautifully from seed. It's tricky because our yard is inhabited by a well-organized militia of copulating squirrels. Our neighbor diligently puts out peanuts in a squirrel feeder, which I thought might satisfy them. Ha! I could write an entire post on how squirrels are a product of the Fall. In short: they annihilate bulbs and any large seeds {sunflower, pea/bean, pumpkin}. I planted 5 packets of seeds for 3 sprouts. The rest of the rows were pock mocked by paw prints. World's greatest cat patrols the patio, but no further. Oh well. To end on a positive note, they don't seem to notice small seeds like carrot, fennel or radish.

World's Greatest Cat
  • Lettuces rock. The spinach, arugula, endive, and chard have more than paid for themselves. We've had beautiful bowls of salad straight out of the garden. And I can plant them again in September for a second fall crop. How have I overlooked these before?
  • Abandon rows and mix crops. I spaced big slow growers {tomato, eggplant, peppers, okra etc...} across the garden like I would flowers, then filled in all the gaps with quick growing lettuces. The weeds are negligible, and I've already harvested the lettuces leaving plenty of space for now- towering tomatoes.
  • Use empty flower beds. The yard is full of flower beds that are full of decaying mulch. Instead of buying and spreading more mulch, I filled those beds with space consumers: zucchini, pumpkin, yellow-squash, cucumber. They are controlling weeds and producing vegetables. 
My still to be determined list:
  • This year is a first for potatoes, both sweet and gold. It's too early to harvest either, but the plants certainly seem healthy and happy.
  • Trying to grow beans on our fence. So far no luck because the squirrels have eaten the beans before they can sprout. Big one helped me plant the first try - one of my giddiest mother daughter moments as her little fingers counted out seeds for each hole.
Momma's big helpers 
Garden Fingers
  • Starting pumpkins in a container and moving to mounds. Again with the squirrels. The pumpkin seeds are in a shoe box within world's greatest cat's territory. If I can just get them to seedlings, we'll have a go at growing pumpkins.
  • Whether we will have even one blueberry left on our bushes between big one and the birds. And yes, they are covered by a net. It doesn't seem to deter big one in the slightest.
  • If I am capable of growing flowers from seeds. I planted round three of seed packets tonight, left over gifts from the children's church program. Some of the seeds are hallucinogenic; if I don't get flowers, I might get the spectacle of squirrels hurling themselves out of trees after gigantic floating acorns.
I know some of you are gardening as well. Here's hoping for a highly productive summer!


  1. Thanks for the shout out:) Every day I'm surprised all over again that we're actually producing veggies. I definitely want to try fall veggies like you-- especially lettuce and potatoes. The only setback we've experienced is that our tomatoes from seeds still haven't grown more than a few inches, whereas our tomato transplant is going crazy. Any idea how to get the tomatoes moving along?

    1. Fertilizer? My mom grew tomatoes from seed last year in a straw bale which provides compost all season. They still took a long time... 4 months or more to produce tomatoes. But they really produced. They're probably still growing roots.


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