Saturday, June 25, 2011

The way I grow (plants)

Here's the thing. I garden barefoot. Usually barehanded too, unless I'm working with something more than soil.
I like the connection I have with nature when I do this. Feet and hands touch the Earth, it gives me a feeling of an almost bond with the plants. I know, silly, right. Here's something easier to understand. It creates some zen, some peace in my mind.

I started container gardening first, at my last house. It was in the city, and the house had gardens and beds, but they were taken over by mass amounts of poison ivy, weeds, yew bush stumps, and rocks, amongst which were spaced tulips and roses. I got poison ivy every single time I tried to do more than trim it back ( and sometimes even then), so I contented myself with just keeping it neat enough that we could function. There was thankfully, a lot of blacktop in the back yard, so the kids had somewhere to ride bikes and play with their pool. Needless to say though, we spent a lot of time at parks and playgrounds.

Anyhow, the very first things I planted there were a few pots I kept on the kitchen roof. It was flat, and there was a window that was right there, so it was easy to care for the plants, water them, etc. And, less pests could get at them than if they were on the ground. I started with peppers, carrots, and spinach. The spinach grew wonderfully, but I waited too long to harvest it, so it died. Oops.
Carrots did well, though the conatiner wasn't big enough, the biggest one was just under 4 inches. The few I ate were yummy, but I overcrowded them so there was so many they don't last long out of the ground/pot. I decided carrots were not meant for containers, unless it is a HUGE one. The peppers did well enough given the pot was too small. I got 2-3 two inch peppers, which I used in a dip.
The next year, I thought I'd try again. I did squash, pickling cucumber, and I inherited about 6 little better boy tomato plants from a friend's mom. She'd bought a whole 9 pack but didn't need more than a couple for the topsy turvy thing.
I put the tomatoes two to a pot, thought I had big enough ones, but now I know better. Cucumber was the only thing I got that year- two that were about the size of a really large grape. Tomatoes and squash both flowered (squash even gave me a couple of starting fruit, but they died shortly after forming. So, not a good year.

I was not discouraged. This year, we moved. To a house with a yard and garden the likes of which I've never had before. I didn't have time or a chance to plot out and execute a true veggie garden. So, I started seeds and the ones that grew large enough went right in my new front garden, where there was room. I have cauliflower, cucumbers, lettuce, peppers, broccoli, zucchini, beans, and yes I have tomatoes. Four large plants-(two of which have some little tomatoes on them), one medium whom is called Lazarus because he literally rose from the dead- well I thought the plant was dead and almost gave up on it. I also have a bunch of little cherry tomatoes that are doing so-so, and about 6-8 small to medium ones in a big container.

Things are going much better this year. I have a few tomatoes, I have a zucchini, I have plants I thought for sure would die, but so far only two of four cauliflower have not made it. I've also just transplanted some sweet peas, and two sunflowers, one of which I think might not make it.

I'm still learning, I make a ton of mistakes. I planted a tomato that needed more sun and space early in the season in back of the three who get bigger and produce later. It's not getting enough sun, so the 3-4 fruits on it, might be all that I get if they even ripen fully. Beans and peas like shade, and I tried to keep them in the sun. I did very little soil prep. Etc.

I will be ready next year. I'm planning on picking up a couple of boards, and cutting them into 4-5 foot lengths and building two raised beds. The front garden will be filled in with flowers where there are not already flowers.

I can tell you for sure though, I'll still be gardening barefoot, and when I can, barehanded. The feeling of dirt and grass between my toes brings me back to childhood. I'm still young for now, but sometimes I like feeling like a kid again.

1 comment:

  1. First of all i got really excited because I thought a stranger read my blog cause your comment was under TAC. second of all I didnt know you had a blog!