Saturday, May 25, 2013

In Search of Green....Gardening Part 1, Background

It's that time again! Time to plant the garden! With high hopes we would go to our local nursery, walk around for an hour picking out just the right tomato, pepper, squash, plants as well as whatever seeds and perennials caught our fancy. We would come home and spend the long Memorial Day weekend frantically tilling and digfing and planting and watering. We would step back with a sigh of satisfaction and look at our lovely garden and dream of the beautiful, fresh veggies we would harvest and enjoy. Our vegetable garden consists of a raised bed in the back corner of the house that was created when the previous owners added on a family room at the back of their rectangular ranch house. My husband created it using three rows of those man-made, interlocking landscape stones. In it we always plant 4 tomato plants on the left which give us enough tomatoes to eat and share and the larger, right side is filled with strawberry plants, lily-of-the-valley, asparagus, mint and basil...if the basil is a perennial and came back. It's a hodgepodge that is slowly being taken over by grass and some viney thing with white trumpet flowers. I've never done much with this plot as far as weeding goes as I was always busy trying to keep up with my perennial beds and I didn't really do much in the gardens in June and July as it was too darn hot! Two years ago our son had the idea of building two raised beds out in the middle of the yard so he and my husband built those with 1x8x10 pieces of wood and we filled that with topsoil. Our son learned a valuable lesson here: He was very anxious to get the beds finished so he insisted that the topsoil be delivered even though it was very rainy that week. For those of you who don't know, it is a bad idea to work in the garden when the soil is wet as it creates major clumps that can be as hard as rocks to break up. So the soil has been crusty and clumpy for the past two years. And, did I mention, full of weed seeds! We have been composting for many years now and have two compost bins that are full, especially since we have been eating mostly vegan since last September. We never use pesticides or non-organic fertilizers or weed preventers and have been pretty unsuccessful in our crop yields. We had some beautiful acorn squash last year but I kind of lost my enthusiasm when I cooked one and tried to feed my daughter a cooked worm in hers....I don't think I cooked another squash that summer. Our strawberry crop looked amazing until something took all of the green strawberries...I'm guessing a chipmunk or small, red squirrel. It was very discouraging but, as the Spring comes each year, our hope sprouts anew and we step into the fray once more.

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