Thursday, July 29, 2010

Lessons learned from a garden beginner

1. Don't plant pumpkins in your garden. They are mean and bossy and take over all their neighbors areas. Plant them far, far away, in a corner of your yard not meant for nice veggies. They will probably still grow insanely long and try a hostile takeover, but at least you have a chance.

2. Plant zucchini far away from everything else. Zucchini is also prone to taking up lots of unneeded space. Its plant:actual fruit ratio is sadly off, so put it on the outside, so you aren't peeling it off your poor cilantro plants everyday. Its like Rylan, it sees the babies and wants to lay and squeeze and love them till they pop.

3. Buy wheat straw early. We intended to put wheat straw down to keep away the grass growth, but a major tornado in our area destroyed wheat straw and we were unable to find it anywhere. So, next year, we'll buy it early and store it in some sort of tornado-proof zone.

4. If you are unable to purchase wheat straw, and choose to do the newspaper covered in mulch route, don't skimp on the newspaper/mulch. You have no idea how pesky that grass can get. And I don't mind saying that I think that the grass and weeds got the note back in June that I was sick, and it quadrupled its growing powers just to spite me. Rylan and I go out each morning and I weed until my 7 month pregnant self can no longer be in that squatty position or his wagon is completely full of weeds and we STILL haven't made much progress.

5. Put the tomatoes in the middle of a large rectangular garden. They grow straight up, don't reach out and grow onto their neighbors and they like a lot of water, and sometimes the sprinkler isn't sufficient for the tomatoes on the corner. They are a happy, neighbor loving plant, that actually produce when you give them care, so they should be in the center. Green peppers are equally happy and neighbor loving and grow to themselves, they are another good option for the center of the garden. They do get top heavy (like me) and slouch, so its good to stake them up.

6. Always have a cute toddler to help you. He may get a bit in the way, but he makes it so much more fun. He loves to pick "ah-pulls" (tomatoes), loves to help throw away the weeds, and loves to pick the marigolds. He also talks in his Chinese/German language to keep you company.
And he works for Mr. Freeze Flavor Ice, pretty cheap labor.

Having a garden this year was part of my New Years resolution list 2010. I am very proud that we've done it. It has given me such a goal of doing this every year and making it better and better each year.

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