Friday, April 27, 2012

My Life: The Garden Experiments

My first attempt at a garden ended poorly. My tomatoes got blossom end rot, my squash became a home for bugs, and between the neighbor kids, my own child, and myself, all the peppers got smashed or dug up. It was a sad ending to an adventure that started in my living room with a shelf full of seedlings that I carried in and out of the house for almost two months.

My husband was grateful when I decided not to grow my seedlings in the living room the next year. We have limited space and despite my best efforts, I did end up spilling a few pots of dirt on the carpet during the course of the experience. I wanted my next garden to yield a harvest, so I experiment with composting, which more or less helped, but what really changed things was a book.

And here it is, highly recommended and officially tried out by me:
The Vegetable Gardener's Bible
We are living with my parents while my husband finishes school and they watched my disappointing first attempt at gardening. Last spring, my mother came home with this book. So began the new garden plan and my self-taught gardening attempt number two.

First I made a map. Can you believe that this book even tells you what plants are good to plant by each other and what plants are not? I designed my garden with this all in mind, (too scale) got my plants, and enlisted my father to run the tiller. I think I ought to write it THE TILLER because this is the tiller to beat all tillers. Orange and white, it sits in the back yard; a monstrous thing that quite literally terrifies me. It's big and heavy and I don't have any idea how old it is, only that it appears in all my gardening memories.

Then came the shoveling (Done by my hubby, thank you very much!), the creation of separate garden squares, the watering system ups and downs, the search for paper and straw for the walkways, the fight with the bugs, the unexpected arrival of powdery mildew (In Utah? Yes. I swear that's what it was,) the wind that collapsed my tower of cumbers and sunflowers, the carrots that got washed into the peas before they sprouted and grew, and the eventual overload of one too many pumpkins (I was so sure those other two plants were going to be butternut squash.)

It was great fun, and compared to the first year, a bountiful harvest. I fully intend to do it again this summer, with a few modifications; number one being no zucchini plants. . . .

Here are some photos of my last year's garden based on the system Mr. Edward Smith describes in his book. Genius!

 Here is the garden, a few weeks in.

Here are the pumpkins who disguised themselves as butternut squash.

 And here is the corn. Mmm. 

 Here is the same garden late in the season. I might have got the plants a little crowded. 

As you can see, a battle ensued with the encroaching weeds. In the end, the garden won out. Ignore the unexpected fourth pumpkin plant that sprouted outside the garden and grew down the paths between the corn. I couldn't bring myself to pull it. It was too cute.

1 comment:

  1. You have my respect! I cannot garden! I know you will say that I can if I just follow your steps, but I don't believe you. :) I'm so impressed.

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