7.10.2009

Sharecroppin'

Last year, some friends of ours moved to a wonderful new home with lots of land to roam. It was too late in the season to put in a garden when they moved. This year was different! They tilled up the ground and made a large garden patch. Then, they did something wonderful...they offered me some space in their garden plot! I've always had garden boxes on our deck here at home, but we've never wanted to tear up our nice lawn to put in a garden. (or maybe I should say that our "lawn man" would like it to stay a lawn and not lawn and garden.

I've always loved growing things, even though there are some things that I simply cannot grow. For example (long rabbit trail here),
(I cannot grow tomatoes. Some people I know can grow tomatoes accidently and have great, beautiful tomatoes. My Pastor's wife says "If you can't grow anything, you can grow tomatoes!" LOL! So funny! Another thing that I cannot grow is Dahlias. My friend Jenny can grow big, beautiful, wonderful Dahlias. I cannot. I try. I fail.
For the last two years I didn't even try (I was pouting), but this year I decided that no matter what, I was going to grow dahlias. I bought the bulbs early, chose the perfect spot,
and planted them at perfect "dahlia planting time". It was growing slowly, but day by day I could see little bits of green developing. I thought to myself "Just a few more days and I'll take a picture of this". And then, one cool, sunny morning, with camera in hand I went out onto the deck....and it was gone!!!!!! The pot was still there and the bulb was still in the dirt, but it had been cut off right to the top of the bulb!! My first thought was "What child has done this to ME??!!" and then I realized that it was too neat of a job for a child. There was no dirt spilled, no pieces of leaf anywhere to be found! Who or what would commit this great treachery?! I didn't know. After all, I live smack in the middle of suburbia and for the life of Ted,the planter was on the deck!! So I just fertilized what was left and watered it carefully to see if I could lull it into a plant growing stupor that would finally grow into a Dahlia. Weeks went by and little by little shoots of green came back (glory!! I was getting a second chance!!) I was so excited! Finally, it was getting large enough that I could justify a picture of it that no one would scoff at. You'll never guess what happened next, really, you might, but anyway... I went out to take my "Second Chance Dahlia" photo and don't you know that the whole thing was GONE, again!!!! Cut right to the quick!! The dirt around it wasn't even stirred up at all!! I could've screamed!!! Actually, I did. Not bloodcurdling, but a reserved gardeners shriek. The bless-ed thing was gone again! So, I'm done with Dahlias. Done. Is there a curse of the dahlias? Why would God not want me to have success in growing such a pretty flower??!!
We're not certain as to what evil creature did this to my plant, but we suspect a deer. A couple
weeks ago (before our fence repair was complete), we had a doe (a deer, a female deer) in the backyard near our willow tree. That was the first time we had ever seen a deer in our yard. Then, Brian told me that he saw deer droppings near a tree in the yard too. Perhaps that darling deer was munching my plant? If so, I'm surprised that it would eat something that was on my deck! It was along the outer perimeter, which is just a foot or so off the ground. I suppose it could reach there. Who knows for sure, but that's the long, rabbit trail story.)
Back to the original idea behind this post.
I like to use the "Square Foot Gardening" method for gardening. So, I found the plans, got the supplies and built my own garden boxes. Which are actually more like frames that are set down in the dirt. The kids and I hauled the soil in to fill the boxes and mix in with the soil that was already there. We planted several things...
Green beans, Gold rush beans (yellow wax beans), beets, sugar snap peas, corn, mesculun, romaine lettuce, radishes, cilantro, spinach, snap dragons, and yellow squash. Its a fun little adventure that we're all enjoying. Ethan is already planning to harvest his peas just before vacation so that we can take them along and eat them with one of our meals. It's so fun to see the kids get excited about eating vegetables that they've grown.
Maybe someday we'll have a larger garden, but probably not until we can have it on our own property.
Maybe then I'll try tomatoes, or, maybe not. Dahlias? Not on your life.

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