Proud and Pleased

May 25, 2019

I am no stranger to growing things, but this week is the first time I have had a garden. My own “bit of earth,” 72 square feet of raised dirt awarded by the department of parks and recreation.

”It needs weeding,” the email read. “But, the last person planted squash and some herbs. And it’s near the tool shed. It’s a pretty good plot.”

I drove by the same day after work, too late to settle the registration fee, but the beds were still accessible and I couldn’t wait to pull up the first weed, mark that dirt as mine. And she was right. It is a good plot.

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From what I can tell, the last gardener had good taste and terrible planning skills. When I got there, I found dill, cilantro, rosemary, zucchini, squash, tomato, basil, and onions planted in a sprawling, haphazard design. Some things would have to be moved, others taken out full stop.

First things first, I registered the plot next day and went to work in earnest. It took me two sessions to weed everything out, partially because I found an ant bed first off and had to work around the angry critters. Several fellow gardeners approached me every day this week to say hello, one older lady in particular introduced me to a fancy hoe that seriously cut down my weeding time. I also had to get help with using the water hose from a very nice gentleman. Have I mentioned that I have no idea what I’m doing?

Then I pulled out the supernumerary vegetables. The onions were planted too deep and too close together to grow into anything useful, so they went first. There were some mystery plants, identified via internet community magic as taro, that also had to go because I have no use for exactly three taro roots. One more stir of the old ant pile, and it was time for a supply run.

In one long sweaty session, I relocated existing plants and get some new ones in the ground. All herbs except the basil, which I companion planted with the tomatoes to help with pests, are now at the north end. The cilantro had bolted long before I came along, so I’ll harvest the coriander in a few weeks then rip out the plants. I’ll probably replace with Zinnias or Cosmos.

The established tomato is a Beefsteak. I chose two San Marzanos and a Cherry to complete the team.

Finally, the cucumbers, which looked absolutely peak’ed at the store, but I’m hoping will perk up soon. The vines were lying on the ground all dejected like after planting, so I stuck temporary steaks in to prop them up until I can get a trellis up. I chose Boston Pickling and Straight Eight varieties for soaking in vinegar until they get delicious, we’ll see which we like best.

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And that’s it for the first week! It doesn’t seem like an awful lot, but I’m proud and pleased and excited to watch my garden grow. Next week is for direct sowing Zinnia and Cosmo seeds and constructing a trellis for the cucs and maybe the squash/zucchini area? Then everything will be ready for summer.

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