Taking the House by Storm

The trials and tribulations of the average gal trying to navigate through life, love and the pursuit of domestic bliss.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Back to my Roots

I don't have what you'd call a green thumb. I joke that it's black, but that's an exaggeration. While I'm not a natural, I can keep plants alive. There's one ivy I've had since my sister bequeathed it to me when she went off to college back in the early '80s, same dirt and everything.

When we moved into our house almost 5 years ago, there was a fairly large, very overgrown garden in the back. I was excited at the prospect of getting it going again, especially after a neighbor told me how fertile the soil was thanks to the loving, tender care of the pre-previous owners. He insisted I could grow anything as he'd helped his friend haul in all the manure and other goodies so many years ago.

Based on my brother James' recommendation, I picked up Mel Bartholomew's Square Foot Gardening and gave it a whirl. It wasn't what you'd call wildly successful. Zucchini wouldn't grow even though Mr. Barholomew advises against even trying since it will take over your garden. You can imagine what a blow to the old self-esteem that partiucular failure was.

Cucumbers sprouted up strong, tall and healthy only to succumb to wilt overnight. That was a wee bit disappointing. And my beloved cilantro died not long after it was planted. Some things, like my cantaloupe and honeydew, never even bothered to shoot.

On the upside, we enjoyed a decent crop of tomatoes. The banana peppers I accidentally bought (thought they were jalapenos) grew like weeds and mint, thyme and dill all were quite respectable.

The following year, I was extremely pregnant come garden prep time, so I skipped it. Then last year, I had a one-year-old and we were in the middle of remodeling our kitchen, so the weeds took over.

This year, I've been fantasizing about renting a tiller to get the party started. After several weeks of talking about it, I finally decided to just go at it the old fashioned way. So this afternoon at about 3:30, I walked into the wildnerness and started swinging my trusty hoe. Two hours later, you can actually see dirt. Yippee! Five hours later, I'm having trouble walking, but that's another post.

My grand plan is to get back in the garden tomorrow to extract the rest of the weeds, finish turning the soil and then have my seeds in the ground by Mother's Day. Wish me luck.


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