Monday, July 2, 2012

How Does Your Garden Grow?

          My husband is from the garden state – which does not necessarily make one a gardener – just as living in Utah for all of one’s life does not necessarily prepare one to have ever gone skiing. 

          I have always had a white thumb.  One look at my grass implies all gardening skills.  Water alone does not produce green.  With our yard, it is morning glories.  Not just this house – but every house I have lived in.  The lawn is usually always somewhere between brown and albino.  And frankly, I don’t blame the grass for drying up.  I don’t blame any vegetation for not wanting to peek its head out into the scorching sun.  I certainly don’t wish to be in it.

          My husband has tried.  For almost each year that we’ve been married, we’ve attempted the garden thing. We got some really tall tomato plants in the first yard where we lived.  Tall plants – no tomatoes though. 

          One year we tried zucchini.  Most Utahans who have planted zucchini have produced tons more than desired or expected. Surely we could grow something that seemed so plentiful.  We got one – the size of a small pickle.

          And one year Roland brought in an excavator and tore up our backyard – with earth which appeared to contain at least 70% rock (more rock than dirt) gads – no wonder nothing would grow for us!

          We tried growing onions in an old swimming pool – filled with fresh dirt and manure and all the fine things that the most of experienced gardens use – with a thin layer of compost.  Not all of the onion plants turned into onions.  And all of them were small.  Perhaps two or three times smaller than the bulb that was initially planted.  I think we were able to use them for only two or three meals.  Or was that our current house?
          I think the former owners (or maybe even renters?) of this house thrived on gardening.  There are pocketed areas separated by cement all throughout the yard.  The first year we planted peppers, lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, beets, melons, strawberry, blueberries, carrots, grapes, onions, cauliflower, broccoli, and kohlrabi (whatever that was; the last three mentioned plants we received for free) and pumpkins.

          Of course the kohlrabi grew – we turned it into coleslaw (as I hadn’t a clue what else to do with it) but I am not a huge fan of slaw and the last kohlrabi that came out totally got out of hand – it was too tough and too big to deal with.  So we ate two of the four plants and ended up giving one away.

          The broccoli and cauliflower both got buds – and we may have even had a sample of the broccoli – but that is all it was.  Neither one grew well enough to feed us.
          I believe that the blue berry bush bit the dust the second it was planted – but perhaps that’s just me.  We did get maybe five strawberries – and that was it for the fruit.
          The wind blew the neighbor’s fence over on our peppers like two days after they were planted.  We planted more – but peppers just don’t want to grow for us.  And neither did cucumbers. 

          The beats and tomatoes did well – in fact they flourished – but there was a pathetic amount of production with everything planted between.  No cucumbers.  About three to five finger sized carrots (we planted regular carrot size) and a really bitter lettuce which was long like a boa. 

          Last year we tried peppers, corn and two tomato plants instead of six.  Though we attempted to plant the corn in strait lines, some of the seeds spilled and the seven ears that were produced grew in random areas.  No peppers again.   I think we got four pumpkins - two average size and two that were small. Our tomatoes did well. 

          I don’t know why we didn’t do tomatoes this year.  Roland wanted to try corn again.  We planted in a different area.  I thought I was watering in vein until Roland pointed out the one stalk that is growing.  OOO – one stalk.  Nothing near it to germinate.  Marvelous! So I don’t guess we’ll be getting corn this year from our personal garden . . . the community garden perhaps.

          The community garden is quite beautiful actually.  And we’ve already received from it.  Roland made a salad with radishes.  We’ll probably get some squash tomorrow night.  And we’re probably just as awesome at preparing squash as we are at having green grass.

          I think next year we ought to stick to just beats and tomatoes.  

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