[If your mind just plopped in the gutter, fish it out…this isn't that kind of blog.]
How many of you have already started your summer garden (or long to have one)? After years of having a few planters and wishing for more space, this Spring I actually had the space and the motivation to put in a full-fledged garden.
Not just any garden. Nope, this 10×12 space of vegetable nirvana was last used by my husband’s father to grow veggies of outlandish proportion. My mother-in-law let it fall into disrepair after he passed and all that was left of his leafy legacy was the grape arbor, which makes you feel like you’re in Napa.
I’ve had big plans for this garden for a long time.
Early one Saturday morning at the end of March, I went to a class at Roger’s Gardens about putting in a vegetable garden. I thought I needed to get some know-how before attempting to grow things.
It shocked me to see nearly 60 people had arrived ahead of me; they were arranged in orderly rows with notebooks balanced on their knees and pencils at the ready. I looked at the instructor with a bit more respect and listened closely to the foreign words he spouted…all about how to augment your soil, which product yields what, and the ratio of this to that.
A peek around assured me that the other 60 people actually knew what this guy was talking about. Me? Not so much.
My hand popped into the air repeatedly, waving madly until the instructor would take pity on me. Finally, a white-haired lady in a huge straw hat leaned over and informed me that our instructor was the biggest rockstar gardener in the whole place (my words, not hers). It’s likely she was wishing I’d shut up and quit asking so many questions.
Gardening neophyte me had never heard augment and soil used in a sentence and I was a bit scared by how…involved all this was. Still, the buzz was in the air and I gulped it down. I spent $300 on all the products, tools and plants and went home expecting my husband’s eyes to pop out at both the number of plants and the price.
It took him four trips to unload the car but all he said (bless him) was, “You got a good variety. Are you excited?”
Sometime between the lesson with the rockstar and the car trip home, I’d inhaled some seriously green love vibes and I was wild to start planting. I gave my husband a huge smile and thanked him for his help, imagining how exciting my garden full of plants would be. I figured it would take me a few hours to get the soil in shape and lay in my harvest.
I’d bought a blackberry bush, a blueberry bush, 12 tomato plants, zucchini, yellow squash, cucumbers, red and yellow bell peppers, a jalapeno plant, 6 kinds of lettuce, onion chives, mint, 3 kinds of basil, strawberry plants, gold fingerling potatoes…oh, and some cantaloupe.
Silly, silly me.
Two days, a pile of tree roots and rocks later, I had soil ready to be “augmented” (this means you mix in groovy nutrients to your existing soil so your veggies will grow). All that work and I hadn’t laid in a single plant!
THREE WEEKS later, after using all my spare moments, my last plant was finally in the ground. That’s when I learned the real top-secret lesson about gardening: it takes patience. What? How come no one told me that before allowing me to suck down all the gardening meth?
I worried over every inch of that garden like a helicopter mom. Were my tomatoes wilting? Would the strawberries survive? Did the mint die? (All you experienced gardeners, stop laughing. NOW I know it would probably take a nuclear blast to kill mint.)
When my lettuce thrived, I glowed. The first cucumber made me puff up with pride. But the zucchini…my ginormous plant with the huge shading leaves made me lose my head a little bit.
It was like an organic orgasm every time I peeked under those prickly leaves. The delicate yellow squash flowers…the plethora of little green squashes…I’ll confess, my new gardener’s heart just went splat with mad love for my zucchini, which continues to grow and grow and grow.
My husband poked his head out the back door the other day while I was watering and communing with the veggie patch. “Are you talking to me?” he asked.
“Well who are you talking to?”
“The garden.” I nodded toward the basket of green things I’d gathered for our dinner. “Have you ever seen such a gorgeous zucchini?”
He told me later I’d looked a bit drunk.
What can I say? I’ve been taken over by the organic high of growing your own food and eating it. It tastes better. We feel better. And I actually have something that resembles a tan for the first time in ten years.
And yesterday, when I woke up with a raging headache that kept me horizontal for most of the day, my honey came home at lunch and watered my garden for me. That sort of behavior is why I’m madly in love with him too.
If you’re gardening, what are you growing? (Feel free to share some tips!) What’s the latest summer passion for all you non-gardeners? Are there things you look forward to doing each year around this time? Enquiring minds want to know…
I love hearing from you! I’ve already shown my love with the Let’s Meet Up Contest – your comments put you in the hat to win a spot in the June webinar, which will be drawn in less than two weeks! This Friday we’re having our first webinar so I’ll report back later about how it went.
See you tomorrow for a Triple D Friday!