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Monday, June 8, 2009

My little piece of earth

A few weeks ago I saw Kristen working in her flower bed, and I asked her, "How the heck do you have time to do it?" Besides having a baby my baby's age, she has two older boys and she makes home like Martha Stewart.

She replied, "You find time to do the things you love."

Her response hit me profoundly. A week later, I was admiring Heather and Matt's lush landscaping. Knowing that Matt had just gone back to school, I asked Heather, "How the heck does Matt make the time to still take care of the yard?"

Heather's response: "He loves doing it! You make time for the things you love."

Deja vu? I decided then that was a message from God to me.

I've loved gardening since we lived in a small duplex apartment off a canal in Florida. My mom bought seeds, and we grew flowers (and attracted a roaming cat, but that's another story). I remember four-o-clocks was one variety.

I planted my first very own vegetable garden when I lived in Tennessee. I tore out a piece of lawn from the side of the house we were renting and planted tomatoes, broccoli, and some other vegetable I've forgotten about. Proud, I called Dorothy the Landlady over to look at it. She was a-gasped when she saw that we had torn out her beautiful grass. She then pointed out a large tree that would soon fill in with the season and shade the plot. I named the garden "El Jardin de Esperanza" (The Garden of Hope, as in "here's hoping it grows"). And grow it did!

Because of the lack of sun from the aforementioned tree, I laid sheets of foil around the plants to reflect as much light as possible. The tomatoes searching for light, grew 10-12 feet tall.

"I ain't never seen that in all my life!" exclaimed Dorothy. I had to stake the tomatoes by stapling twine to the side of the house and wrapping the ends around the stalks. We had tons of tomatoes!

In Utah, I married David. At our first apartment, we got a 6x12 plot to garden in during our last two years there.
We planted tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, gladiolus, cantaloupe, marigolds, nasturtium, sunflowers, and whatever else we could fit. I remember having more than enough 'maters to share with many, many neighbors. Dave loved walking past that garden in the mornings and plucking a handful of cherry tomatoes on his way to work.

(My then-neighbor Ben helping me water the apartment garden.)

When we moved to our present home, I wanted to keep up the green-thumbing skills. I got sidetracked by trying to keep alive the plants the home builder threw into our landscaping. Holy clay-dough! (The ground here is... inefficient... at sustaining life.) Busy being on call to administer shrub-CPR, plans for an edible garden went out the window.

Another hurdle to leap was that David wasn't really thrilled about creating more work in the yard, so he had little motivation to venture into gardening again despite my talking, my begging, and my bartering. Well, maybe he wouldn't give in to me, but I knew David is a spiritual man.

After 5 years, throw in an "impromptu" Family Home Evening about President Spencer W. Kimball counseling families to grow food gardens, and (bippity boppity boo) Hubby's on board! We started a garden!

Inspired by recently discovered meat, we chose to try out the square foot gardening method. If all goes well, we will add one or two more boxes next year.


With bell peppers at $2 each, I knew as soon as I got a garden again I'd want to grow some of my own. Our baby garden has two varieties of tomatoes and three varieties of bell peppers. Since we started late in the season, we missed out on some veggies (lettuce, broccoli). Since David didn't want to dig more lawn up, that eliminated large plants (zucchini, squash, watermelon). We also missed out on some pepper varieties because they were already sold out in the three stores I shopped.

We will get better each year as we become more familiar with this method and our area. For now, we have two available square feet. I thought about garlic and onion, but I understand they grow like tulips (planted in the fall and harvested in late spring). Maybe marigolds to keep bugs from attacking the tomatoes?

What ideas have you got? What's in your garden?

These are photos of flowers currently blooming in the front jungle.


Kat said...

We had radishes until I just picked them all this last week. Then we have peas, beans, carrots, tomatoes, and tomatillos. Sounds like you have a good garden growing yourself though. :) Good luck with it! It took us about 3 years to get our garden soil good enough by adding stuff in to the clay and rock to get anything to grow good. But now it is starting to turn around.

Kristen said...

I love square foot gardening!!!

Right now my freakin back wishes I had a square foot garden. =o)

Best thing for clay soil - peat moss! Huge bales at Walmart. Good luck... your garden is beautiful!

Kristen said...

Forgot to mention - my favorite in the square foot garden were carrots. They were so cute. 16 to a square I believe. Oh and you can buy onion sets (little bulbs) that you plant in the spring and they're full size by fall. Less than $2 for 100+. =o) I just learned that. The greens came up in less than a week!

Adhis said...

Kat, that's some variety! The clay is the reason we thought to try the square foot method. I didn't want to deal with the soil amendments again. (We did that to get the shrubs to thrive.)

Kristen, Wow! Where'd you buy the onion sets at that price? Would they still be sold in the summer?

The Silvia Family said...

No garden here. I just wanted to comment on what a cute little boy that is helping you water! I remember that garden. Do you remember that cucumber? You know, that cucumber that grew in the fence? I think I still have some pics. :-)

Adhis said...

Oh, yeah! That was a pained looking cucumber.