And we have a vegetable garden.
Or a really expensive and labor-intensive bunny feeding station.
Friday is my day off. First thing after dropping the kids off, I drove to the local nursery and spent $70 on stuff for the vegetable and herb garden. What’s sort of funny is that only about $20 of that was spent on actual plants–the rest was compost, organic and nontoxic plant foot, and my favorite repels-insects-and-maybe-bunnies-while-also-being-pretty natural pest control method, a flat of marigolds.
After last summer’s laborious preparation of our Raised Clay Bed (which we managed to eventually turn into something resembling soil), this spring the dirt is almost a joy to work in. This is compounded by the fact that we’ve been having lots of long soaky rains for the past couple of weeks. I am not a heavy duty gardener, but I did better this year–I mixed up a big bucket of potting soil mixed with compost and plant food and added a couple of handfuls of that to each hole I dug.
(And by the way, yeah, I know, lots of this stuff can be grown REALLY easily from seed and it’s a big waste of money to buy some of this stuff. But it’s a week after Mother’s Day, I’m busy as hell, and it’s worth the extra money to have someone else have gotten the things going for me. And I’m still going to try snap peas and mesclun from seed…)
So, this is what we’ve got, if the bunnies don’t eat it all before it can do anything good (Sunday’s project, since we have no time tomorrow, will be to rig up a better-than-marigolds deterrent system):
Tomatoes: I actually planted nine tomato plants this year. I have never before dared to go over 4. But I bought my nice used canner on ebay over the winter, and I want tomatoes I can can. So, we have four plum tomato plants, 4 yellow pear tomato plants (I’m hoping the kids might be so intrigued by the color that they could overcome their yecch of tomatoes and give them a try; if not, they can sit on the counter in a bowl and I can snack on them all summer.), and I got one heirloom Goliath tomato plant that says it produces fruits that are 1-2 lbs fully ripe. That I gotta see. So those can be for eating, and the plums I’ll can for the winter.
Green Beans: inspired by my children’s willingness to eat the things, I got a little 4-pack of bean plants and put them in back there as well. (My son asked for SECONDS of the green beans tonight. I think I felt the world shudder slightly on its axis when he did that.)
Cukes: I actually planted the cucumbers on a hill the way you’re supposed to this time…never actually pulled that off before. We’ll see if it gets any better results.
Zukes: What would a summer garden be without the mutant ninja zucchinis growing back there? As with last year, I will attempt to pick them when they are little through most of the summer, which is when I love their tender texture and springy flavor, and then return from our August vacation with 2.5 foot bludgers taking over my yard. It’s all good. Now I know how to freeze them.
Then there were a few things I bought just because they looked good; it’s sort of like going to the grocery store when you’re hungry, except that you don’t actually get to eat what you impulse-bought for several months. And my grocery store impulse buys seldom get me out of there for $6 like these did: I got little four-packs of kohlrabi, cauliflower, and finger eggplant.
All three of these are new to me, garden-wise. I know I love kohlrabi, and not just because it has a cool name. It’s one of those yummy munch-on-all-day raw veggies I just love but seldom actually eat. Cauliflower my kids will maybe try, and I know I like it too. The eggplant is more of a stretch–honestly, I feel about eggplant much the way I did for a long time about zucchini, which is to say that normally when I’ve had it it’s been the huge purplish things that had tough skins and big seeds and were sort of fibrous in texture, with a funny back-taste. I’m hoping that new baby small eggplant will convert me much like new baby zucchini did, or new spring asparagus–both of those used to be huge in the “bleech” category for me, and now I long for them whenever I can get them. And I still remember this one meal with my mom at a restaurant probably 15 years ago, when we ordered an eggplant appetizer (I sort of said “okay” because I knew she loved it) and it was absolutely delicious, young narrow purple fruits that were tender and lovely and sweet.
I also have carrot and snap pea seeds, both of which I’ll probably toss into the ground in a day or two…and I bought a mesclun mix that I’ll probably try to grow in a container on the patio until it gets too hot outside; and I can bring it in. I hate buying lettuce, because I usually forget I have it and it rots before I can eat it all. If I’m just pulling it off the plant as I need it, it won’t go bad, right? It’ll just keep growing.
So it’s a start.
It’s officially spring. We knew it was pretty much here, I guess, but now the ground is soft and the world is beginning to be full of that almost too-rich greenness, and you can hear frogs sing at night and you just want to be outside in it all, soaking up the growingness. And we have a vegetable garden.