Monday, August 4, 2008

Confessions of a Couple of First Time Gardeners

"Sal and Lacea's Jardin"
plot, located at West Middle School's Community Garden, is our first shot at growing a garden. It sure has been a roller coaster ride!

Planted our seeds in peat pods in the house: corn, tomatoes (beefsteak & romas), jalopeno peppers, cucumbers, peas, basil, cilantro, onions, green/yellow peppers, broccoli and lettuce. They went crazy! We think we planted them too early for the May 17th opening of our garden, since they grew big, plateaued, and started to look brown.

Both Lacea and Sal grew up with gardeners in the family, but weeding was no fun as a kid! We dragged Mom along to the first work party for her expertise in planting a garden. Met the other gardeners (thanks for the bucket, Mark!). Turns out Jen E. from the garden is also in Lacea's lifelong learning Spanish Class at WCC--small world! Planted our garden into the ground. We got lucky with our little plot--we have a raised bed, which means less weeds.

About a week after we planted, our plot died due to the frost. So we bought little plants (sans the broccoli, add tomatillo this time) and replanted the garden, this time with marigolds. We planted the extra marigolds in the Plant a Row for the Hungry plot, since all the space for veggies had been taken. Oh No! ANOTHER frost at the end of May?! This time we covered the plants with sheets, and they survived with minimal burn damage.

We think we have a knack for gardening, and are equipped with natural green thumbs. Other gardeners ask us, "What's your secret?" and "Are you sure it's organic?" We only had to weed once and our garden looked amazing! Started harvesting lettuce and basil, and joined the Four Square Society. Had a mishap harvesting the lettuce-Sal chopped the heads down to nothing. Lacea thought he had killed them completely, but they survived and came back in July better than ever. It's amazing how fresh and tasty organic veggies are out of the garden!

Played hookey the day of the walking tour to get our plot in tip-top shape. So excited to share our amazing tomatillo plant with the rest of the world! Weeding was minimal, but we obviously over-planted our plot. We had to rip out a cucumber plant and a few tomato plants that were overshadowed by taller plants. Harvested more lettuce, and transplanted the jalopeno peppers to the space left open by the pulled cucumber plant. They really seemed to enjoy their new home.

We're feeling great about the garden! So great, we started giving away our extra produce to anyone interested. Watering is fun at night, except for those awful mosquitoes! We helped with the garden work party, pulling weeds in the common paths and putting down straw in their place. Our tools and the bucket Mark gave us flew out the back of Sal's truck in an unfortunate tailgate incident. So, Jen loans us her Garden Weasel. It may be "as seen on TV" but we love it and we love gardening!

End of July: OH NO! We got too cocky. Watering every other day or every third day does not work anymore!!! Our plants keeled over and now we aren't sure if they'll make it. At least we got one red tomato out of the bunch!

The saga continues...


jeneastridge said...

I think your garden will make it just fine! It looks beautiful and even though the weight of the fruit is bringin' em' down a bit, I think there are no worries - not that I am an expert (being a first year gardener myself) but I have a good feeling about it! Full speed ahead for your fabuloso jardin! - Jen E. :)

Lisele said...

Wow!!! What a bunch of great pictures! It's like I was there! (Actually, I have been there and seen your great plot at WMS.) Now I have to do an update of the little four square in my driveway -- the carrots are going nuts! Not to mention the sweet potatoes and the volunteer beans!

Rachel said...

Awesome progression of photos!