A little bit I’ve learned about gardening this year…

1. You can plant corn as starters. Might be something to consider, if we decide to plant corn again.

2. Treat peas as if they are the drunkest sorority sister in the house. That is, support them, because they will undoubtedly fall over if they don’t have something to hang on to and catch them. They need about five feet of vertical support.

3. Speaking of drunken sorority sisters, beer in tuna cans is awesome for the slugs. Well, awesome for us. Bad for the slugs.

4. Eggshells don’t do crap as a slug repellant. I’ve watched slugs crawl right over them.

5. We need WAY more space dedicated to salad greens. Plus, they don’t seem to grow as fast as one would think they should. The spinach, in particular, is being persnickety. It hardly grows, and then it bolts. Why??

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Check Out My New Wheels!

I scored a sweet deal at the children’s consignment sale I attended last week: a used double jogging stroller. Not that I’m using it. Oh, no, goodness. I break a sweat just thinking about it. The Husband is now using it to give me a half-hour of solitude every other day, which I use to cook in peace. Or peas, depending on what’s for dinner.

Going for a jog!

The first evening they all went out for a jog was a cloudy one. It was a bit chilly, so we bundled the kids up really well before they went out. Thirty minutes passed. I was rocking out in the kitchen when I saw him jog back up to the front door, completely drenched. I was so focused on chopping veggies that I hadn’t even noticed it’d been pouring! I went out to see if he needed help, and when I opened the front door I saw two very wet and pathetic looking children looking up at me with sad, rosy-cheeked faces.

So now we know to check the radar before heading out in questionable weather. And that the sun canopy makes a woefully deficient rain canopy.

Although I probably won’t be taking that thing for a jog any time soon (unless there is chocolate involved somewhere along the line), I am looking forward to using it for regular walking type excursions. We haven’t been able to much of that since The Husband sheared off one of the wheels on our last stroller while backing the car in the garage. By the way, I admire his ability to back the car into the garage. I can’t back up vehicles to save my life, but he’s been backing that thing in for almost a year and he’s only ruined one stroller and one side mirror!

My roses are starting to bloom again.

Rose

Unfortunately, my big rose bush came down with Black Spot and I had to remove over half of the leaves. I don’t know if I will be removing any more because I’m afraid it will die for lack of foliage. I’ve been really good at finding old spotty leaves on the ground, though, and I want to re-mulch the area this fall.

Garden 2010!

Last year we didn’t do too much gardening. I was too nauseated and tired to keep up with it, and the potted herbs I had died a thirsty, hot death. I feel so guilty!

This year we are settled in as the time to plant came, so we decided to build a raised bed and try our luck again. Like The Husband always says, I’m the brain and he’s the braun of the operation, so I designed the raised bed (okay, okay, the Pioneer Woman did) and he built it and filled it with a compost/soil combo that is specifically designed for raised bed gardening. I partitioned the bed a la Square Foot Gardening, and as the season evolves I’ve been sowing seeds and transplanting starters. Here’s how it looks today:

Garden, late April

From the top down, we have peas, three sisters (corn, beans, and squash), jalapeƱos, green and red bell peppers (starters), four different kinds of tomatoes (starters), cilantro, parsley, spinach, and lettuce. Every square is either seeded or filled with a transplant now, and we just have to wait for it to grow. GROW GARDEN, GROW!!

I started some starters in the house a month ago. I believe I had lettuce, jalapeƱos, basil, and thyme starters. They sprouted but were getting kind of leggy, especially the lettuce. Unfortunately we then had to leave for North Dakota, and they all died. My black thumb strikes again. Those poor baby plants.

Peas were one of the first things I planted; I sowed them straight into the ground (along with the spinach and parsley). They are doing so well, but I should have put in some kind of trellis when I sowed the seeds. The small plants are having problems finding the sticks I crammed in the ground Russian-Roulette-style (I sure hope I didn’t impale any important roots). Hopefully they will find their way. I’ve also found a few aphids on them, but I’ve been hand-picking them off and so far there isn’t any substantial damage to the plants. It’s definitely something to look out for from now on.

The spinach and parsley have sprouted, but they’re growing ever so slowly. Actually, with the exception of the peas, everything that I’ve planted has grown. ever. so. slowly. Most of it hasn’t even sprouted yet. At this rate I’ll be harvesting in time for St. Valentine’s Day.

I am wondering if I am supposed to fertilize the garden. The dirt we used had compost in it, but I take after my grandmothers–I have the unrelenting urge to feed everything and everyone until they can’t take anymore. And I know that plants have limits like people, but the thing is I don’t know when I’ve gone too far with them. I don’t want to overdo it. And I don’t want to underdo it.

And this is the part where I usually throw my hands in the air and decide I’ve failed before I’ve even begun, because I can’t do it right! And plant carnage follows soon after. But this year I have a different outlook. It’s all an experiment, and I will try my best with the limited information I’ve got. After harvest time I’ll re-evaluate and see what I should be doing differently. That’s it. There is no valedictorian of gardening. I won’t be given a report card with grades on it at the end of the year. I just have to do my best and eventually I will do well, but it could take years. And that’s okay.

I’ve also put six strawberry starters in a strawberry pot.

Strawberries

I’m a little concerned I just paid $12 for maybe a pound of strawberries, if I’m lucky.

It’s okay. It’s an educational experience, an experiment. Even if I have to learn the hard way, I’ll still learn.

It was really hard to get those plants into the little holes. If I do that again, I’m going to buy smaller starters.