How Does My Garden Grow?

In a very haphazard fashion.

Let me make this very clear – in our family, Beloved is the one with the green thumb. Our house in Texas was beautifully landscaped, especially in the back yard where we literally lived in the summer. We had a pool and a covered deck, four absolutely gorgeous crepe myrtles, a huge bush that bloomed with purple, hibiscus-type flowers all summer, a trumpet vine that we managed to keep in check and also bloomed all summer, assorted (heat-resistant) annuals – we even managed to have a rose garden that bloomed spectacularly in the spring and fall. It was beautiful, and Beloved can take credit for it all.

Moving to Ohio presented all sorts of opportunities in the way of gardening because heat is not an issue and things can be grown here that simply cannot be grown in Texas. Like vegetables. And since I like to cook – and eat even more so – I thought it would be just dandy to have my very own vegetable garden.

There’s only one problem with that: I am the Kiss Of Death to plants. If I get anywhere near them they start clutching their stunted little blooms, wheeze, gasp, chuckle weakly and die. I have, in my entire life, managed to keep all of ONE houseplant alive. This is the spider plant that currently resides in my kitchen; I think the reason it has thrived – to the point where it is threatening to strangle anyone who gets too near to the sink (the perfect excuse for the children to avoid doing the dishes) – is because it is, to put it mildly, a low maintenance plant. It apparently does not want to be watered, pruned, fondled, or spoken to, and I adore it. However, I am nothing if not tenacious, and decided two summers ago that I was going to try my hand at vegetable gardening.

It was, shall we say, a learning experience.

If I’d had my way, the entire back yard would have been plowed under and planted within an inch of it’s life; I’m just one of those “whole hog” kinda people. Fortunately, reason in the way of a gorgeous, 6’1″, prematurely graying Hunk O’ Burnin’ Luv intervened and I ended up with two tomato plants and a modest assortment of peppers and herbs on the east side of the house, where they thrived and were subsequently decimated by the local rabbit population.

May I just say, right here and now, that I have learned to loathe with every fiber in my being, the Evil Fluffy Bunnies. While they did disdain my tomatoes and basil – giving me more than ample excuse to come back last summer for an encore vegetable gardening performance – I believe I harvested all of 4 banana peppers and 2 jalapeños; the cilantro was reduced to so much stubble on such a regular basis I considered calling the people at Gillette to see if they were interested in filming a commercial here.

Last year, seeing that determined glint in my eye and having an exquisitely defined sense of self-preservation, Beloved dug for me two 8-by-4 foot plots in the back yard and surrounded them with chicken wire to keep the Ravenous Bunny Hordes at bay (who immediately ate our lilies and hostas instead). Me, being me, planted three tomato plants, a ton of herbs, at least eight pepper plants, cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, lettuce, cucumbers, zucchini and acorn squash.

To say I over-planted would be like saying that the Grand Canyon is a big hole in the ground. The broccoli and cauliflower were a bust, the zucchini and acorn squash were pitiful at best, I got all of one cucumber, more peppers than I knew what to do with and the tomatoes were so prolific half of them rotted on the vine.

The cabbage did really well.

Needless to say, I remain undaunted. This year, the tomatoes and herbs went back to the east side of the house and the two plots in the back yard are moderately planted with lettuce, cabbage, peppers, crookneck squash and zucchini.

Except that apparently one zucchini and squash plant will produce approximately 6 billion vegetables per plant.

And I planted 3 of each.

Oldest Son has informed me that he is preparing for The Great Zucchini and Squash Uprising of 2008.

Smart kid.

4 thoughts on “How Does My Garden Grow?”

  1. Gardening is the thing I miss most. I am right handed and no longer can use my right arm … and oh, how I miss gardening! Not that I am a good gardener, I can so relate to your post. Especially the part about the bunnies. They kill everything and even eat our lawn down to dirt. There is NO getting rid of the bunnies!

  2. You garden? Really? I tried a tomato plant last year. It grew the most delicious, sweet cherry tomatoes until I killed it. Unintentionally of course. I’m green thumb challenged, too, inside and out.

  3. TwentyFourAtHeart – I have managed to keep the bunnies from eating the actual lawn by making sure they have PLENTY of weeds to feast on. 😀 Although, this year I think I may have a plan to rid my property of them permanently: I’m in the process of erecting several, water-proof posters around the perimeter of the house with the recipe for hassenpfeffer. They’re not dealing with just any amateur here.

    Tricia – yes, my gardening has been quite the adventure, for both me and the neighbors who take bets every spring to see what the crazy, clueless lady from Texas is going to do THIS year.

  4. A few years ago we planted 6 zucchini plants. There was zucchini everywhere. I made zucchini breads, casseroles, dips. I fried it, grilled it and baked it. And still there was more! It was awful….the kids hated coming in the house because it smelled of zucchini. My oldest still talks about that summer.

    Good luck…..and don’t let it get ahead of you. BTW, the baby zucchini are the tastiest : )

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