If you’re a regular reader, you may remember the trouble I went through to create my first garden this spring. As stated in the mid-May column, I hadn’t a clue what I was doing. My sister was questioning me and the garden’s cost quickly quadrupled the allotted budget. Even the dog crushed my dreams by pummeling my pre-garden greenhouse.
Now, two months later, the garden has made amazing progress and I must say I’ve learned quite a bit.
12 things learned from my first year garden
1.) The garden continually evolves. One day a tiny pepper is noticed. Suddenly a tomato is huge! The next day a few squash have begun to flower. Enough beans and peas grow to provide a healthy snack each day. This little circle of heaven is far more exciting than I ever imagined. You’d think?I expected to wait all summer for a single bean to grow.
2.) Six tomato plants and two rows of seeded tomatoes might be too much for one person. These plants are going to take off in the next few weeks, producing buckets of tomatoes. I’ll be spending some vacation time making salsa and may need to try my hand at bartering.
3.) Gardening is a terrific reason to be outside. Surely there are hundreds of types of exercise a person can get outside. There are also a lot of places you can plop down, relax and indulge yourself. But spending an evening doing some upkeep on the garden is not only relaxing; it’s a true mood booster. You may not believe it to be true until you’re out there picking weeds, watering the ground and smiling as you watch your creation grow.
4.) Prioritizing is important, as is making sacrifices. I recently learned that by picking some buds or pulling some plants, bigger vegetables can be produced. Although I’m lessening my crop, it’s understandable that 30 big tomatoes are better than 65 dinky ones.
5.) Everything tastes so fresh! I could eat those crunchy peas all day long! My gardening teacher/boyfriend asked whether I expected to still enjoy beans and peas at the end of the summer. What a dumb question (although he has yet to be wrong).
6.) Don’t feel sorry for birds that can’t fly and take shelter in your strawberry patch. Maybe if he stopped eating so much of my garden, he’d be able to get off the ground!
7.) Day lilies will ruin you. Apparently the section planted in the middle is going to take over the garden, which is disheartening and I sort of wish?I knew this previous to planting.
8.) Plants need their space. Five squash in a three foot diameter is too close together.
9.) Be willing to try some new recipes. What am?I going to do with two thick rows of onions!? Get creative!
10.) Remember you don’t need to depend on the grocery store as much. Call me stupid, but when you’re used to buying vegetables, you’re used to buying vegetables! I’m ecstatic that purchasing produce will hardly be necessary for the rest of the summer.
11.) You can go organic. So far, I’ve used no chemicals and things are growing perfectly. Although there may have been added fertilizers in some of the soil I used, I don’t plan on adding anything of the sort in future gardening years. In fact, I began a compost early this spring that apparently is going to do wonders for the garden next year.
12.) They’re not lying. Composts really do have a foul smell. Really.
Shootin’ the Wit is a column about everyday life that should never, ever be taken too seriously.