Wednesday, June 29, 2011

How to NOT Grow a Garden

I was really excited this spring. I had a lot of hopes for our garden. As we planted those tiny seeds, I had visions of making salads, bread and butter pickles, pickled beets, zucchini fritters, frozen peas, pumpkin pies. I just knew that we'd be harvesting our own watermelon and cantaloupe for the 4th of July parties. I wanted to involve the kids in taking care of our (what would obviously be) beautiful plants.

Instead, we learned a lot of things that make a garden turn out really crummy. So here is what to do if you do NOT want to grow a successful garden.

1. Do not put an adequate fence around the perimeter. By not doing this, you are providing an endless buffet to those lovely woodland creatures such as bunnies and deer. They will even reduce your giant sunflowers down to stemmy nubs.
2. Have torrential rains that completely flood the garden (and your entire backyard) for about a month. You might not have any control over this, but if you make sure to plant your seeds immediately before this weather occurs, then you will ensure that all of your root vegetables will rot and the delicate lettuce seeds that you so carefully sowed will be washed away.

3. Make sure that the location of your garden was once occupied by a copious amount of aggressive weeds. This way, after the rain stops and anything that has survived begins to grow, the plants will shortly be strangled by thistle and thick grasses. This will also ensure that your children will not be able to help with garden chores, due to the prickers and thorns, thereby accomplishing two failures in one step.

While we followed these steps to NOT growing a garden, almost perfectly, we failed at creating a complete disappointment of a garden. At least, as of this moment.

We do have one pea blossom, on one out of about 40 pea plants (two varieties). A glimmer of hope that not all is lost. The pea plants seem to be a favorite among the rabbits, but for some reason this one plant has avoided the munching.
We also have two zucchini plants that actually thrived. One has several flowers on it, the other only a couple. I did notice there were some munch marks on these plants however, I'm hoping they survive the Bunny Buffet until we can get an adequate fence. Many people don't realize that you can eat zucchini blossoms. I had been wanting several more plants, so I could harvest the blossoms on some of them as well. They are delicious in stir fries and other wonderful dishes, and they provide quite a bit of folate and potassium.
The corn has been doing especially well. One variety is growing better than the other, but I think that is because of where we planted them. Here is the corn a couple of weeks ago, just a bit below knee level.
 And here are the kids standing in front of it today when it is about waist high.
We also have four carrots, and several beets. Even though a lot of what we planted, never even sprouted, or sprouted only to meet an early fate, we are trying to focus on what we do have growing out there. Hopefully we will be able to nurture it into being at least somewhat productive.

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