Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Gardening: death and rebirth

Ok, now that I have figured out how to make the iPad function as an all in one blogging machine, I can tell you about the "farm"s latest exploits.

I don't know if I told you before, but we planted late last summer hoping to get some good summer veggies. Well it was unseasonably hot, even for Arizona and so everything died without so much as a tomato to show for it. Needless to say, it was disheartening.

So this winter my mom and step Todd brought us some transplants for lettuce, kale and broccoli. They were lovely and all signs pointed to us actually getting to eat out of our garden this year. I faithfully watched everything all winter long, watering and fertilizing, even singing to the plants with Maggie. Every day i'd go out and find that my plants seemed to be getting smaller rather than bigger. That's no good right? I assumed it was from birds. I had ruled out my chickens as the culprit since both beds are fenced with chicken wire, and the ladies have their wings clipped so they can't fly all that high. So I started putting chicken wire domes over all the plants.

Above you see the wreckage of my romaine as it looks today.

They still kept shrinking, and they had tell tale signs of bird damage. I didn't know what to do! I was frustrated because finding time to get out of the house to pay close attention to the garden while still paying close attention to your suicidal 2 year old was hard enough and the efforts I had made weren't working!!! This is why people quit gardening. Because you have to take the time to find solutions to problems that are usually a matter of observing something minute, or knowing something about plants. I am ok at the former, but the later usually involves very long books that a working farm mommy of two doesn't have time to read.

Well, low and behold, one day we observed our not so minute detail. Talulah. That chicken has more personality than all our others combined but she's also more ornery than the rest. She had figured out how to get UNDER the fence and was standing there scratching and pecking at my garden until it was nothing but stubs! By the time we caught her in the act and confined her to her coop and run (no more free run of the backyard for these girls!) the beds were trashed. Only the peas and strawberries hadn't been harmed, but they were growing very slowly.

So here we are in march. I planted tomatoes and peppers around the 10th (about a day before we caught Talulah, poor peppers!) and faithfully watered and fertilized. But two of my tomatoes seemed to be dying the second I put the into the beds. It's so disheartening. The peas and strawberries are still out but not really producing anything edible. So I bought some bigger strawberries in the hopes that a nice nursery transplant will fare better than a home depot one.

Now begins the waiting game. But while we wait, I was surprised to find some of my lettuce has grown back as well as some of the arugula. God willing, I'll get a salad out of this yard yet! I am also seeing signs of life from the presumed dead tomatoes and new leaves have grown on the chicken ravaged peppers.

I welcome your gardening advice. Right now all I know is to fertilize once a week and not let my chickens out into the garden anymore!! But I feel like there is probably more to it.

Maybe someday my peas will come...

- farm girl


  1. If your peas grow fast enough you may get some before it gets too hot, even if it's just enough to put in a salad! You did get some sweet little carrots you forgot to mention. Practice practice practice. Accept set backs and move on. Plant plenty of all the little stuff if you want enough to get a meal out of it. Ask your step Todd any questions you may have because he probably has the answer. Or if you don't know what to ask tell him what the problem is and perhaps he can come up with the question AND the answer! He has read a ton of those books you can't find time to read and loves to share his knowlege with those he loves (or anyone else who will listen!)Also, Plant some bush bean transplants NOW and find a way to shade the garden before it gets too hot and you will get green beans! they are good to eat and if you plant about 6 bushes you will have more than you know what to do with. That's my advise for the day! Love you!

  2. You should post more. That's my gardening advice. If you took actual gardening advice from me, your garden would look like the world in which Denzel Washington lives in "The Book of Eli." You describe your garden in a way that those who know nothing about gardening can appreciate. Give me more posts so that one day I will know whether the pictures above indicate success or failure.