Sunday, August 07, 2011

Garden Woes

I do not have a green thumb. That's why I'm thrilled my daughter and husband wanted to grow some veggies this summer. We planted late, due to the tornadoes and endless downpours. While they dug and seeded the ground, I tried one of those upside down hanging tomato planters. I bought a nice healthy plant, the more expensive soil, and fertilizer as the instructions suggested. My DH agreed to let me hang it on the birdfeeder pole, which he had to reinforce so it wouldn't fall over. But it started to bend anyway. eeks So I bought a special hook for the back fence, which put the plant in the sun all day. Then the weather turned deadly hot--in the high 90s for a week (which turned into high 90s most of summer--except when we hit the low 100s), and it had to be watered twice a day (although, I admit, my daughter did it 98% of the time). In three days it was paper dry and shriveled anyway.

I have a grape tomato plant in a bucket on my porch. I call him Gilbert. (It's okay if you don't think that's funny, but it makes me laugh.) He's been cossetted like an only child--watered twice daily, talked to, moved around to protect him from getting too hot. He had some pretty yellow flowers which turned into lovely nuggets.

My husband's tomatoes and lettuce fared better, although we haven't picked many tomatoes yet. One Roma, two grape. :( But the lettuce was delicious. He served it wilted (which I find amusing), but it was terrific.

Squirrels and chipmunks are enjoying my daughter's plantings. The baby bunny is plump now with a beautiful coat. I haven't seen a zucchini yet, nor a squash, but my daughter's been shooing out the critters. We have had green beans at least, which start as pretty purple flowers.

A new visitor arrived last week, this praying mantis. He's (well, I don't know if it's a boy) cute and harmless, so we left him alone. I hope he eats bugs and scares away the bigger critters, but I'm not holding out much hope for that last bit. (I don't begrudge the animals their meals, but they could have left me one of Gilbert's tomatoes.)

This is why we rely on the farmers and their local produce. Last week, we went to Wisconsin and had amazing fresh corn off a stand that was replenished from the field several times a day. Funnily enough, the white peaches everyone raved over were from southern Illinois, not far from St. Louis. I made sure to find some when I returned--they're sweet as candy.

So although our small garden is suffering, we're blessed with the farmers in the nation who keep food on our table. Have you grown anything this year? Do you have any tips to share for next year's garden? I need all the help you can offer.

Megan Kelly
Stand-In Mom, Sept


Linda Warren said...

Sorry, I don't have any tips, but I've been wanting to try one of those upside-down tomatoe plant holders. I don't think I will now. My mom always had a garden, but I'm hopeless at it. Love the fresh veggies though. God bless the farmers.

Megan Kelly said...

Linda, one of my friends is having great success with her upside down tomatoes, as did my brother. So don't give up based on my experience. My thumb is so brown I should never endanger plants with my "care."

Pamela Stone said...

Yep, right there with you. My attempts at gardening have been humorous at best. But I do envy you the fresh green beans and wilted lettuce. Love both. At least we have a wonderful farmers' market every Saturday morning here in Waxahachie. Not grown in my own garden, but the veggies are fresh and wonderful. Okra, tomatoes, cantaloupe and peaches at the moment.

On another note, our temps have been over 100 for days. The entire county is brown so I'm rather glad I left the gardenin to the people who know what they're doing and didn't waste my time.

linda s said...

Our garden languishes from lack of sunlight and too much rain. Only the peas and the roses are having a good year. We have a great farmer's market that trucks in fresh fruit daily from the orchards so we really are lucky we don;t have to depend on what we grow to eat.