The Veggie Patch

I’ve never been a gardener, unless the kind I am in my imagination counts. Yeah…didn’t think so. I’ve always wanted to be, but I’m easily intimidated by new and (seemingly) complex ventures. Fear of failure? Check. Fear of the unknown? Check. Fear of success? Check. Fear of fear? Check. Fear of judgment and ridicule? Check. Fear of attention? Check. Fear of memories invoked? Check. Whatever. You get the idea.

I’ve always wanted to garden. Over the years, I’ve collected a handful of ideas. A handful of books. A handful of implements. A handful of dead plants. An even smaller handful of living plants.

My mamaw was a gardener. It was a real passion for her. She was mostly a flower gardener, and she was an expert with roses. She kept quite a variety of flowers, and she had no small amount of herbs. She was a container and raised bed gardener, and my how green was her thumb. She had the touch, the intuition, the love. It was a joy to see the fruits of her labors. Speaking of fruits, she also had fig trees and plum trees and one lone peach tree. One of the things that delighted me most was how she actually took pleasure in sharing the fruit with birds. She didn’t find it frustrating or maddening when she found eaten fruit decaying on the soft ground beneath her trees. Now she would get angry if she found an otherwise perfect piece with one or two peck-holes in it. That would set her right off, the nerve of those arrogant, thoughtless birds to so selfishly ruin fruit and leave it there to rot. If she could have gotten her hands on one of those little assholes, I don’t believe anyone would have accused her of being the bird lover that she was.

Sigh. I miss her.

This summer, I finally took the plunge and began my first attempt at a raised bed garden – a fall garden. I have a few potted plants on my back deck, but this was to be the real deal. And I had the grand idea of trying veggies. The thing is, I’m not even much of a veggie eater. I can be quite veggie averse, actually. But I finally said, to hell with your analysis paralysis. To hell with your fear of everything. To hell with your apathy. Let’s do this thing.

It started off well. And perhaps I’ll give you a play by play soon. I have some lovely photos of the patch in various stages – from laying out the timbers and filling it with dirt and shit and blocking it out, to my first sprouts and squirrel-dug holes and subsequent attempts to set the taste buds of those cute furry little bastards on fire with cayenne pepper.

Unfortunately, through what I suspect is a combination of things, the garden is about half-dead now. This has been our hottest summer on record. And our driest. And it was impossible to keep the soil watered enough. I also had (have) some sort of bug infestation. I don’t know what they are. I need to figure that shit out. But they’re definitely killing some of the plants that did survive. I’ve also become lazy and ceased daily removal of the copious amounts of pine straw that falls from the tree in my back yard.

Here’s what the poor thing looks like now:

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Pitiful, right? The super healthy ivy-looking thingies are sweet potatoes. The pitiful stalks front and center are what’s left of bush green beans. You can also see dead and dying peas, more dead and dying green beans and regular potato vines. Oh. And the green onions, too. They looked amazing, less so now. Are they ready to harvest? Fucked if I know. I’m still learning. Oh and that was my attempt at okra in the pots. Heh.

I lost three pumpkins. Well, one never sprouted. I lost two pumpkins. I lost two butternut squash plants. (I planted four more seeds yesterday evening. It’s probably too late, but I’m gonna try.) Uhm. What else. Oh! I may yet have a few carrots, radishes and maybe even kale and mesclun. The kale and mesclun have been struggling from the start, but they’re finally starting to show signs of growth.

Behold the radish, showing off his flamboyant stalk and struggling to survive.
Behold the radish, showing off his flamboyant stalk and struggling to survive. And oh my God, I swear to fuck those aren’t teeth in the soil behind him.

So we’ll see. I’m disappointed but proud of myself for remaining optimistic and not allowing myself to beat myself up. This is new to me. I’m learning. I’ve certainly made mistakes. And there were problems this summer that have stricken every small time gardener I know at work. So I’ll keep at it, see what happens with what’s left. And hell, I’ll start planning a spring garden, too.

Is it too late to plant garlic now? That’s supposed to be easy. And it’s one of the few things I do like. Maybe I can put some in one of the empty squares and just see what happens!

Oh gosh, the gnomes! The gnomes totally deserve their own post. But for now, here’s a sample:

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That’s Gnorman. Gnorman Gnomkowsky, guarding a much healthier garden in its early days. Hi Gnorman!

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29 thoughts on “The Veggie Patch

  1. its a beautiful garden….take the credit…..looks like it was put together with love and a true gardener, you have a gnome protecting your precious seedlings…..next year you will reap twice the harvest…good job…kat

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  2. First of all, “High 5 on the garden this year!!!” Secondly, I LOVE GNOME TOO! OMG, I have 13, shhhhh, it’s a secret obsession…well sort of. 🙂 I love them, I’m not sure why, but I DO. My husband will move them every now and then to keep me on my toes! hahahaha. Happy gardening this next season, hopefully it won’t be as hot. I experienced the same issues, dead and dried up plants if I didn’t water 2x’s a day. 😦 Sadness, but we had a rouge tomato plant that turned into a ground trotting bloomer. 🙂

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    1. Hahaha! That’s so similar to what happened with me and my gnomes. I’ll have to share that story soon. I have nine of those suckers. The gnomes are taking over!

      I hope the spring season is better as well – for you, too! And I think things would have fared so much better had I watered twice a day. Lesson learned!

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  3. No worries! You’re gardening skills are certainly better and more ambitious than mine! lol My finace has the green thumb but I found this cool idea on pinterest if you ever want to take on a smaller gardening project. It’s a great way to start off and you get to recycle at the same time! 🙂 https://www.pinterest.com/pin/367324913335269509/ Oh and the garden gnome…love! lol he’s so cute protecting your garden 🙂 xo

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      1. Woot! I look forward to that and you’re welcome! I thought it was so cute when I saw them…I was like “Hey! I can do that!” lol I was thinking you could even place them around your existing garden since you already have a beautiful bed there 🙂 xo

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      2. Aw thank you! I’m trying. 🙂

        Your idea would also work on my desk at work, maybe with succulents…I’ve been wanting to research succulents and start taking care of those indoors… I have to slow my roll!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I just so happen to know a thing or two about succulents and they are a great choice if you don’t have a ton of time to take care of plants! Not to mention they are super cool and some of them get little flowers on them which I love. They would work well with that idea for sure!

        Liked by 1 person

      1. You are welcome. I did not ask you yesterday. Most people use their phones instead of computers and therefore can’t see a bloggers press this or reblog button. I have been going back and forth with WP for 2 months. Are you able to see it if you are logged in and either go to the first or any other posts by clicking it directly?

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    1. Thank you! And I certainly hope so…the potatoes, at least, seem to be thriving. I’ve also discovered that their roots are spreading into the other boxes rapidly and quite far, actually. That could be part of my problem. I may find a new way to grow taters and leave them out of the small raised bed next time!

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