Wednesday, September 21, 2005

A garden run amok

I can definitely state that my plans for planting my miniscule back yard garden arlier this year were grand in nature to say the least. As I have spoken about before, the small and half-weedy patch of lawn behind our garage and attached shed was chosen to be its home due to the hidden location and poor lawn condition.

Preparations began in earnest as I scoured area Menard's, Home Depot, Wal-Mart and Ace hardware locations only to have mary eventually stop off after work one day at a farm store and purchase the ideal potato fork. Its solid tines were just the ticket to turn over the weed-ridden sod and make the best little garden I had ever been a part of.

I called my mom and tracked down the name of a mail-order seed company I remebered as both cheap and plentiful for the prices paid. Of course I ordered too much, growing up on our farm I was used to a garen which covered upwards of 10,000 sq. ft. and eventually, due to a side venture, spead onto two acres of my dad's farm land adjacent to our eight-acre yard.

This 12x20 foot plot had met its match - me.

One sunny Sunday afternoon in late April I struck out to plant everything I had eceived in the mail. I clustered in five tightly-packed rows of sweet corn, three closely-spaced rown of green beans, a rown of giant sunflowers for the birds, three rows of carrots for God only knows what and hill after hill of buttercup squash, pumpkins, miniature pumpkins and gourds. A few weeks later Mary would stick in four tomato plants for good measure in the last free space this plot of soil had.

Time went by and by late July we had green beans. We ate the first ones and were so overjoyed to be seeing the fruits of our labor. Soon, we had an excess of green beans. They were pawned off on Mary's family and we had green beans for nearly every meal. Soon, though, we met some vicious and uncaring insects which made it their mission to chew -- only once -- on each and every green bean in the garden as they formed. I dusted the leaves and plucked the damaged beans from the plants and soon we were back in business.

Then came the sweet corn.

I could eat sweet corn for every meal for a month and not get sick of it. Well, even my five closely-spaced rows didn't satisfy my needs. The corn came and went all too quickly but was delicious to say the least. It always tastes better when it's fresh.

Next up, only a few weeks ago, was the task of harvesting the towering sunflowers. As they gained height, the top-heavy bastards tipped in th eloose and sometimes soggy soil, eventually flopping heavily into my garage or falling over completely. One lazy weekend afternoon the pruners were gathered and the seed heads snipped free to dry in the garage and eventually make their way onto the porch outside our bedroom for the birds to feast on and crap on my car.

The last harvest, two Sundays ago, were the rows of carrots. I larned a very important lesson -- carrots need more room than you think. At least four inches between plants is a safe bet. I have already plotted out in my head a more effective method of cramming too much into my garden next year again.

Lastly, do you know of anybody needing tomatoes. I have a grocery bag of them sitting in our kitchen and we already made some kick-ass spaghetti sauce a few weeks ago and the missus isn't overly fond of spaghetti due to some instances in her childhoood. Recipes are good also. please save us before we are overcome by large quantities of this acidic red fruit/vegetable.


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