Sunday, July 5, 2009

Random Garden Revelations

Well, this is our third summer in this house (we've lived here two full years), which gives me 2 major garden experiences to think back on (the first year we'd just moved in and the garden was yet to be established). Watching the garden morph over a couple of years is sort of like watching the kids grow: you see what works in terms of clothing and feeding and entertainments, although in the case of the garden I see what works in terms of crop choices, garden placement, fertilizing, and pest management decisions.

So what have I learned from living here so far?

1. I need to plant more lettuce that I think I will need. And it will need more room than I think it will need. And I should probably grind up my eggshells before I need them so that I have my slug barriers in place before the lettuce comes up, thus preventing the slugs from eating all the tender lettuce shoots. (sheila coughs self-consciously as organization is so not her forte)

2. We eat more green onions that I thought we would. So far I have planted 4 packages of bulbs (100 bulbs per package) and we will probably eat them all.

3. Tomatoes take up more room that one might think (when one is seeding one's 4,237 Tigerellas way back in March). And in contrast to what I might have said, one only needs so many tomatoes before one has too many bloody tomatoes everywhere. Note to self: next March, do not plant every seed you have in the seed box. There is a distinct possibility that you might NOT find a space for them. You do NOT live on a farm.

4. Potato beds mulched with cosy warm straw attract garden snakes. Garden snakes that morph into 50' long monsters that slither over the hands as one is scrabbling for potatoes. Note to self: don't scream so loud next time, people think you are nutty enough already.

5. We do not need 16 pumpkin plants. That is too many pumpkin plants, particularly when they decide to grow into everything in the yard, curling their tendrils around tiny apples, and inserting their prominent proboscises into everything within fifty feet. They are taking on a life of their own out there.

6. This fall I WILL spray dormant oil and BT on the fruit trees. I will also be more assiduous about putting bands of Tanglefoot around the base of the trunks. Call me a killjoy, but the thrill of discovering colonies of black beetles and coddling moths all over my apple trees has paled greatly at this point. I know Garry oaks are a protected species on this island but I hate 'em for looming over my garden, the big bug-infested buggers.

7. I do not need to let every mallow seedling grow. Truly, I do not. Mallows get big. Big and lanky. Ditto for the fennel seedlings. We do not need every fennel seedling that sprouts in the yard. Ditto the nasturtiums. We can only eat so many nasturtium flowers. Oh, and one only needs one packet of Extra Long Super Dooper Nasturtium Trailing Wonders for one's garden. They reproduce like mad. And they really are extra long. Sigh.

8. I will lay the soaker hoses BEFORE all the plants converge around them in a jungle-like tangle that is next to impossible to penetrate. I will. And I will remember which layout is most effective in terms of soaking coverage. And I will remember where I hid put the attachments for the water wands so that I do not need to go back to Home Despot and sob briefly while I buy more. I will also buy more rubber hose washers for the watering timers for when they leak all over the place, so that I am not required to stand in the heat of the day, screwing and unscrewing them in the vain hope that they might magically have fixed themselves. Richard will appreciate this, because then he will not be required to come out to assist me before I go completely mad (and prevent me from sharing my impressive, err, vocabulary with the children).

9. Finally, one must not take a deep breath when one is mixing kelp meal and rock phosphate together. Nor when one is spreading peat moss around one's blueberries. One will sneeze.

So there you go, Sheila's Random Garden Revelations for 2009.


Heather said...

I just learned my new thing for today...I didn't even know you could buy green onion bulbs, I've only ever done them from seed. (and then I usually let some go to seed to use for the next year or sometimes just let them self seed)

Re the snakes - I think you should scream even louder, maybe you'd scare all the beasties away and they would never bother you (or your potatoes) again. I loved that the whole 10 years we lived in our old house I never once saw a snake.

sheila said...

Hey, we're reading at the same time!

The green onion bulbs are actually white onion bulbs: I let them grow until green onion size then pull them up. I've done seeds too but these little guys are super quick to grow and the bulb gets big (as opposed to the yellow onions which never seem to develop a decent-sized bulb until mature).

Snakes really spook me. Spiders do too but snakes are so, err, mobile. And quiet.

Samantha said...

My lesson for this year was that I should plant everything in my compost, because that is where I seem to have the most luck with my plants ;-)

By the way, I posted an, um, knitting pattern that may be of interest to you in the Knitting conference. Just if you have time to go and take a look. I understand that knitting is most likely on hold as it's summer...

sheila said...

Gosh, Samantha, you know exactly the sort of thing I like to knit, don't you? I think that one is EXACTLY my style. I could wear that one all day long, sigh.

Such thoughtfulness. I will bestow all the blessings I can think of on your compost pile.

Anonymous said...

And I thought I'd done well planting 10 potato plants and 3 tomato plants. Guess not.

sheila said...

Oh don't go saying that; it's my need for hyperbole that makes me go a little overboard. If you could see the pumpkins you'd laugh - almost as loud as Richard, I'm sure. It's a little idiotic out there.