Big-girl gardening

July 27, 2011

I’ve missed you blog. And I’ve been very busy. My sad little collection of random planters from last year has been getting a facelift – and a backyard transformation has been in progress.

Our handsome handy-man dug-in, literally, and helped me dig out the massive tree root that I, in a silly delusion, thought I could get out myself. He called it a dinosaur. My favorite quote of his: “Some men like to drink beer. I like to cut trees.” He also likes to jump out of planes and took his 70-year old father with him last summer – but that’s another story for another time.

With the monster tree stump and roots out, I got on my big-girl pants, hauled out the power drill and built myself an above-ground planter box. And then I proceeded to spend a small fortune on garden soil to fill the 4’ x 12’ box. Ouchy – but totally worth it to have a fertile, dedicated vegetable growing area a foot off the ground (and out of the puppy potty path).

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I started all of the seeds for my produce myself – Cherry tomatoes, yellow pear tomatoes, Roma tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes (culled from Danielle’s CSA box last year – thanks pop tart!), orange bell peppers, sugar daddy sweet peas, zucchini, yellow summer squash, cucumber, regular chives and garlic chives, oregano, cilantro, basil, parsley, and mint. Everything took. I’ve even been trying to give away plants to anyone who wants to jump on the home-growing bandwagon.

And even though I transplanted all of my tiny plantlings late in the season (July 4th weekend) they’ve rooted in and shot up. This weekend I noticed tiny green fruit on my cherry tomato plant! I’m keeping my fingers crossed for so much bounty that I can give it away in random acts of produce throughout the summer. Here’s looking at you, tomato!



Buds! (and a six lb mystery “squash”)

July 29, 2010

Yay!  I can literally see the fruits of my labor…uh, veggies, that is.  I have buds! It’s very exciting.

The vast majority of my plantlings came from my wonderful friend and neighbor, Karla, who told me that this is some sort of squash:

Mystery Squash

I’ll be very interested in seeing what it grows into.  In case you can’t tell from the photo, it’s HUGE already. I swear it weighs a good six lbs.

Everything else is growing too! I have what appear to be two different kinds of peppers, tiny buds of sweet tomatoes, basil GALORE, dill that is growing amazingly tall, lettuce that is also growing surprisingly upwards rather than round (shows how little I know about gardening, I guess), and little round green beginnings of what will be beefsteak tomatoes that I started from seeds in Lauretta’s kitchen.

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Last weekend I removed the lattice that I had placed behind the plants.  I had second thoughts. It looked sort of cheap.  I’ll need to invest in some other means for the climbing plants to climb.  I was considering transplanting some of the plants directly into the ground for maximum growth, but at this point, I don’t want to shock anything that is budding, and besides, Dottie likes to lie in the dirt between all the pots and I don’t want her to squish anything (or pee on it).

Have good gardening tips for a novice? I want to hear about how to organize my garden to the max.  Write me some comments!


Garden epiphany

July 11, 2010

Because the whole of last week was miserably hot and humid in Chicago, I spent the entire week working on the inside of my house. By the time this weekend hit, so did the restless stir-craziness. On Sunday the temp cooled down just enough for me to justify spending some time outside to try to make the backyard mayhem into some semblance of a tranquil garden – my total fantasy.

And now I can say that I get it. I finally get it. I never thought I’d be the gardening kind, spending hours outside in the hot sun, swatting at bugs, getting mosquito bites, having to pull dirty clumps of weeds out of the ground…But I totally am. I spent the entire day outside yesterday and loved every minute of it.

The back yard hasn’t gone through any radical changes like the rest of the house. It’s always just sort of been there, under utilized. About a month ago my friends with a beautiful, bountiful garden asked me to take some plants off thier hands so they could thin out thier over-growing plot, and I graciously accepted tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, basil, squash, dill, parsley, and sage. All of these have been sitting (and thankfully growing) in containers out against the garage wall. On Sunday I set to clearing a prime patch of weeds out of an area I thought would be perfect to transplant them all.

This is just the beginning…


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