Saturday, August 01, 2009

Finally, My Own Garden Again

Since my children were small, I have had a vegetable garden. I started small in our first duplex in Palo Alto, with tomatoes and zucchini. When we bought our first house, we had a plot the size of a double-wide driveway, plus room in the back for peppers and melons. We had an herb box and grew lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, carrots, melons. We also had peach trees in the back that graced us with the most heavenly peaches ever. We also had the good fortune of sharing in the bounty of my godparent’s garden. (In fact, much of what I know about growing a garden I learned from my godfather.) They had 1 1/2 acres at the edge of suburbia with 10 kinds of fruit trees, as well as a big plot and a greenhouse. Much of our food came from these two sources.

When we moved to our current home fourteen years ago, it took us awhile to get a garden going. The back yard (as well as the house) was a terrible mess and took two years before we had a good garden started. This continued until a few years ago, when work and serious family stuff got in the way. I’ve had the odd tomato plant or two, some peppers and herbs, but it has been rather pathetic. The lack of a proper garden made me very sad.

Earlier this year Mr. B and I planted a raised bed for some friends in Carlsbad. We filled the bed, set up a whole drip system on timer, and planted half the bed with tomatoes, zucchini, lettuce, carrots and herbs. When they started harvesting, I got a bit jealous. I’ve been making do with two unusable planting areas. One is adjacent to the driveway where Mr. B planted string beans on a whim. The second is alongside house where I grow my herbs. Both of these are 8 inches wide. Something had to be done. Soon. Sooner than soon.

Brilliant Daughter had been complaining about some unsightly plantings in the backyard. She thought they were 3 1/2 foot weeds. (Like I’d let that happen!) The plant was pretty in its heyday, but had become overgrown and an eyesore. Consultation with Mr. B and Butcher Son resulted in an agreement to rip it and its companion plants out in favor of a garden. I researched what would be best to put in this time of year, and we agreed on a list. This put a big smile on my face.

I set about to get seeds and start pots, so we would be ready. Lettuce, cilantro and two types of pumpkins started to spring to life. Carrots, radishes, and sorrel seeds would go right into the ground once prepared. We also wanted broccoli, cauliflower and beets. I’m thinking of adding horseradish, too.

Butcher Son spent his first day off removing the offending plants and the second day rototilling his little heart out. Rototil, weed, rototil, add amendment, rototil. I watched gratefully from the sidelines, spread out on a chaise longue, proofreading a manuscript, again with a smile on my face. You can see the end result below. I've located the garden next to Mr. B's Kaffir lime (bought in memory of my godfather), and my two remaining lemon bushes (we sadly lost one this spring).

So the day has come. It’s time to plant and set up the drip system. So you can imagine what we will be doing this weekend.

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