Thursday, July 26, 2012

Green Acres: slacker in springtime

Some of what I grew took off:

Beets. I chose a variety of blood red Russian beets. I had never actually eaten beets before, but I figured they couldn't be that bad --and they looked cool, like the internal organs of some very weird animal.

Red leaf lettuce. I chose that because I buy it. Red leaf is my favorite, and I figured if I grew lettuce, I wouldn't have to buy it at the store, which would literally save me pennies a day!

Spinach. I eat a lot of that. I cook with it, use it in salads and when I can't find anything more appropriate to snack on will stuff my mouth with that --not because it's sweet, but because a handful of spinach typically kills any desire to eat --and sometimes live.

Zucchini. That stuff is going nuts. I can't keep up with it and nobody wants it. I've tried giving it away. People just glare at it. I've frozen a few pounds of it, will dehydrate some more and may see if I can make a few dozen loaves of zucchini bread.

Pumpkins. Also doing well. I have half a dozen already on the vine, a couple almost the size of a volleyball.

Tomatoes. The jury is out on them. I haven't harvested any, but I have tomatoes on the vine so that goes in the "win" column.

A lot of what I planted did not:

Carrots. Technically, they grew. I picked some variety that was supposed to be able to grow anywhere, but the roots never dug down more than two or three inches.

Eggplant: That flat out failed.

Peppers: I planted four different varieties. What the zucchini plants didn't outright crush, the fucking deer devoured, along with my beans.

Okra --Oh, that's a funny story.

The patch of ground I chose to begin my garden was completely overrun with weeds, mostly poke weed. Back in the winter, on a warm day, I'd spent hours hacking my way through them, digging up roots and filling plastic bags with vegetable matter that smelled like the corpse of a three-day-old possum.

It was lovely.

I'd tried to get rid of as much of the weeds as I could, even though I knew the only way that was possible was by spraying the ground with gasoline and setting it ablaze for several days.

I planned on weeding --the only problem was with my limited experience growing things, I was sure what constituted a weed and what didn't.

With the carrots, lettuce, spinach and the beets, I got a leg up. They liked cooler temperatures and sprouted in neat little rows and by the time other plants started cropping up, I could figure out which was which.

Now, some of my garden (the tomatoes, the eggplant and the peppers) I started indoors, but that left a lot of other things I had to try and feel my way through and as the weather warmed up, everything began to sprout. It started getting confusing as to what was what.

The worst of it was the okra.

I eat some okra. I like it fried and I like it in my chicken stew. I don't buy it often, but I thought I could grow enough to freeze, use all winter long, and it would be a  nice little reminder of what I'd accomplished.

I planted my row, followed the directions on the package and hoped the weather would be warm enough to encourage the plants to grow, to thrive. I babied them, because they seemed like a very southern vegetable. I wasn't sure if they'd actually take, but I kept them watered, weeded devotedly; and made sure the other plants didn't crowd.

By the early part of June, I had a nice row of hearty looking green plants, but they had a funny smell --like cheap perfume, kind of oily and they also seemed to have spread to other parts of the garden, in places they really couldn't be.

At some point I'd pulled all my okra plants up and cultivated an entire row of ragweed.    

My father says every year you gardening is a learning year. Nature is a school.

Apparently, I need to repeat a grade.


Autumn Dawn said...

Don't feel bad! It actually sounds pretty successful. I have planted carrots 3 years in a row & never harvested more than 2 or 3 sad little stragglers. I also lost my peppers last year only to find them growing woody & bitter this spring when we went to clear the plot. You're doing great (other than the okra incident of which we will not speak!)

eclectic guy said...

"At some point I'd pulled all my okra plants up and cultivated an entire row of ragweed."

This bears a "rock on."

eclectic guy said...

"At some point I'd pulled all my okra plants up and cultivated an entire row of ragweed."

I seem to kill or stunt all plant life. I don't get it.

eclectic guy said...

I stunt or kill all plant life.