Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Gardening Bug by Duck Momma

Even though it is cloudy, gray, and unpleasantly below freezing I have been busy drooling (much like my little Goose) over my shiny new seed catalog. I am currently planning my garden for the year. My garden space is not terribly typical. I have a lovely sunny flower bed in the front of my house; I am currently trying to rescue it from the evil grasp of creeping ground cover (pause for shudder). I just can’t stand the stuff and its taking up sunny warm ground; it’s the ‘beach front property’ location. Last year my tomatoes got comically out of control in the tight space, appartenly 8 plants was a bit much. Who knew! This year will be different. I will take back more of my dirt and make it work.

Gardening was a special activity for my mom and me growing up and I can’t wait to share that with Goose. (She got her nickname for the sounds she made early on, I swear she was talking to the flock out back) There is nothing like starting those little seeds in dirt, watering them, and praying not only for sprouts but for all bugs to stay away. Gardening can provide such a sense of accomplishment and a tasty harvest. This year I will be trying 3 varieties of tomatoes( cherry, Early Girl, and an heirloom variety called Black Krim), Sweet potatoes, cucumbers (for pickling), sweet peppers, Kale (I love my Irish roots and am constantly seeking out ways to connect, more on that later), and finally a lovely array of herbs.

I would never consider myself a pro or master gardener, but I have learned some pretty handy tips over the years.
• First ask your mom. Chances are she will know a thing or two you don’t.
• If she doesn’t know than refer to your best friend or neighbor (preferably the one with an amazing flower bed that puts yours to shame. . . I have never seen such healthy hostas)
• Plan your garden for things you will actually use and hopefully produce that works together. It sounds silly but I spent many years planting hot peppers. . . I hate hot peppers.
• Try something new, you never know if you don’t try.
• Share. If you have extra,share your harvest with family, friends, and neighbors. Its so rewarding to give, plus you can be proud you grew that!
• Egg shells ground up look silly as you dry them, but they really do help the soil and your tomato crop. It helps replace calcium and flower end rot! If that’s not for you, Hyponex is great stuff!
• Try to be nice to the spiders and earth worms, they are helping.
• Salt really does kill slugs. . . too much though and nothing will grow. Ever. Lesson learned.
• Lastly, read the packets of seeds. If it needs sun or extra watering you really don’t want to miss those details.

Gardening isn’t for everyone, but if you haven’t tried you should give it a shot. You never know, you might like it! For me the fun doesn’t stop at harvest, it only leads to more. I will have starting pictures soon, stay tuned! And now I leave you to dream of red ripe tomatoes and plump green beans, I have to go stop the baby from kissing the dog!

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