Gardening 101: Lessons Learned
I grew up on a half acre of corn, every vegetable imaginable, a strawberry patch and a slew of egg layin’ chicks; gardening should come easy right?
Well, I suppose gardening did come easy, it was “farming” that posed quite the obstacle.
I began my green thumb adventures with a small flower garden off the front stoop. Bought the plants, dug the holes, patted down the dirt, a little water – and instant success.
But planting a full blown garden is a task much more encompassing ..and downright overwhelming.. than patting down a few perennials.
LESSONS LEARNED thus far (bear with me, hopefully the posts will become more comprehensible as I go):
1. Gardening is much more like baking than cooking – you have to read the directions and actually pay attention. If the radishes need to be 6 inches apart and get 4 hours of sunlight, then thats that, no room for objections.
2. The ground needs to be weeded and tilled ..daily.
3. Fertilizer doesn’t work if you just sprinkle it atop your little sprouts (go figure). Buy a 10-10-10, which is 10 percent nitrogen, 10 percent phosphate and 10 percent potash. I don’t know the significance of this ratio, or even what potash is.. but the sales clerk swore it would help my tomatoes thrive so I’m giving it a shot. You sprinkle it evenly over your plants then use a hoe to break up the dirt around each plant (careful!) then mist with a good dose of water.
4. Sweet potatoes don’t grow in New England, and if they do then there is a giant sweet potato conspiracy sweeping the northeast.
5. Lettuce from the garden tastes like dirt, no matter how much you wash it.
6. slugs are evil and should be murdered. Earth worms are good. Don’t light any fires on your garden patch (not sure why you would- but i’m just relaying the ‘valuable’ information I have acquired today) because it will deter our worm buddies from chillin in the soil.
7. Grow an herb garden – they are effortless and the results are instantaneous in comparison to the months I have to wait for the damn pumpkins only for some ratty kid to come stomp em.
8. weeding is incredibly strenuous. Consider this when planning out how much garden space you’d like to fill.
9. Grow rhubarb, then read my blog for how to make ruhbarb pie. For some reason old people get super nostalgic at the mention of this odd fruit (is it really a fruit?) – bring some to the nursing home and relish in the celebrity status it will elevate you to.