jeudi 14 avril 2011

Growing a High-Maintenance Garden

Aside from my personal vegetable garden, we have a family garden that we put in last year. We tried to grow squash and beans but the zucchini and the monster tomatoes took over. Well, and then the tomatoes suffocated the zucchini so it ended up being a tomato garden.

Part I: Before we planted our garden we came to the understanding that it was to be an organic garden. Marigolds. Pepper spray. Hand-picking the caterpillars and relocating them.

It was great, actually. The plants were doing really well. Unnervingly well. Especially the tomatoes, which by mid-summer were taller than a regular-sized adult. The caterpillars, too, were probably snacking on the robins that popped in once in a while.

It was great until the tomato plants grew bigger than my car. Then it was scary. We could almost hear a fe fi fo fum floating from the tops of the tomato stalks. The caterpillars were multiplying. Unfamiliar insects were breeding in the shade of the tomato trees. We should have started pruning a long time ago.

Part II: The Fertilizer Man (sorry I can't think of a more dignified name for him) was not on board with the organic aspect of the organic garden. I walked outside one day and my mom handed me a broom. "Here," she said, "the lawn man came."

Sweeping fertilizer pellets out of a garden is hard. Sweeping fertilizer pellets out of a tomato jungle is harder.

I guess the point of saying this is to emphasize that we can fuss as much as we want over things, but sometimes we just can't control what happens.  We planted marigolds to use as a pest repellant so that we wouldn't have to use chemicals in the garden.  The marigolds ended up thriving on artificial grass fertilizer.

(Organic gardening is worth the fuss, mind you.  I just wish the Fertilizer Man agreed.)

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