Garden Learnin 2015 (Probably Part I)

I think I love gardening because I suck so bad at it. It’s quite a challenge and there’s always something to learn. My mom has a green thumb. She can get radiated grocery store vegetables to not only survive, but thrive. I’ve dabbled with her through the years with gardening. I once killed a houseplant that I received from my realtor. I thought I was watering it? Maybe I drowned it?

So, something happened in my head, and I decided to give the gardening thing a try. Been doing it a few years. I’ve heard of this “lazy gardener” somewhere. I think it might be a regular column? I’m even too lazy to research that! But, if that name wasn’t already taken, it’d be mine. I’m too lazy to even get an original name.

My theory is: less work, more food. There are certain crops I won’t plant because, well, its too much damn work. For instance, asparagus. Bump that noise. Tried it one year. You mean to tell me I have to wait 3 years for my first plateful? Um, no. I want to eat and I want to eat NOW. So, I stick to simple. Squash, zucchini, beans, eggplant, okra, etc.

My mom has grown her fortress of edibles on straw bails. We’ve done it a few times. The first year, when my mom said liBerally water them, my husband took her liTerally and that garden was done before it got out of the gate. Our first year of bails was a wash and we went back to the ground. We’ve since moved and this is the 3rd season in our current home. The first year, I was 8 months pregnant and wasn’t feeling quite “gardeny” that summer. Not to mention we were at flood levels that year and where we decided to put the garden turned out to be one of the lowest levels in our yard. We could swim in our garden. First year, we would’ve starved.

Second year, we liked our garden spot, but having been burned by water, we decided to try bails again. We got normal rainfall last year and I had a very successful garden. I had tomatoes and cukes out the yang, so this year I decided to skip them. We’re doing bails again this year. But, its rather expensive and I don’t feel like I get full advantage of the square footage. We hope to move our garden next year to a bigger, sunnier spot once we cut down a couple of pines. Our present garden will hopefully become the chicken coop in time. Then I can blab about lazy chicken growin.

So, this being probably my 6th-ish year gardening, I figured I may actually kind of like it, so I might as well start learning stuff. I think I like the “life” of it. I’ve noticed that I actually care for my plants. I tend to my children, animals, and hubs…but there’s something relaxing about watering a plant. Then the excitement of getting a fruit. It’s almost like, “wow, I remember when I used to change your diapers, now you’re making yummy goodness all by yourself!” There is definitely an enjoyment with the process. I think of the generations before me that actually had to depend on their garden skills to…live and stuff. So, I’ve thought maybe I should improve my pitiful “skills”.

So, learning lessons of gardening 2015. Look! There’s my garden!

DSC03340

This year I’ve got squash, zucchini, eggplant, okra, bush beans, corn, basil, cilantro, and watermelon. I’ve also planted 2 grocery celery stalks, which I think are on the way out. They looked really good, but I think this Georgia heat is a bit too intense. This friggin heat.

Backstory- its been 95 for what seems the last 3 months. That’s with a heat index of 100-something. And the bless-ed humidity. You want to know humidity? Go to Georgia in the summer. All summer. It’ll slap you when you get off the plane. The rain, meh, hasn’t been great. Though it is raining as I type. Its our first in a few weeks though.

So, things I’ve actually researched this season? A few of them I already knew little about, but thought I might actually research and DO something about. Here goes…

1) Plants need elements. What?! NPK- isn’t short for a boy band. It actually stands for vital ingredients in garden-making. Nitrogen, Phosphates, and crap….Potassium. So, I’ve sworn off fertilizers in the past because that is the opposite of lazy and cheap. But, I really like eating. So this year I’ve bought fertilizer. I bought cow poop and bone meal. Now, I know that bone meal, after 15 lengthy minutes of research, is a divisive topic. (I never realized how much I like commas), (I like to separate thoughts).

I went with team bone meal this time around because my mom swears by it, and as I said earlier, she could grow something green on the moon. Ha. My mom in astronaut gear with her hose.

2) Water hot plants. Beans turn into whiny little mama boys when its 100 degrees every day. I got 2 amazing bushels (I think bushel is a “real” measurement, so I’m probably not being exact) of beans until this darned heat/humidity double team attack. I thought they were goners BUT, da da da, I researched 5 minutes, and found that I should just water them more. Been doing that all week, and got almost a pot’s worth of beans today.

3) Powdery mildew. I’ve had it most years, but always put it on the back burner. I researched it. Everyone has it. Not just us lazy people. I read over some remedies and currently the cheapest, laziest remedy seems to be one part apple cider vinegar (have it) and 2 parts water (have it too). Score! I will try that tomorrow. Putting it on my calendar before I go to bed. Update may follow.

4) End rot. Blech. Really don’t like this one and its got to be nipped asap. Its really killing my buzz. My beautimous squash babies are starting to come in, and bang! I get teased with lovin up on a few in my skillet and now they’re end-rotting. I….researched….and found that its a calcium issue (and possibly heat). But, I’m thinking it could be calcium because they’re on those bails and there’s a legit possibility that they are lacking in all kinds of stuff. So, my first lazy and cheap remedy will be to get some gypsum. I’ll have to do this tomorrow as well because this is for serial! I can’t go to all this work just to grow some mushy Frankenstein bug food.

I’m sure there will be a Part II to this post. I still have weeks to go and haven’t seen the first worm. They’re coming. They always do. I found an “organic” spray that I’ve been using on the aphids. It seems to have been doing just as good as sevin dust. The aphids haven’t been so bad in the garden though as with my apple trees and blackberries. The muscadines look great. As does the peach and pecan trees. I’m dreading walnut season which is actually work.

I really am enjoying the whole growing thing though. I almost feel like it could be a passion. I enjoy the learning, relaxation, excitement, and mostly the life. Its a different sensation than caring for your child, but there’s still the residue of amazement. There’s something primitive about it. There’s something empowering about it. Yeah, it might be a passion.

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