19 June 2008

in peter rabbit's dreams

We have a garden...we have always had a garden, even when we lived in family housing on campus in Fort Collins. Good times are in my memory of pulling B. in her little red wagon the couple of blocks to our university community garden plot to water, weed, and harvest our vegetables. I still squeal (yes, even at my age!) when new plants begin to emerge from the ground, when I see the first blossoms and "fruits" pop out, and when I gather produce for our meals. Each year I am filled with such great joy at watching the magic of plants grow and provide.

Some years I have been known to go a wee bit crazy with my planting. One year we grew enough beets to fill two gunny sacks (oh, yes, I mean the big, brown, scratchy ones, like what you see on old western movies being tossed into the back of buck-wagons). Pickled beets are wonderful, but I have to say after canning so many jars of pickled beets that summer, it was quite a while before I went crazy with beets again. Another year I was gifted over two dozen baby tomato plants which had been started in a greenhouse. Not wanting to waste the precious plants, I planted them all. Then to help them grow, I feed them with a generous helping of fish emulsion (not once, not twice, but several times over the summer). Oh, yes, we had tomatoes! I canned sauces and whole tomatoes until I was ready to scream. We ate them with almost every meal. We gave baskets of them away. At the end of the growing season, the monster plants were still producing at a strong pace. I had one rogue cherry tomato plant nestled between the driveway and side of the house that stretched eight feet high (past the rain gutters) and was quite the manufacturer of tiny red delights.

I am limited in my garden space these days, by design (not mine, but my husband's). I have a raised bed forty feet long and four feet wide, watered by drip irrigation set on a timer (the best invention ever). We grow the usual suspects (for us): squash (of various varieties), tomatoes (at least six different varieties), spinach, peas, beans (green and dried), swiss chard, lettuce, herbs, radishes, green onions, carrots, and beets. This year I added okra and daikon. Popping up among the vegetables are various flowers: to add extra punches of color, bring in the bees for pollination, deter harmful insects (we grow organically) , and (for some edibles like nasturtiums) add a unique twist to our meals. The garden space is intensely maximized and is at capacity. I'm not worried. I have room at the end of the garden length for a small green house. It's in the plans.

1 comment:

seecheryl@.yahoo.com said...

Hi Laurie,

I love gardens. I have a teeny tiny veggie garden in two wine barrel halves. Tomatoes, cucumbers & bells mmm...I can't wait. It's good to know I'm not the only one who gets excited at the first bloom, first baby fruit and first picking (well...everytime I pick something). Best Gardening Fun to you!