gardening lessons

It’s harvest season. The end of gardening. My first foray into growing food was a mixed success. I definitely started out with too many plants. Things grew. There were winners and there were losers. The zucchini never produced fruit. Flowers yes, but no fruit. I mentioned this to my neighbour who nodded knowingly. “Gay zucchini,” she said. Also they crowded out the broccoli which grew at odd angles to reach the sun, crowding out the carrots. The carrots were good but they were small. Lesson: spread stuff out. Buy zucchini at the store or offer to take some off the hands of successful zucchini growers who are always looking to unload a squash or two.

The kale and chard worked. Lesson: repeat next year.

The parsley worked too. Lesson: don’t plant parsley. You never eat it.

The upside-down tomatoes kind of worked. They grew well and produced fruit but they suffered in the heat of the summer and weren’t very abundant. Lesson: if you want lots of tomatoes, don’t leave town for six weeks during the hottest summer on record.

The basil was good too. It needed eggshells around the base of each plant to keep the slugs off. I have a few jars of frozen pesto to show for this year’s crop. I can maybe get one more jar out of what’s left. Lesson: Put the eggshells on earlier. Pick and make into pesto more frequently.

The pole beans completely crowded out the sugar snap peas and then, like something out of Day of the Triffids, proceeded to wind their way up the flowering almond tree. I’m still picking beans out of the tree. At least the silly flowering almond is proving useful. Lesson: plant pole beans next to really tall poles. It’s right there in the name. It should have been obvious.

And that sums up gardening 2010. There were more failures than successes in this year’s garden. But I still rounded out plenty of dinners with a walk to the front yard rather than a walk to the grocery store so it was worth it.

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3 responses to “gardening lessons

  1. Parsley’s virtue, even if you don’t like the taste, is that it is a solid source of iron.

  2. Lesson from experienced vegetable grower (!): some years are better than others. The beans were dry and gross in July, but delicious and juicy in September. Last year my cucumbers were ENORMOUS. This year, small and twisted into bizarre and slightly creepy shapes. I didn’t have much success with my zuccinis either.

  3. The Parsley is also a favourite of beautiful swallow tail butterflies (like milk weed is to monarchs) and is so hardy it sometimes survives the winter. If it isn’t taking up key real estate and you can leave it, it could be a nice sacrifice to the bug kingdom and you may get some beautiful bug guests other than the yucky slugs. Warning: the caterpillars are CRAZY looking (http://lancaster.unl.edu/pest/resources/butterflymothrearing290.shtml)

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