Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Garden of EATIN’

It has been some time since we have had a real garden. It is not for trying but between the animals and trees blocking out the sun, it can be a struggle. Last year, we finally quit trying to fight the foliage and simply moved a few tomato cages to the front planter. Why growing crazy vines in the front yard adds to our oddball reputation, at least we got a few cherry tomatoes to eat for a change.

Today we made big strides in bringing our garden back (in the BACK yard that is) and into the light. Basically we built two raised container bed that are 20 inches wide, 8 feet long, and 12 inches deep. I ripped a single sheet of ¾ inch plywood for the sides and used wall stones to brace the ends and hold the container bed walls apart. My wife attached a couple of cedar cross braces to finish off the installation. The hard part of course was moving a yard of soil excavated by hand to fill those boxes. But the good news is that the beds now edge our backyard patio with a full view of the sun.

While most REAL gardeners will laugh at our meager garden, the truth is that it provides quite a bit of space to experiment and grow some fun veggies and herbs. We like eating our own food but never have grown enough volume to can or store food in the off season. We do love to grow our own salsa fixins’ like peppers, green onions, and cilantro. Home gardening is a good stress reliever and once in awhile worthy of a fun story or two. We once grew a 115 pound pumpkin which I cut out from the bottom and wore it as a real GREAT pumpkin head to scare the neighbor kids. We have also grown gourds, dried and painted them, then filled them with BB’s to make our own maracas.

But our garden still is mostly about eating and frankly a chance for a little outdoor exercise in the fresh air and sun. I had better not stray too far from that patio though. Those towering trees will still surely impede my chances at getting a dose of Vitamin D. I’m afraid if that happens too often, my wife will end up putting me out in a cage on the front planter too. Gee, I hope my neighbors don’t stare.

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