Someday, I want to be a master gardener. I’m not exactly sure what defines a master gardener, but I think it means you’ve spend decades playing in the dirt and tending plants as they spring up, grow, and die.
For now, I’m quite happy to play in my little patches of dirt and smile with delight when the children come running inside with crisp warm cucumbers for lunch or devour serving after serving of fresh kale chips.
A view from my kitchen window: cucumbers, beans, kale, garlic, pansies, leeks, tomatoes, peppers, more kale, marigolds, and basil.
In my favorite gardening book, One Magic Square, Lolo encouraged gardeners to expect a handful of plants in your garden to grow really well, most to do moderately, and a few to straggle along. (Assuming you care for the garden, of course.)
This year has not been a good one for my tomatoes, but the kale? Oh my! We’ve enjoyed dozens of panfuls of kale chips, cream of kale soup, kale in breakfast smoothies, and I’ve frozen a good bit too.
Last year, we had a horrible squash bug and cucumber beetle problem. (Imagine thousands of squash bugs swarming over the only squash plant.)
When I asked an experienced gardener at church (who shared a bagful of beautiful squash with us) for advice, she said, “Keep the plants happy. Be ahead, not behind, on watering. Bugs seem to sense a distressed plant and attack it with a vengeance.”
After a delightfully wet spring, we’ve had a long hot and dry spell. To keep the plants happy, somedays I’ve watered twice! (Time to get more mulch, methinks!)
When I mourned the loss of two of the raspberry canes I planted, I had no idea that the one remaining cane would be so prolific I have to weed-whack around the bed regularly to keep the yard from being overrun!
Gardening is practice in patience. After wanting to plant strawberries for years, it was hard to pluck the beautiful white blossoms off this spring so that they could be strong for next year. But we did.
Asparagus is even harder. You aren’t supposed to pick any asparagus the first year (and hardly any the second) so that the roots have time to develop.
Some of the spears are plump and look so delicious. So far we’ve been good…. master gardeners say the patience pays off in years and years of fruitful harvests.
Hidden behind the asparagus are little patches of parsley. Parsley is supposed to repel the asparagus beetle.
Since our garden seems to have attracted most of the bad (and good) bugs known to
man gardeners, I won’t hold my breath.
How does your garden grow?
[Full disclosure: links to products in this post are my referral links.]