Tuesday, April 21, 2009

How does your garden grow?


It seems we've always had a vegetable garden. There was a large one with corn, strawberries, tomatoes, snap and butter beans, and corn when I was a kid. It was my job to water the tomato plants and pick the beans.

I would haul buckets of water from the house to the garden--back and forth toting a five gallon bucket to keep the plants from dying. I don't remember getting much in the way of allowance for doing that. It was just something that my father told me to do, so I did it. And it wasn't something that I particularly wanted to do.

But his tomato and strawberry plants were his favorites. He would carefully remove the suckers from the tomatoes. He liked the Big Boy and Better Boy varieties. These plants would grow to be over six feet, and he put wire cages around them so that they wouldn't bend or be broken in wind.

I learned about side dressing the tomatoes with fertilizer. And often fish carcasses were buried next to the plants. My father said that they were good for growth. I remember not wanting to pour too much water at a time on a plant because I didn't want to unearth a smelly fish carcass.

The tomato plants are in the garden now. The first suckers have been removed. The lettuce is coming up. The herbs are doing great. I don't have to drag buckets of water these days. There's an irrigation system set up to drip water into the neat rows of wooden boxes that contain the plants.

It's a great sense of satisfaction to see the plants growing and thriving. They do well in spring before the heat of summer starts to get to them.

I like the earthy smell of the garden. There aren't any fish carcasses there. But the smell of sage, rosemary, and sweet basil provide a great aroma. And every time a sucker is pinched off a plant, I smell that pungent tomato plant smell on my fingers. It takes me back in a good way to times past.

It takes work to have a garden. I learned that years ago toting water. There's weeding, fertilizing, checking for insects and blight. But the reward of tasting that first home grown tomato makes it all worthwhile. I think that my father would agree on that and be smiling to see the blooms and the little green fruit starting to appear.

17 comments:

  1. thanks for this, so far my garden is just learning to be what it is.I did plant some carrots and radishes, Wes brought me home some starter tomatoes and some jalepeno plants and it was very sweet. Next we have our bell peppers, squash and cucumbers. I am not sure why some plants need to start inside but I will be trying to start some more this weekend. Truly a learning experience for someone who never tried to grow anything before, I also have some spinach and lettuce varieties growing and have started an insectary to bring in the good bugs. we are going for organic, no pesticides or weed stuff, so it will be work, but I am excited to see something come of this. thanks so much for your comments.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I need some serious help/tips/advice - dude, whatever you can give me - about gardening - I am starting my first one this year. I'm kind of intimidated.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I used to love to garden when my boys were toddlers - I wouls spend whole afternoons out in the garden tending and watering and the boys of course would help... such good memories I know that some day - when I retire and have grand kids I will be back in the garden again and it will hold such dear memories as the ones I treasure now.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Good luck - you're an Al-Anon outstanding in his field...

    ReplyDelete
  5. Oh how I wish I had the motivation, green thumb, or whatever to plant a vegetable garden.

    When I was young we always had tomatoes that my mom and dad tended. They were out-of-this-world good.

    I saw an ad for topsy-turvy tomatoes - growing them from a hanging contraption. I've thought about trying it, but ????

    My grandparents also always had a big vegetable garden that I remember seeing when we visited them each summer.

    Great memories. Thanks Syd,
    PG

    ReplyDelete
  6. My parents always had a garden when I was growing up as well. We lived in the country on five acres and we grew squash, watermelon, strawberries, green beans, corn, tomatoes, and more.

    I used to hate, hate, hate having to help out with my parents in that garden. Now I would give anything to be able have that time back. Hindsight is 20/20 huh?

    ReplyDelete
  7. Your post made me think of relationships and how much work they need to thrive. And pulling out a fish carcass here and there - well doesn't that always happen?

    ReplyDelete
  8. last yr. we put some tomato and pepper plants here and there in flower gardens. This yr. they're all in one vegetable garden. But, it's an area that we need to use a sod cutter to remove the top layer of grass & weeds. we're going to try some other vegetables this yr. too, like lettuce, zucchini, maybe green beans?

    ReplyDelete
  9. Great post Syd. I love to garden. This summer I am happy enough with my tomatoes in containers on the deck and my herb garden....the same, in containers on the deck. Next summer though, my goal is to build a large raised bed garden with fencing all around and a gate with an archway. :o) Our attention went this spring to extending our deck. One big project a year for us.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Our ground isn't fully thawed yet! You're evil!! I want tomato plants growing in my garden!! And you had to evoke the scent of the tomato plant too?! Evil, I say, evil!!!

    ReplyDelete
  11. My father always had a garden (I mean in season) and I do not. Don't know why, just don't have the motivation.

    But I'm not wasting time looking for something to do, either.

    Your blogs are always interesting, Syd, whether about 11th Tradition, ot growing tomatoes!

    ReplyDelete
  12. hmmm, vegetable gardens also remind me of childhood. and i could never understand why plant veggies if you could plant fruit...

    ReplyDelete
  13. The first garden I ever had the opportunity to grow was when I was in my late thirties. At first I wasn't sure which was the weed and which was the plant...having never been around gardens. It was quite an adventure. My favorite thing that I grew was sugar baby watermelons...they turned out awesome...delicious and my kids loved them. IT was a great adventure. Now I grow tiny gardens in my backyard with just a few tomatoes, cucumbers, and zucchini and some spices...That first garden was huge lol :)

    ReplyDelete
  14. I'm excited to plant again this year. Skipped it last year b/c I was doing remodeling and felt too busy. This year will be snap peas, tomatoes, and basil.

    ReplyDelete
  15. i "tried" a container garden last year...it didn't work out...I need to find something that works.

    ReplyDelete
  16. This is our second year to have a garden and it is a family venture with my father-in-law and nephews. When I work in the garden it reminds me of my childhood and spending time with Grandpa in his garden. It often seems like so much work...but really we're just making happy memories.

    ReplyDelete

Let me know what you think. I like reading what you have to say.