Gardening

Where to begin? At the beginning.

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So this is where I started. Doesn’t look very appealing. And it was a lot of hard work.

This is the end result of that first year. We planted strawberries (which are going strong), zucchini, crock neck or yellow squash (my personal favorite), tomatoes and bell peppers. Let me share with you what I learned about tomatoes. I bought 4 different varieties of large tomatoes, two different varieties of cherry tomatoes and grape tomatoes. HUGE HUGE  mistake. At least for our backyard garden. We had SO MANY tomatoes, I couldn’t give them away. Seriously, it was to much. I learned my lesson quickly. Now I only plant what I think we will use in one season. You can make only so much pasta sauce………… I learned so much in that first year. Bell peppers don’t like heat. If it starts to get to warm they will bolt. Watch the variety of veggies that you pick. Read the label carefully before you buy. I bought a large variety of zucchini. You can see from the picture they got huge. Also, don’t plant stuff you personally don’t like. What’s the point? I dislike zucchini, but my family professed to LOVE it……… Again I couldn’t give it away.

Everyone that I talked to and all the books I read all said it was almost impossible to grow grapes here……. Well, that sounded like a challenge. One guy at Star Nursery told me I could do it, but it would take perseverance and dedication…… phft…. Because it got planted against the wall (husband decided that), it gets neglected ALOT. The first picture is what it looked like when I ordered it. It was a year old. It takes grapes 3-4 years to yield a crop. I have been very patient, considering I’m an instant gratification kind of gal. But this year, all that neglect is paying off, as you can see. There are so many grapes on the vines and the plant has literally taken over half the garden wall. I just hope the neighbors like grapes.

Awe the Bougainvillea. It’s so beautiful in bloom. One of the things I love about it is the color. Such a huge burst of color that comes from leaves, not flowers. The bougainvillea is a tropical plant originating from Brazil, way back in the day ( that day was a Wednesday….. Not a Dane Cook fan? Oh well). The climate for the bougainvillea is tropical. If by tropical they mean feeling like your living In an oven, then that’s what we got. I don’t do anything special for it. I don’t protect it from the cold winter, I don’t prune pinch or trim. It just grows like a 60’s flower child.

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Finally for today is my berry vine. Came straight from the pacific northwest. Ha! You can see the grape reaching out for the berry. They are great friends. This is actually an older picture. Year 2 I think. The berry (which the husband has convinced the grandkids its called a poisonberry) grows profusely in Oregon. Along streets, in the woods, in yards. You can tell it’s berry season when you see people on the sides of long country roads with buckets. Just out for the day picking berries. Its the most amazing thing to watch our grandkids literally eat from the backyard. They pick strawberries, tomatoes, and berries. Instead of farm to table at our house its garden to mouth. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

My point of all of this is just this; plant what you want. What happens if it fails? Well then it fails. I planted Chinese cabbage this year, also called Napa cabbage. It was the first time trying it, I was pretty excited. I love Napa cabbage for coleslaw and stuff like that. I invested time and energy into it. I had 8 beautiful seedlings in the garden. Our weather was weird this spring. Hot, cold, hot, rainy, cold on and on. My cabbage grew and grew. I watched it everyday waiting to see the heads start to form. Instead, I got flowers…….. It never formed its heads, its bolted and started to flower. Failure…….

Just start planting stuff, even if you live in an apartment or a rental. A lot of things work well In containers. Just start at the beginning. You’ll be surprised how quickly you become addicted to growing things. Loving, nurturing, eating all those wonderful things you grew in your own special place.

Have a great day and follow your own path

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