Boy, have I ever learned about gardening in the past few weeks. I’ve learned that you can leave your garden for a holiday weekend and come home to a prairie. The lesson from that is one should put down weed barriers wherever the crops are not planted. It took me over three hours (and several beers) to get rid of the weeds in the area between the rows.
I’ve learned a great way to “stake” the tomatoes, using string rather than wooden stakes or cages. I loosely tie the string around the base of the stem, wrap it around the stem, and tie it onto a cross rope that I’ve strung across several 5 foot tall stakes. As the plant grows, I have to add another rotation of string wrapping. I’ve also put in a couple of horizontal “cross strings” to help support the plants. So far, so good.
I’ve learned about plant sex. I know my cucumbers are having manic cucumber sex, whereas the zucchini may need to visit Dr. Ruth. I know the difference between male and female flowers, and how to force the issue with zucchini, so to speak. They’re propagating much better now, thanks to my handiwork.
I’ve learned that you really do need to thin your crop, particularly for the plants that produce in the dirt (carrots, turnips, beets).
I’ve learned that I planted my cauliflower, beets, turnips and carrots too late in the season. I was a little late with the lettuce, but it’s done just fine.
I’ve learned that even home-grown turnips still taste just like turnips. Sorry, just not all that exciting. And so far, I can’t say my lettuce or those baby beets taste that much better than what I can get at the farmers market, but I appreciate them a lot more.
I’ve learned that Pabst Blue Ribbon is mighty refreshing when weeding a garden. I haven’t worked outside while drinking beer in a LONG time, and that’s a nice benefit of gardening.
Perhaps most importantly, I’ve learned that I like gardening. It’s a calming endeavor, and I’ve really needed that of late. I like watering the garden, and even though it’s a pain in the ass, the weeding can be pretty cathartic, too. I want to learn more, and to do a better job next time around. I want to trim trees so I will get more sun (not gonna happen).
And now that I’ve harvested the beets and turnips, I’m looking for something new to plant. Any suggestions?