Who here grows (or has ever grown) a vegetable garden?
It’s incredibly rewarding when it works and the biggest disappointment when it doesn’t.
We had rain showers all day yesterday and when I walked out of the house this morning, my tomato plants were almost three inches taller! Or maybe I’m exaggerating. Us garden geeks, we do that sometimes.
So last summer, Joe and I dug a vegetable patch in our front yard. We bought seven tomato plants, four pepper plants and one cucumber plant. We laid spinach seeds, carrots and broccoli. We planted basil, oregano and rosemary. We were convinced our garden would yield so many vegetables that neighbors would grow fat off our land.
The attempt was a total bust. We planted at the end of June, when the UV rays in Florida are so hot and deadly you apply sunscreen before getting the mail and the thunderstorms are so brutal you dare not leave the house without an industrial strength umbrella. Dumb. Dumb. Dumb.
By July, most of our plants had turned yellow from too much water; their foliage charred from too much sun. The only plant with potential was one unruly cucumber and by mid-July even that was on its way out thanks to a gluttonous aphid.
This year is going to be different.
This year Joe dug the garden even bigger. We purchased additional stones, fencing, a soaker hose and eight bags of organic soil, which I know sounds prissy and redundant. We planted eight tomato plants, eight peppers, six zucchini, two cucumbers, and rows of snap peas, carrots and spinach in addition to the usual herbs. We did it the first week in March thinking we were total pros.
And then every champion gardener I met informed me that we were too late. Again.
Ah well. Wish us luck. I’m much more jaded about it than Joe. He thinks we’re growing enough tomatoes to make a sauce. I hope he’s right because at this point our reputation is on the line. Neighbors are beginning to wander into our yard to admire our bountiful jungle, which is visible from the road and will be a public embarrassment should it flop. Again.
Seriously people. If I can’t pass out fat zucchinis at the end of May, I’m gonna be bitter.
PS. Fun fact: Joe doesn’t eat vegetables.
PPS. I have a hanging strawberry plant on the front porch. It gives me at least two red berries a day and shows no signs of slowing down. If the garden should take a turn for the worse, this is my consolation prize.