The fall before my oldest son turned one I set up two raised garden beds in my backyard. I planted a bunch of vegetables that were loved to death by caterpillars – the big, juicy Chartreuse ones that make you feel like you are murdering a small animal when you stomp them and their guts ooze and leave a greasy residue you have to wash away with the hose. YUCK. Weeds then came along and choked what the caterpillars rejected. At least my procreation plans moved right along and I got pregnant again. Fast-forward two years and now that I no longer have a baby attached to my breast (well not for nourishment anyway) the second incarnation of my garden is underway. Three cedar log raised beds replace the two plywood 4×4 beds I began with three years ago. I’ve also repurposed one corner flowerbed for edible plants. Hold your breath, here’s what growing in my suburban backyard:
- Ronde de Nice zucchini
- Flageolet beans
- Calypso beans
- Christmas lima beans
- Miniature white cucumber
- Forellenschluss lettuce
- Aunt Molly’s ground cherry
- Sweet Pea currant tomatoes
- Rainbow tomatoes
- Heirloom Greek tomatoes
- Bell peppers
- Greek Oregano
- Bee balm
- Red Velvet Sunflowers
- Mint from summers past that refuses to die
Okay, I have only three raised garden beds, (well, a total of four beds with the ground level plot where I’ve sown the ground cherries and one of the beds is 4×7) how, you might ponder, do I have room for all these plants?
Well…. seeds are miniscule capsules of future promises and you can toss A LOT of them onto the soil and their green heads so teeny tiny when they pop above the soil.
When I planned the “major” plants, I really had no idea how big the beans would grow (see previous post about “Cooking Beans”) and now I wish I had planted more of them. And due to my congenital lack of patience, I want all the bare dirt covered NOW with a carpet of verdant, fecund green.
The growing rate of the different plants took me by surprise. I planted all the seeds on February 26 in peat pots. Some seeds lulled around like divas in a mud bath and some set their sights on the checkered flag. Now in early May the Christmas limas have outgrown their 6’ bamboo supports, my currant tomatoes have teeny yellow blossoms on foot tall plants, and the squash pumps out blossoms like Lucy & Ethel’s chocolate factory. Sadly, troopers that they are, my little ground cherries could be mistaken for an amuse bouche garnish. However, I do realize that if all goes as planned, come July, my backyard will make the Little Shop of Horrors look like a petunia patch.
No seriously, at this point in time, most of the plants are in their adolescence, just now showing the curves, muscles and hairy patches that indicate looming adulthood but not yet crying out for elbow room. I have really had to contain myself when I make “quick” trips to Lowe’s or Home Depot. The stores now stock a much better variety of seed than they have in the past and I find irresistible those little packets with their pretty pictures and the magical music the seeds sing to me when I shake the packet! Just yesterday I caved in and bought rosemary and lavender plants because their plump sappy sticky bottle green leaves wafted their hypnotizing fragrance into the air and I fell in their thrall. Those now abide in clay pots.
Next year I will be better able to anticipate my needs and so I will (promise!) purchase all my seeds through seed savers exchanges to do my part in promoting plant diversity by using heirloom, non-GMO, organic seeds. Who knows, maybe I’ll even sketch a garden plan.