I have a confession: I am a desperate gardener.
I used to have a green house. It was a half round, commercial build-your-own that spanned one side of my house on a side of the house that was elevated from the ground by 5 feet. The floor of the green house was wooden shipping pallets that let the water flow out. The covering was clear industrial plastic. The apex of the half round reached to the eaves of the house above the level of the house’s windows. In the winter I could open the windows and let the humidity from the greenhouse inside to counteract the dry heated air inside our dwelling space.
I loved it. I flourished with it’s demands, I started hundreds of plants from seed in winter.
Then one day a late snow storm hit while I was on a sales trip and when I came home my half round was flattened by the weight of the heavy moisture laden snow. Oh, the plants were all right but the green house frame was too bent to stand upright within And it was close to the time to put everything in the ground anyway.
I lived in the woods on a mountain.
I had recently cleared woods and virgin meadows that I planted and harvested and had terrific bounties of produce. I had nightmares of being chased by haricot verts that were threatening to become beyond the ripe age for picking.
The bane of my existence was the voracious Japanese beetle.
I trapped them using scent lures over 55 gallon trash cans with soapy water in the bottom. The traps had to be emptied and the beetles buried.
I learned that chickens would eat them. DH and I decided to use an old metal shed as a chicken house and we purchased 100 day old baby chicks to start our poultry endeavors. We butchered the roosters at 16 weeks of age for the freezer and kept the hens for laying eggs. I devised a way to serve the beetle to the chickens and the whole system worked beautifully. I worked very hard too.
Now I live in the suburbs of a small Southern university town and have restrictions on what I can do with my yard. I can’t have chickens, I can’t have a green house, I can’t have a fenced in front yard. My husband built me a raised bed box, 3 foot by 6 foot and told me I had to “stay in your box”. So OK, I planted succession style, carrots under the okra with tomatoes hanging off the side on supports, etc.
Then my sewing work got to busy to have time to harvest and process. And then I was too sick to work hard. So the raised box was neglected and became the kitty litter box.
And the frame of the box fell apart, struck by the summer’s necessary quick and dirty lawn mower.
Here’s the raised bed graveyard
Now, I ask you, how can a girl like me live like this? Never mind, I adjust and cope, adjust and cope, never give up and always keep on going.
This spring I planted in the landscaping in the front of our house, just a few plants to allow us to harvest as needed during our busy season when time to go the grocery store is at a premium. We had to remove a couple of large Arborvitae that had been attacked by bag worms and I filled up the holes with garden vegetables.
Here’s the scene of the crime:
in the nicest neighborhood I’ve ever lived in
I don’t spray, I didn’t fertilize (thought I normally do), I didn’t do any more than water as needed this year. And I was rewarded by the resident praying mantis with new hatchlings! Thank you, dear scary-looking bug.
I’ve been sewing like a mad woman. I’ll have completed garments to show you in a few days.
Without more wordage here’s the garden in the 90+ degree heat and impossible humidity of our gloriously Southern summer
A Roma tomato being sunburned without leaves to cover it
in the tomato patch (former site of a winter-killed boxwood) under the spare bedroom window that is comprised of a Roma, a Better Boy and a Brandywine (heirloom).
and the Sweet 100’s sky climb cherry tomato (these will come back year after year as volunteers)
interspersed with red chilies
and barely forming green peppers
and a strange-to-me new okra variety called “Cajun’s Delight”. They are shorter than my finger so far with all my neglect but the fruits are normal sized
Separated from this planting by a boxwood is this enthusiastic cucumber
and two Blue Lake pole bean plantings (no one has complained about the sticks [Southern for supports] so far)
backed by Japanese Tree Mallow that can not be killed off by cold weather nor neglect and magenta and yellow 4 O’Clocks
a nice Souther-style front porch and and a small decorative urn with multi-colored sages, miniature trailing mauve petunias, and multi-colored sweet potato vines
As we proceed along the front of the house, hidden amongst the liriope muscari and Mary Nell holly bushes is traditional Clemson Spineless okra, but not a big enough planting to make a gumbo
and around the bend is the zucchini and yellow squash plantings
and the beginnings of the eggplant, both Japanese and
I didn’t think I’d get sunflowers (must have sunflowers!) this year as the birds eat each and every seedling as they sprouted
unbeatable Shasta Daisies
Sedum by the mailbox
and a few Stella D’Oro lilies making a mid-summer comeback
back porch herbs
volunteer catnip flowers
bath for our friend the doves who like a private back yard environment
and the front yard bath for the show-off robins
Wild roses growing up a sycamore tree
the woods beyond the wet weather creek
Living Christmas tree from Christmas 2000
fabulous bark of the Black River Birch
Mojito (spearmint) plants!
Life is good