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2020-09-29-4:59 p.m.

Garden Update

September 29, 2020

The garden probably began about a year ago. A gate that Ben’s dad built was already in place, so I set some pavers in front of it to mark the entrance. I dug up an onion plot in February, and a little later I put in a small potato patch.

This was the beginning.

I started picturing the garden in its finished form, or as much as I could imagine while looking at a large field of grass. Ben cannot see inside my mind, but is very helpful with any specific tasks I give him. I made a drawing for him and he liked that. Even though it is not detailed or complete, it gives us some guidance, and helps him to catch my vision, which is a haphazard mix of flowers and vegetable and berries and landscaping!

Soon after I planted onions, it rained and continued to rain for weeks. My poor onion patch was in a low part of the garden and literally flooded. The potatoes were nearby, and also flooded. I think they just rotted in the ground. We would go out there and stare at the ground. Do you think that’s a potato? I don’t know… Yes, I think it’s a potato! No, it’s a weed. Where is that potato today? It’s gone. No, there it is!

I think they just quietly rotted. At least the onions grew a little and I got to use some of them before they got mushy and rotted.

This was our first experience. Disappointing, but we were not defeated.

I planted green beans where the onions had been. I expanded the potato patch and planted green beans there as well, in succession, for staggered harvest. Little did I know that I was preparing for the onslaught of grasshoppers and their ravenous appetites. I would harvest a handful of green beans and cook them for dinner. It was fun to actually eat something we had grown, even if it was barely a taste. The grasshoppers, however, had a feast!

I pulled out the green beans as they succumbed to the insects, planting more beans that never came up, and some pepper plants I grew from seeds. Finally, we had some success. The peppers have been plentiful and colorful and such a joy.

I planted my precious seed-grown tomatoes in an area to which we had added cow manure. Twenty-five burned tomato plants. A lesson learned there. Squash planted from seed in hills in this area did fantastically well and were the stars of the garden. Stir fried squash, fried squash, frozen squash, squash relish, squash bread. Oh, my goodness. The squash did keep coming. I absolutely could not keep up. I let one get huge and hard so I could save some seeds, and some ended up in the compost pile despite my heroic efforts to use it all. Oh, the squash. I let every single seed make a plant. No thinning for me! Another lesson learned.

Squash bugs arrived. I learned to smash them with my thumb and forefinger, and to flick off their eggs. Squash production continued until the fruit began to be strange, and they started producing only male flowers. Then we ripped them out and covered the area with cardboard, which is still in place.

Ben made me two raised beds. I planted black eye peas in one and bell peppers and a banana pepper in the other. Both are growing well. My greatest garden joy so far has been eating fresh black eye peas. The bell peppers are lovely and sweet. I once ate one whole, straight from the plant when I was hot and tired. Delightful crunch and sweet tase. I sat and surveyed my kingdom from a chair while devouring that fresh, wonderful pepper. I will never forget it.

We added hay bales to both sides of the gate to define the garden entrance, and bent a cattle panel over the entry area. I will plant roses to climb up the sides soon.

We had a fire to burn brush in the early days of the garden and it left a bare circle. I have planted herbs here, with rosemary in the middle and basil and chamomile around it. More herbs are planned. I love how the garden evolves according to what happens while we work on it. Every time I look at the circular herb garden, I can remember having that little fire.

A huge task we accomplished early was cutting down all the sweet gum trees around the garden. Ben would take a tree down in minutes and then we would spend all day disposing of the limbs and trunk. If you have never done this you should. It takes mammoth effort, but is incredibly satisfying. Plus, you can use the stumps for neat projects. Ben’s wooden airplane weather vane has taken up residence of one of these sweet gum stumps. I have plans for other stumps as well.

Oh, the plans!

I still need to chronicle the shed/tree house project. That will be another day.

I took a lot of pictures today. It is nice to see how much beauty can happen in such a short time.


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