Growing things

So, gardening. Is it complicated? Maybe. And who does it? I do! What do you need? Not a whole heck of a lot!

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Someone recently was saying that they think gardening is really complicated. I can’t remember who, or even whether it was an actual person talking to my face, someone on Twitter or Facebook, someone in a blog post, or someone I don’t even know posting on some website with which I am not personally associated. (I have an increasingly difficult time separating things said by my actual friends from things said on The Hairpin.)

But anyway. Gardening actually isn’t that complicated. To do it you need: dirt, plants, water. That is it. You can get fancy and buy gardening gloves if you want. And if you don’t have access to dirt you may need to buy potting soil and containers. But you don’t have to buy a watering can (the plants do not care how the water gets to them; a drinking glass works fine), fertilizer, a composter, or anything else gardening blogs might suggest you need. Your garden doesn’t even have to look all that great, as evidenced by mine.

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We got lucky with this rental. Not only does it have this great brick and concrete patio (perfect for grilling and drinking), it also came with some perennial herbs — everything planted in that right-hand bed. From the owners (who lived here before we moved in) we inherited lavender, lemon balm, thyme, chives, and oregano. And by the way, we’re absolutely swimming in lemon balm (the MASSIVE GREEN THING in the photo below), so if anyone has any suggestions for how to use it, I’m all ears.

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But the rest of the stuff — everything in containers — is stuff we planted this spring. We bought seedlings at farm stands, Lowes, and farmers’ markets. Bought organic potting soil and containers/pots somewhere. Drilled holes into the containers that didn’t have them. And then we planted some stuff. The end.

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Well, not quite. The most difficult thing about gardening for those who have absolutely never, ever done it before seems to be the watering and the sunlight. Yeah, you have to water these plants once a day at least. Sometimes more if it’s really hot and dry. I do it before I go to work in the morning and MAYBE when I get home, depending on how dry the soil got during the day. Takes me 3 minutes, but only because I tend to also fuss over the plants and check out what’s changed/is growing/is dying. If it looks like it’s going to rain, you can only water a little bit and then wait and see how the weather goes. If it rains, no watering! If it doesn’t, get yourself out there and spend those 3 minutes watering the plants.

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Sunlight can be a little more intimidating to people who have never had an outdoor plant because you have to plan a little bit. You need to think about where you might put a plant and then spend a few days noticing how much sunlight those spots get. The place in our yard that gets the most sunlight during the day is the right hand side, where the permanent bed is. So the place where I’ve put the containers gets the second most amount of sunlight. In the late afternoon/evening it can get a little shady because of a tree in the neighbor’s yard. But, as you can see, the plants are happy anyway.

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I should add that we didn’t do all of that at once. We bought some parsley when we saw it at the farmers’ market. Some jalapenos when we saw them at Lowes. The green onions are actually the bulb ends of grocery store green onions after we used the green part for some dinner. (Aside: I love that you can do this! You can do it inside with some dirt and a yogurt cup! Put the bulb in dirt after you cut off the green part and it will regrow!) Everything was accumulated piecemeal until we have what you see here. And this is probably it for us, just out of laziness. We’re growing things we’ll eat, but not EVERYTHING we’ll eat. So nothing will be wasted, but we also don’t have to go nuts trying to eat everything the garden produces before it rots on the vine.

Here’s what we’re growing:
Vegetables
Cucumber
Yellow squash
Tomatoes (Rutgers variety, natch)
Green peppers
Jalapenos
Lettuce

Herbs
Rosemary
Lavender
Lemon balm
Oregano
Chives
Thyme
Parsley
Green onions
Mint

Things are starting to produce vegetables and I’m excited! Soon we’ll be making fresh salsa, tabbouleh, and the best tomato sandwiches ever. Summer is ok.

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1 Comment

Filed under Food, Garden

One response to “Growing things

  1. Container gardening is where it’s at! Last fall a Master Gardener came to our house and told us that our front landscaping (random hydrangea + overgrown sedum + scrubby pine bushes) was “sending a confused message”. We replanted it all in the back yard and now just have some lowly pansies there. I have to admit it looks better, but now I have to deal with the back yard:(

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