About Me

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Montgomery, Alabama, United States
I'm a Zone 8. I'm doing a little gardening to satisfy a curiosity to see whether or not I can do it. People make it look so easy-- what's stopping me from making it work? Contrary to my name ("Hana" means flower in Japanese) I have a history of killing plants. Well, most of them. Let's see how this one goes!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

HOLY CRAP -- She remembered her password!

So, long story short I had to abandon ship halfway through the summer to house-sit in Dayton, Ohio. I discovered that my mother's gardening skills tended to stray from the aesthetic and wandered into the prolific. While I struggled to not kill stuff, all of the seeds and seedlings that I gave to my mother were producing so freaking much that she was annoyed that she had to harvest every single day. She literally had 2-3 pounds of tomatoes every morning that she would grumpily wash and put on the kitchen counter. Perhaps she was grumpy because I accidentally gave her *only* cherry tomatoes and she likes larger ones. Oops?

Ah, but the worst part about my mother's garden compared to mine-- while I had labored for weeks to dig, dig, dig, and collect soils and learn how to tie stakes and trellises and space things properly and companion plant and water first thing in the morning and amend the soil and identify pests and pull up weeds, she dug a 6x6 hole under her deck, mixed in some chicken manure, nailed chicken wire to the deck posts, and literally stuck seedlings in the ground and threw seeds around them. And her garden produced like crazy. And I am sure that mine just withered and died in the Texas summer with nobody to look after it. That might be unfair to say-- it was pretty much withered and dead even when I was meticulously caring for it.

Fast-forward a year and a half and I am now in Montgomery, Alabama and starting anew. This garden plot had existed when we got the house, but it was messy and overrun with briars. We started work last weekend pulling up the old broccoli bushes and clearing out the weeds. This weekend we cut up the soil a bit and mixed in some humus and manure so try to make it a more nutritious snack for the plants we're putting in. To be honest, getting this garden going was a bit of an afterthought as I've got inside projects to do as well, but oh my goodness it has been so sunny and warm lately that we've been itching to get outdoors.

Unlike last time, I didn't get around to mass seedings and I am definitely paying for it as buying seedlings isn't cheap. I do wish that I had the foresight to start my own-- doh! There are still tons of seeds from my last major endeavor two years ago that I am hoping to goodness are still viable. Montgomery has a long growing season so I figure that a late start is better than nothing at all. That will be a project for tomorrow.

Ah, and I am getting into edible bushes and trees, so we picked up two blueberries last weekend. I literally know nothing about fruiting trees and bushes so this will be a fun adventure. I don't think I'm supposed to expect fruit this year (or next year, or the next) so I think this will be more of a test of patience than anything else. Oh-- I also started a Ponderosa lemon from seed. Crossing my fingers to see if it makes a viable, fruiting tree!

So far this is what we have:
Jersey Blueberry
Northland (I think) Blueberry
Red, Green, and Yellow Bell Pepper
Jalepeno Pepper
Cayenne Pepper
Sweet Banana Pepper
Some "heirloom" variety of tomato (can't recall what it was)
Lemon Balm

I am going to shove a lot more into the garden than I did the first time around. Seeing my mother's crowded, overgrown, and very tasty garden has convinced me that careful spacing is for the birds.

The Plan:
Tomatoes and Peppers
Basils, oregano, rosemary, lavender, and at least a couple other herbs
Pole beans and runner beans
Cucumbers, squash, and melons
Carrots and potatoes
Radishes, beets, and turnips
Lettuces, maybe
I also want to incorporate companion ornamentals, like marigolds, nasturtiums, and the like because I want it to be pretty. I might get into the strawberry thing, but fruit literally scares me. It seems so incredibly labor-intensive and attractive to too many pests, but we'll see. We'll see.

There is also going to be a little garden plot in the front, reserved for ornamentals. There are already some heirloom daffodils and today we got a bunch of tulips to add to it. My companion loves bulb flowers so I'll let him take care of that project. He is also going to make some kind of little retaining wall or something and plant a Japanese maple. That excites me.

Oh my GOD and have you ever smelled a tea olive? He introduced me to those-- they are RIDICULOUS. And we are going to cover our yard in them.

I will post the last pictures I have of my old garden, pictures of my mom's sprawling mass of tomato vines, and of this blank canvas that will be turned into a masterpiece (or slaughterhouse-- whichever!)

Oh also-- WHAT IS WITH THE CLAY SOIL. OH MY GOD. I can make pottery with this stuff. Yikes.

So what have you been up to? :D

1 comment:

Annie in Austin said...

Hi Hana - hadn't seen anything in ages but here you are in a new place with a new garden- best of luck with all those vegetables!

As for tea olives - pretty sure that's another name for Sweet olive/Osmanthus fragrans. I grow three of them for winter scent...aren't they wonderful?

Annie at the Transplantable Rose