Monday, September 5, 2011

Gardening is an enjoyable chore!

The summer is winding down here in central North Carolina. (Boo! Hiss!) My poor little garden would have fared much better if I had planted a cactus bed instead of water-hogging squash and melons! LOL Alas, I managed to salvage two (count: 1, 2!) squash from my thirsty vine, and it looks like I may get two (again, t-w-o!) very small canteloupes. My carrots... well, let me tell you about planting carrots in Carolina clay!! First, I made a modified "square-foot" style garden: I raked out the alcove between the cement steps at the back porch and the cement stoop the HVAC sits on. Then I set a 2x6 plank to create a front edge and staked it so it wouldn't lean over. Next, I poured in prepared topsoil and organic humus (10 bags total), and used a shovel to dig it deep into the original surface... all that, LAST year!! Last year, I had a "cute" garden.

So, the carrots! Right! This year, after pulling out weeds and whatever, I sectioned off the square I'm planting carrots. I take a 10-inch screwdriver and stab it into the ground and wiggle it around to waller out a loose hole for the carrots to enjoy... I do this for every place I am planting a carrot (16 holes). Not only do I only get 1/3 germination from the carrots (I don't know what happens to seeds... I had to plant banana peppers THREE TIMES before even ONE came up!... happy for the one...), oh! Not only do I only get 5 carrots, but they are stumpy... like 'Thumbelina' variety! I am sure I planted Danvers Long, and created a nice deep space for them, and lightly set the seeds in the tops of these carefully prepared holes.... but this ol' Carolina clay pinched them off! ... OR, a second, less plausible explanation: I didn't water often enough during the drought, and while they survived, they never dug deep into the soil. AND... I am impatient and didn't want to wait another 6 weeks till the frost and see if they could fatten up (actually, girth is good, the length is lacking).

Okay, I admit I am impatient when it comes to gardening: my potato sacks are 1/4 (if that one is doing its magic. I haven't looked yet.), my radishes even bolted right out of the ground! Not a single bulb before flowering! Unbelievable! My tomatoes never sprouted, and my peppers/eggplants are MIA. BUT I DID GET: three dinners' worth of green beans!! and two dinners of spinach/mustard greens! And the greens are growing again now that the weather is cooling down!

Still, I am wondering... that was a lot of work this summer for 3 cans of green beans and a can of spinach! I will plant a bumper crop this week, but maybe... just maybe... I need a bigger garden?

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