I have many, many fond memories of my Daddy's garden. It seemed to expand and get larger and larger each year. I think with every dinner during the summer, regardless of the main dish, we had sliced tomatoes with salt and pepper and sliced cucumber in just a little bit of water (or vinegar for Mama) and salt and pepper. Mama canned the green beans which I think always lasted until the next year's crop. Eggplant, peppers, squash and zucchini were regulars although when I was little I foolishly thought I didn't like such vegetables (man was I missing out!).
Now as an adult and a momma myself I dream of having a garden of my own.
Now my Daddy put a lot of blood, sweat and probably tears into that plot of earth year after year. I don't expect my garden will ever reach the status of my Daddy's. One year he planted sunflowers along the outside and these sunflowers grew to be probably 10-12 feet tall with the center of the flower probably a good 12" in diameter. And no, I am not exaggerating. Ed and one of his friends accused me of exaggerating once until I searched for the photos to prove it and they were amazed. Ha, that'll teach them!! But oh how I dream of a summer of having the girls help me harvest our tomatoes, cucumber and such. Maybe they can sit on the porch with a big bowl and snap beans for me like I did for Mama. Fresh baked zucchini bread with zucchini we grew ourselves. Our sides for dinner each day would be determined on what we pulled from our backyard that morning.
I had hoped we could at least start our little garden this year but with our rocky, clay backyard it is going to take a lot of prep work that we just did not have the time or the money for this year. Instead of having nothing at all I decided I would at least do a small container garden this year. I went to the local herb festival and picked up basil, mint, thyme, oregano, parsley, cilantro, dill and even an heirloom tomato plant. I bought a patio tomato as well as a cherry tomato plant from Lowe's while I was there getting my ever favorite Gerbera Daisies. Oh, and just for kicks I got a red pepper plant.
I am very pleased with how my garden is going so far. The plants are all getting big. I have had to harvest the herbs faster than I can even use them to keep the plants from flowering and getting too tall and lanky looking. I have a few blossoms on all my tomato plants and will probably be picking my first cherry tomatoes within a matter of days.
I actually still have a few things to plant. In the beginning of May I added onto my weekly produce box a Three Sisters Garden kit for the girls. In it came seeds for a sugar baby watermelon, Sungold tomatoes, a yellow crookneck squash, Cherokee Long Ear popcorn and some Pole beans. The corn, beans and squash are all planted together to work together making an American Indian Three Sisters Garden. The corn stalk works as a pole for the beans, the beans add nitrogen to the soil that the corn needs, and the squash keeps the soil moist with its leaves. It seems very cool and I think the girls would love having their own little garden to tend. We were suppose to start the planting process the middle of May so we are a couple of weeks late. If I can think to pick up some more soil, we'll do it this weekend though and maybe we'll end up with just a late harvest.
The girls also picked out some flower seeds. They love to pick flowers for me (i.e. weeds) and I love fresh cut flowers in the house. My idea was to have a small flower garden of various flowers good for cutting - wildflowers, daisies, sunflowers. Maybe we can get those planted this weekend as well. I just cut and brought in a bunch of hydrangea blooms yesterday for our kitchen table centerpiece. They are all various shades of blue. I just love them! I hate that by the end of June the blossoms will be gone.
But I shouldn't complain too much about them. My hydrangeas were a Mother's Day gift from Ed three years ago, right after Samantha was born. They have thrived where he put them. I water them just a little every morning to prevent them getting too droopy by the midday summer heat. No fertilizer, nothing. And they are now as tall as the deck. They are absolutely enormous!
Maybe next year we can have our little plot of earth ready to try out a few plants anyway. If we start now with the frame building, digging up some of the clay and bringing in some good topsoil then we can mulch and fertilize the garden through the fall and winter and maybe by spring we'll have it ready. Until then I'll continue to take pride in my little container garden.