Gardening for Dummies

July 13, 2005 at 7:36pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

If you’ve ever been to the Wilson homestead you know that my garden takes up about 40% of my back yard. That’s not saying a whole lot, of course; because the house sits on a corner lot, the back yard is only large enough for the garden, a patio, and a small patch of grass. The Missus and I made the conscious decision to give the garden a big chunk of our precious back yard real estate for two reasons. For one thing we wanted the garden to be close to us, so that we would tend to it and keep it thriving. The other reason was more practical: it’s one of the few spots in our tree-dominated yard that gets a decent amount of sun.

Anyway, I’ve learned over the past year and a half that I really enjoy gardening. I’m not any good at it, mind you, but I like working in the garden, and I love that I have access to all sorts of fresh food a mere dozen steps from my back door. Recently the garden has really begun taking off, renewing my interest after a bit of a ho-hum period in June.

Our yellow squash, zucchini, and cucumber plants have been going strong for a couple weeks now. Our acorn squash plant is going strong, but the fruits won’t be ready for a while. Our pumpkin plant is flowering like crazy, so hopefully we’ll have a bunch of big orange pumpkins in time for Halloween.

But what’s really grabbed my attention recently is the growth spurt put on by our pepper and chile plants. Our green bell pepper plants are beginning to fruit (no sign of fruit yet from the yellow and red pepper plants, although they are blooming). Our kung paos (thai chiles) have been out for a while, and I noticed our serranos, anaheims, and jalapenos are all beginning to show up. (Along with some fruit on a plant creatively called “big chile.” I’m guessing it’s an anaheim or NuMex variant, but who knows. Hopefully the fruit will be good for chiles rellenos.) Sadly, my little habanero plant, although healthy looking

, doesn’t seem to be doing much.

Given how well the garden seems to grow, you’d think I actually knew something about gardening. Ha! I don’t know a darn thing about gardening. I know the difference between live and dead plants, and I’m pretty good at noticing the symptoms of dying plants. Beyond that, though, I’m pretty useless. A friend of mine is a soil scientist—I know, sounds boring as heck, doesn’t it?—and during his most recent visit he commented that the garden soil seems to be of fairly high quality. That was good, and surprising, news, especially considering the fact that the previous owners of the house had obviously neglected the soil in the back yard over the years.

If anybody out there wants some garden-fresh vegetables, let me know. If this year’s harvest is like last year’s we’ll have plenty of extras to go around. And with the garden being 50% larger this year, well, we could really have our hands full!

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