Up until yesterday, I have always been able to say that if there was something edible growing in this yard it was by accident or coincidence. I have never planted vegetables here, and had no desire to cater to their whims as there is a perfectly wonderful farmers market here in town where the produce is cheap, and I also have friends who chase me around with zucchini and green beans that I think they would pay me to take off their hands becuase they are so inundated with them and feel guilty composting that which they have worked so hard to grow.
Then, my sister in law had a conversation with my daughter Faith, wherein she explained the unbridled joy of harvesting and eating your own corn…. and I got that look we mothers are so often greeted with when our offspring realize that there is some fun in the world we have been expressly keeping from them, and the pressure to have a veggie garden was on.
The other part of my reluctance to plant vegetables here stems from the fact that other than Faith, (who will eat corn and broccoli) no one here eats them but me. Occasionally I have stuck a single cherry tomato plant in a porch on the deck and along with the gifted produce that has been more than enough for my personal consumption. But now, my cutting garden, the source of my beloved zinnias, Bells of Ireland, sunflowers, stock, and endless summer flower arrangements, will yield corn, Kentucky wonder beans, and cucumbers instead.
In the small plot there was already standing a willow tee-pee that I grew bottle gourds on (for birdhouses and decorations) so the bean seeds went in at it’s base. Then we tilled and mounded and made 5 rows and dutifully planted a seed every few inches down each one. A little area toward the front has cucumbers that are suppose to grow in a bush, but I am skeptical because I am aware of their vining take over the world nature, and will believe it when I see it. Faith made labels to mark the rows, and last night mother nature watered it for us (yep, more rain) so I hope to see seedlings soon.
But…it doesn’t end there. This past weekend was my garden club’s plant sale and in the odd fit that often grips me at such events I bought something I did not intend to re-plant in my yard: strawberries. Last year it was Heritage raspberry canes which in a fit of a different kind centered around yet another kind of guilt, I planted way way way out back , under a white pine where there is no sun or irrigation , and they have languished since.
Buoyed by Faith’s enthusiasm for the vegetable garden, I mentioned the strawberries, which were greeted with wide eyed wonder and a cheerful willingness to keep gardening with me. So I got out the strawberry pot, which up until now has always grown thyme or sedum , and we planted our new strawberry plants.
On a roll now, I went out back and rescued the poor raspberry canes, a move I know I will come to regret deeply, and moved them to new spaces along the fence near the road. As they take over the world that is my front yard, I am hoping they can repay me for all the expensive real estate I am giving them by using their thorny canes to stop Tigger from charging the fence every time some poor soul tries to walk by with their dog.
We will see what comes of all of this. My experience thus far in life with blueberries, broccoli(at my last house) and even my apple trees , is that the food I am trying to grow is for the critters, and I am their personal produce provider. The cutting garden is fenced in, so that may deter the rabbits, but the birds are another story, and who knows what else has been anxiously awaiting my foray into edible gardening. At the very least , if we get to enjoy even a few ears of corn, which is Faith’s favorite, I will deem it a success.
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