My mom was also a huge gardener and I remember the many hours she spent in the garden and her giving me a small plot to plant of my own. We then moved to a different house and between school and not wanting to fight the grass and weeds of what used to be a sheep pasture, I didn't really garden much for twenty years. I even didn't really keep houseplants. I seemed to kill them pretty easily.
Between courting my husband and going with him on a "date" to Lowes and a nursery to start patio gardens for both of us, then getting married and moving to a house, each year I have tried to add a little more. Probably most of my success has been due to the composter and my husband's ability to remind me to do things; such as; "water the plants".
Last year, I crammed as much as I could into our small yard and my patio Veg Trug (a cool planter that I crammed tomatoes, cilantro, green beans, kale, basil and thyme into). I have recruited a friend with a fellow toddler who is an extremely intelligent and hardworking person. I was smart to recruit her! I found out just how smart I was when she came equipped with a graph sheet of paper to plan our garden, after doing a ton of research. She also used to be an engineering manager. So, she did a great job at figuring out our fencing. Our fence is about 7 feet high and is a fairly loose netting with 4 big posts. We are hoping it will keep out deer, rabbits, squirrels and coyotes. I hadn't realized it was in a coyote area until my husband pointed to a sign just the last time we were there.
Two weeks ago, we finished the fencing, and brought a couple bags of fertilizer down. Last week, we tilled by hand (it had been tilled by the community, but you know weeds...). My friend had worried about the soil quality, but I had said to her, "if the weeds grow so well, hopefully other stuff will grow well too!" With my mom helping to watch the two toddlers, we got a lot done last Tuesday. We also were able to place the landscape cloth that was recommended to us so that we wouldn't have to weed every day (maybe just every other day). We chose cloth over plastic in the hope that it would help with letting rainwater get through to the ground. I planted some potatoes and my friend planted 2 more types of potatoes, 2 types of garlic, radishes, valencia onions and carrots. I came back on Saturday and planted marigolds, beets, finished off the potatoes and 2 tomato plants (I was told by local experts, April 15th is the magical date in this area where things you plant should hopefully be safe from the frost).
Saturday morning, I took my son out to the garden and he was pretty excited to go. His grandma gave him a tool set (which my friend and I actually ended up "borrowing" from him pretty often). Being out with the sunshine, birds singing and fresh air put us both in a good mood. I was hoping that because the fence was finished, he would just stay in the fenced area with me. Yeah, right.
He wanted to go to all the neighboring gardens, pull their flags and run around. I tried to keep him out of some of the neighboring plots (most of these are so far uninhabited). Reason did not prevail. Finally, after my pleas did nothing, I put down what I was doing and told him we were going for a walk. He enjoyed that, but then periodically would try to break into other people's fenced in gardens. I don't remember just what I said, but I told him we can't go on other people's property. He eventually said, "Carry me- I'm tired!" I told him, "That's the point of this walk, I'm hoping this will tire you out enough you will stay in one place!" We made it back to our plot and he stayed around for a while until his little toddler friend came. Then he periodically would run off. I think this served as a "grass is greener" moment. My friend complains about her daughter being clingy and I wish my son was a little bit more clingy!
Thankfully, my husband came and entertained the kids and let us get a lot more done and finished. My husband filled me in later that my son had said, "I wanted to go into other people's community gardens, but that was not appropriate." I had to laugh at that, apparently, my son had been listening to me- he just didn't want to follow what I was saying! I don't remember saying anything about appropriate, but I was pretty sure that sounded like me.
See picture below of what we finished last week:
It may not look like much, but under that black cloth is tilled earth and there's over probably 150-200 seeds planted. I will keep you posted how this all turns out. This week I'm thinking I will plant 3 jalapeño plants and keep nurturing my tomato, pepper and tomatillo seedlings at home (not courageous enough to try to plant my seedlings before May comes) and my friend and I are going to be intensely watering the plants as we are supposed to have a pretty hot and dry week. Hopefully our investment will pay off.