Garden Adventures Season 1 Episode 1

Our new house includes a really nice vegetable garden area, complete with a fence, raised beds, and 4 water spigots.  Given the timing of our purchase, I had already written off gardening for this year.  We are pretty much swamped with the moving bit and its already well into the growing season here in the deep South.  But, shortly after we took ownership I realized that the previous owners had already done a smidgen of work this year.  Either that or their plants from last year have re-seeded themselves.  I have no idea which it was, primarily because I have NO IDEA about gardening in general.  Like zero.  None.

And so begins a new season in my life which is sure to be fraught with excitement and adventure  – growing a vegetable garden.

That initial survey of the garden has left me inwardly panicking.  Now I have more mouths to feed, meanwhile I don’t know even know what half of them area, much less what care they need.  Also don’t know where my blue jeans are, much less where the garden tools are.  In the 4 weeks I’ve own it, the garden has already gone from kinda messy to nearly disastrous Jumanji jungle.  Panic! We need to get a weed eater in there, stat.

To keep the panic feeling under control, I’m telling myself that I invested nothing in these plants and therefore lose nothing when they die off.  Keep it simple.  Next year will be awesome and any produce for this year is just icing on the proverbial cake.  So that brings us to Garden Goal #1 for this year:  Keep things under control.  Don’t let the weeds and vines win.

gardenDO NOT PANIC.

Now, about the vines.  Guess what the #1 crop under production at the Johnson Nature Center is?  Poison Iiiii-vvvvv-y-y-y-yyyy. {Sing like the song folks.}  Also, guess who is ridiculously allergic.  ME! Right here.  On ownership day 3(?) I yanked a little one out some monkey grass by the front door, was immediately notified of what it was, immediately washed, and still ended up in the dr’s office 4 days later to get a steroid shot.  Because one eye was swollen completely shut.

I’d show a picture but uhm no.

You know what?  I can now spot poison ivy and its poisonous cousins from a mile away.  You would think it would look ominous and nasty, but it doesn’t.  In fact its kind of pretty and totally harmless looking.  Let me remind you of the old adage “Leaves of three, let it be.”  This is the truth.  Nothing complicated.  No matter what the shape of the leaves or plant are, if it has leaves clumped in groups of 3, keep your distance.

poison_ivyExhibit A.

The stuff is everywhere here.  In the flower beds, on the trees, covering the ground in the woods.  Thankfully, I haven’t spotted it in the actual garden yet.  Garden Goal #2: Don’t get poison ivy again.  I think once is enough per year.

Poison ivy aside, there were still many plants I couldn’t identify.  So, I did the only thing someone of my generation knows to do in these situations: I posted a whole album of unidentified plant photos on Facebook and begged for assistance from real gardeners.  It was a success – almost everything was identified.  So let me share what the old homeplace has in production right now:

  • Blueberries – tons!
  • Figs – there will be tons in a few weeks
  • Pears – a few
  • Apples – a few
  • Peaches – like 4 or 5
  • Garlic – pulled up ~20 to dry out.
  • Tomatoes – fruit is looking kinda small for this time of year.
  • Broccoli and cauliflower – totally annihilated by a pest of some sort before I even identified them.  That’s okay though, broccoli is gross.
  • Green beans – the beans got too big and tasted nasty.
  • Asparagus – already gone to “fern”
  • Herbs: rosemary, bay

cauliflower_failCauliflower fail.

We have two blueberry bushes that have been going gangbusters for a couple of weeks, and I’m stocking my freezer and several other folks’ freezers as well.  And THAT is what I want to do a lot more of in the future.  Be that lady that forces my excessive zucchinis on people.  That brings us to Goal #3:  Can something.  You know, in a mason jar.  Fig preserves, blueberry jam, anything.  I am going to need canning skills next year for my awesome garden, so I might as well practice now.

This concludes Episode 1.1 of my garden melodrama.  3 simple goals, nothing too lofty, but still lots to learn.  Now I’m off to look for a class to take or a “gardener for rent” program or perhaps a “gardening for dummies” book.

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About Mary-Hall

loyal southerner, exceedingly frugal, compulsive DIYer

8 responses to “Garden Adventures Season 1 Episode 1”

  1. Jennifer Taylor says :

    I’m jealous of your blueberries…like totally green with envy. Maybe one day…
    I’ve successfully grown a few things in small pots on our rental’s porch this year. And by successful I mean I might have enough lettuce for one salad. But hey, it’s something! I can’t wait to finally have a house with a yard again where I can grow something proper.

    • Mary-Hall says :

      You guys will get there someday soon and you’re garden will be awesome. Its 17 times easier to grow stuff outside of the high arid desert climate we left. And PS, i believe it was Bart who identified either the broccoli or the cauliflower..

  2. bethanybordeaux says :

    i am so sad that my new deep freezer in our shed is a full 7 hours away from you and your blueberry bushes. ugh. loving the blog though. i shall have to see your garden soon!

  3. Anonymous says :

    Momma Daniel (of course) here: How nice to have a “built-in” vegetable garden for you to cut your gardening teeth on! Why not consult “Mississippi Master Gardeners Association” (yes, they have a FB page!) or go to your local Extension service to get info on what grows best in your area, fighting weeds and pests, etc. Happy gardening!

  4. Hannah Norén says :

    What an adventure..go for it MH!

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