We are now, officially, gardeners. Back in that cool Arizona night in December, this 20 x 20 plot was only dirt. Here we are in June (this picture was taken several months ago) and we’ve already seen a couple of three-digit days and the garden doesn’t even seem to notice. Our plan was simple:
First Rookie Mistake: Planting All The Seeds
In our own defense, we weren’t sure what would come out of the ground other than weeds. Either the soil we tilled in December is super-fantastic, drip systems are one of the best inventions for desert gardens or the seeds we got were actually Jack’s magic seeds. Yes, it must be the latter, because that’s the only thing that makes sense.
We’ve got herbs like oregano, chives, rosemary, parsley, and basil. Yeah, we’ve got basil for days. The cilantro called it quits early on. Perhaps not enough humidty or the basil squeezed him out like an herb mobster. We’ve got peppers. Oh, holy moly, Peter couldn’t pick enough of our peppers. Serrano peppers. Habanero peppers. Jalapeno peppers. Sweet baby bell peppers. Bell peppers. Poblano peppers. And that is only the first row.
In the second row we have tomatoes that have collapsed their wire supports under the weight of their tangled branches. While the other gardeners have put burlap sacks to protect their tomatoes from getting smoked, our heirlooms, beefsteak, romas and, yes even, Heinz tomatoes rely on their own mass to protect the tomatoes that have nestled inside that tangle.
Next to the tomatoes was our first productive crop and she is showing no signs of stopping. The zucchinis are our Bubba Gump crop. We’ve made zucchini bread, zucchini cakes, zucchini green Thai curry, zucchini in ratatouille and zucchini in stirfrys.
But what’s this? What’s this creeping vine plant that was dormant for so many months and is now consuming the garden like a virus? Oh, hey there butternut squash. Normally a winter crop, however we decided to dump the contents of the seed package and see if perhaps we’d get a butternut squash or two.
Should you pull back a solitary leaf, and I have, you would see one or two butternut squash underneath. We likely have 30 butternut squashes that are just biding their time.
In the third row we continued with lettuces and other cole crops like Brussels sprouts (oh, I’m so ready for these to be ready!) and broccoli. The lettuces are interesting plants. Harvest them with the intention of eating them that week and they wilt within the hour. It makes me a little distrustful of the lettuce you get at the super market and can stay crisp in my fridge for nearly two weeks. I mean, just look at this lettuce. So fresh.
In the fourth and final row, we have carrots and onions that suffered the same fate as the butternut squash: make a hole and empty the entire packet in. Some carrots are finding their way to the nutrients in the soil but at the expense of other carrots. It’s a tough, competitive life for the daucus carota.
Share The Wealth
Within 400 square feet we have enough produce to feed not just ourselves but our entire neighborhood cul-de-sac. There must be some secret here to ending world hungry. Plant a garden and share the wealth.