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How my garden grows

I’m trying to grow some vegetables this year. I’ve never seriously tried to grow anything, and boy howdy, is there a steep learning curve. The first hurdle was my native soil: wet, heavy, where’s-my-ceramics-wheel? clay. Yes, clay soil is nutrient-rich. But it also traps moisture against roots, causing rot. It also discourages worms. So my first task was to amend the soil with lawn clippings, hummus, potting soil and compost to break up the clay and make it friable enough for good air circulation around the roots and for easy planting. This took over a week of hard labour 1-4 hours a day and about $60 of supplies. Gardening is not a cheap way of obtaining produce, at least not at first.

The next step was buying plants. I wanted to start from seed, but midterms prevented me from starting them at the proper time- around St. Patrick’s day in my zone (Zone 5). I also was too late to buy specific hybrids from Cook’s Garden or Burpee’s, so I turned to a local plant purveyor in my old neighborhood and he fortunately had several varieties I wanted; like Thai chiles, Early Girl tomatoes, and pickling cucumbers. Here’s what I ended up planting:

  • 2 Beefsteak tomatoes
  • 2 Early Girl tomatoes
  • 2 SuperSweets cherry tomatoes
  • 1 Sugar Snap peas (nearly dead now)
  • 2 Pickling cukes
  • 2 “Burpless” traditional-size cukes
  • 1 Dinosaur Kale (now eaten by a fucking rabbit, the bastard)
  • 1 Dill
  • 2 Flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 Cilantro
  • 1 Thyme
  • 1 Rosemary
  • 1 Oregano
  • 1 Marjoram
  • 9 (!) Basil (1 is effing huge in a planter on the patio)
  • 2 Thai chili
  • 2 Poblano
  • 2 JalapeƱo
  • 2 Cayenne
  • 1 Red Sails lettuce (almost ready to eat)

What I already had:

  • Tarragon
  • Sage
  • Lavender
  • Catmint

What I direct-sowed:

  • Black-Seeded Simpson lettuce
  • Red Sails lettuce
  • Buttercrunch lettuce
  • Some other kind of lettuce (variety escapes me)

Because of all the rain, my plants are really little still. I planted them the last week of May. I direct-sowed the lettuce about 8 days ago, and I have little tiny seedlings (squee!!) already. I was worried the rain was going to prevent a lot of blooms from forming on my plants, so I broke down and Miracle-Gro-ed everything last Sunday. I can’t say I’ve noticed a difference in anything but the cukes, which are doing really well. I LOVE gardening. I didn’t know that about myself. The only thing I don’t like is the expensive (we have spent so much on soil, mulch and plants it’s unreal) and the fucking rabbits. I laid down bloodmeal to keep them away from my baby lettuces and it smells so badly of mothballs I want to hurl. I won’t do that again. I’m looking forward, for once, for the hot, dry days of July and August so my plants can really grow!!

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