Thursday, August 9, 2012

Mixed Success: A Vegetable Garden Update

In my previous post on the subject "Trial and Error: Vegetable Edition", I talked about how I am learning how to garden with help from The Zero-Mile Diet by Carolyn Herriot. I thought that I would do a follow-up blog post so that readers can see the results of my toil.  
The results were mixed at best.  To be fair to Herriot, I have not yet totally followed her gardening advice for an entire year, and gone rogue several times due to my own impatience.  Clover has taken over my vegetable patch due to the lack of nitrogen in the soil, and this is a battle that I don't want to wage.  I also used a very ad hoc planting plan (and the robins played a part too) so my seeds grew all over the place, rather than in tidy rows.  Several veggies cropped up which I cannot identify (pictured below), and the phrase that I would use to describe it is "what the?" rather than "wow".This being said, I enjoyed some level of success with my tomatoes, rhubarb, Romaine lettuce, and apple tree and they made their way to the dinner table. 

Generally, my success in the garden is more consistent in the flower beds.  Luckily, one of the former owners of our house was a gardener by trade, and we inherited some stunning roses and lilacs.  The roses take very little effort on my part, just pruning off the dead after a flower is finished blooming, but look beautiful.  Our lilac trees caused me some anxiety due to the fact that our trees are late-bloomers which only began flowering a few months after every other lilac tree in the neighbourhood.  I thought that maybe they were having an off year, or that my pruning skills were lacking.  Then suddenly there appeared these beautiful blooms in a very vivid purple (see below).  

I am currently on vacation trying to get caught up on my household projects, and I wanted to tackle one of the borders around our yard.  I neglected this pitiful strip for some time because I had no concrete plan for what I wanted to plant there, and no time to put in the research.  Now that I was away from work, I looked into different shrubs and settled on hydrangeas.  Though Madonna may not like them, they seem to do well around the neighbourhood and the last thing that I wanted to be was the one house on the block with an overgrown garden.  

I tackled the project with gusto, enjoying the possibility that this patch would no longer be a nagging reminder of my failings. After I began a preliminary hatchet job on the existing grasses and random perennials, one of my neighbours stopped to ask me what I was up to.  I told her about my project, and she said that she admired my courage, admitting that she would have called a gardener to handle it.  This comment chipped away at the confidence instilled in me at the Canadian Tire Garden Centre, and I enlisted the help of my boyfriend to mow down the whole bed.  Fortunately he has little regard for his lawnmower, and agreed to aid me in the digging despite our understanding that gardening is my domain. 

Now that the project is finished and the hydrangeas have been planted, I feel a lot better and look forward to dealing with some other problem areas, including my so so vegetable garden.  If nothing else, I know what not to do.

1 comment:

  1. Love the lilacs. You are off to a good start. Every good garden takes time and patience. Looking forward to future posts.