Wednesday, 12 September 2012

So we're basically farmers

We did a vegetable garden for the first time this year. More my husband's idea than mine. I adore the idea of growing our own vegetables, and have this vague sort of fantasy of walking barefoot in the warm grass of the back garden every afternoon wearing a floppy straw sunhat and a long flowy sundress with a small basket slung over my arm, plucking this crisp cucumber and that plump, juicy tomato and eating handfuls of ripe berries, planning our daily dinner based on whatever our garden produces that day... but frankly, vegetable gardens are just not that attractive for ten of the twelve months of the year, and for someone as OCD about aesthetics as I, it's simply not practical.

But we planted one anyway - Husband really wanted to. Just along the fence on the sunny side of the yard, a curving kidney-shaped cut-out to keep as much open grass space as possible for soccer games. By the time we got around to tackling the gardens it was too late to plant from seed, so we bought dozens of tiny little plants - tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, eggplant, and green, yellow and purple peppers. And a grapevine, meant eventually to meander up and across the fence and then trail along the top, which had an unfortunate run-in with the weed trimmer early in the season and didn't make it. Since all the little plants are the same size when you buy them, we had no idea how big or small most of them would be or what they would eventually look like.

Squash, as it turns out, will half take over the yard given the slightest chance and grow leaves the size of umbrellas which will shade and eventually choke out the rest of the garden. And cucumbers, which grow on vines that need to be wound up and around something to keep the vegetables from lying on the ground and rotting, end up requiring a six-foot feat of engineering in the middle of the garden. Eyesores, both. But productive little plants - we've been eating a lot of cucumber and squash this summer. And tomatoes. But we only got one eggplant all season, our yellow peppers grew in green and our green peppers barely grew in at all.

As ugly as the garden was the vast majority of the season and as unproductive as most of the plants ended up being, we'll still do one again next year. The kids absolutely adored it - watering the plants, watching them grow, learning about each of the different vegetables, turning and weeding the soil, then taking turns picking the vegetables and getting so excited about eating something they'd grown and picked themselves. And I have to say, there's something very satisfying about eating a meal made out of something you've grown in your own earth in your own yard and picked with your own hands. So we'll definitely have a vegetable garden again. We'll just aim for slightly less hideously unattractive, and slightly more productive fruit-and-veggie-wise.
home garden, vegetable garden, squash, green pepper, purple pepper
Our first harvest!

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