Thursday, April 15, 2010

Ghetto Gardening: This is how I dig it

I'm in my second season of gardening. I guess that makes me a seasoned gardener. It does not, however, mean that I know anything about what I am doing. Now in classic Erin style, I've read multiple gardening books over the winter off-season, but reading books does not a gardener make. I have a few massive challenges between me and that luscious veggie harvest that I covet.

First and perhaps most insurmountable, I am trying to garden in a brick. You know that flaming orangey red Georgia clay? Yep, that's what's sitting about six inches under the surface. Here is where the books have failed me. Somehow, all these awesome gardeners who write books do not live in Georgia and do not try to grow plants in Georgia clay. One man recommended digging down 24 inches for the healthiest plants and the best ever vegetables. Not going to happen! After about twelve inches, the only way to proceed is with a pickaxe.

The other tiny little problem I have is that gardens take time, lots and lots of time. So do children. I have both. Obviously, my children take precedence, so often, the garden suffers. Dirt isn't dug. Seeds are planted. Plants aren't watered. There is however, one thing that I am good at, mainly because it requires little time and no attention--making compost. I have tacky piles of rotting plant and veggie matter all over my garden patch. All I have to do is dump my compost bucket every couple of days and let nature take its course. When I scooped out some compost to mix around my tomato plant, I was ecstatic to see earthworms. Sometimes, it's good to be excited about the simple things.

Anyway, I like to call what I do ghetto gardening. The two main features of ghetto gardening are a gardener with little time and even less money. Recently, right after I transplanted a couple of my tiny, fragile tomato seedlings, we had a frost warning. See my creative, cheap frost cover for my plants above. I hope that somehow, probably by no doing of my own, my garden will suddenly blossom and we will be inundated with fresh veggies. But if it doesn't, I'll continue to be excited about all the small successes (some of my seedlings are still alive) and mourn the failures (some of them aren't), and most importantly, consider it all a learning experience. If the end goal is learning, even the failures are a success as long as I learn from them.

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