this year's garden and diego's new favourite food

Three years ago, we planted our first-ever garden, really a tiny garden-ette, growing two tomato plants and some daisies. (I had forgotten about the flowers til I saw that older post.)

I really enjoyed growing the vegetables, and was surprised and pleased to learn that it wasn't very time-consuming, at least not on this level. The following year we again planted tomatoes, but substituted herbs for the flowers. Much more fun! I was so taken with snipping fresh herbs from my garden that I cooked more often.

Last year's garden was a bust, thanks to the flood and our subsequent move.

This year, in our new place, we cleared a little patch and took a baby-step forward: four tomato plants, one eggplant plant (your highness, your highness), one zucchini plant, basil, and thyme. I'm hoping for grilled veggies this summer.

The very helpful person at Sheridan Nurseries recommended a natural plant-food made from chicken manure. Apparently chicken poo is rich is calcium and fruit-bearing plants love it. And guess what? So do dogs! Diego says, "Chicken manure?! Yum! More, please!"

Vegetable gardening is good for your health, good for your wallet, and good for the planet. For me, it's also a healthy psychological challenge, a step away from one of my most pernicious traps: all-or-nothing thinking. Doing something different, just a little bit, without judgment, without obsession, without perfectionism. Not "do your best," just do.

Photos and updates to follow!


Stephanie said...

I almost screamed out when you said chicken poo, "Diego's new food!!"

We use the same chicken poo fertilizer in our garden and we had the same 'issue' with Negrita since she would eat it all up before we got any rain to help it soak in to the soil.

I think we went through a whole lg bucket before the end of the season in our first year using it. Finally we began fencing the bed off, you know - to keep the bunnies out of the veg, right.

I am loving growing pole beans and sugar snap peas but tomatoes are our focus of course. Good luck with the garden.

M@ said...

I've used liquid organic plant food but never the chicken manure one. But if the garden were not fenced off, we would never have grown anything. The first cantaloupe I ever grew had some very Scout-shaped teeth marks in it... :)

That's great that you'll be doing some gardening. Not much is as satisfying as growing and eating one's own food. And you're right, all-or-nothing thinking doesn't apply. Even in an apartment, a herb window box would be worth trying.

I just planted this week and last night's rain really helped things out.

Looking forward to the pics!

laura k said...

Ha, Negrita and Scout both chowing down in the garden!

I didn't understand gardening at all - didn't understand the attraction - until our first batch of tomatoes came up. Then a light bulb went off: I grew this! Very satisfying.

At this point, I'm thinking all-or-nothing thinking applies to very little in life. It's a kind of fundamentalism, always good to avoid.

johngoldfine said...

We spread horse poop in the gardens--not particularly good fertilizer but since the chicken farms in Maine all went bust (thanks Perdue!) and the dairy farms likewise (thanks Big Agra!), it's what we've got, and we've got it in quantity (thanks Mosa, Kaldi, Eclipse!).

I'd be lying if I said that the dogs' breaths did not often smell coprophagic after a stroll across a freshly-manured pasture, but we spread the garden manure in the late summer, fall, and winter when it doesn't matter if they go in the garden.

A related problem, though, is keeping dogs out when the garden has just been planted.

Some dogs, yelled at once, never ever forget or trespass--that would be Timmie, Patrick, and the late, beloved, and still-daily-discussed Scooter.

Other dogs have better things to do in life like checking out their friends' (the kitties) cat dishes--that's Boca, completely uninterested in gardens.

And then there are the hopeless mopes who do as they like as long as no one is watching and who cannot be shamed or bullied into doing right--that would be our old girls, Maddie and Chloe.

Anyway, I try to have the whole garden in by May 31, and it is, except for 10 asparagus crowns I ordered late to replace some earlier plants that did not come up.

What varieties of tomatoes are you growing? Suggestion for next year: if you eat a lot of fish, artichokes, asparagus, lemon basil is exactly what you want for seasoning.

laura k said...

Beefsteak tomatoes, my favourites. We do eat fish, and we do love asparagus, but I never eat artichokes if I can help it. The basil I found was supposedly a cinnamon variety, although I can't tell the difference between it and other basil we've grown that did not say "cinammon/canelle" on it.