Tales of a Reluctant Gardener

I have a black thumb.

I know it doesn’t look black, but it is.

I once gave my father a dying Christmas cactus from my dorm room. He stuck it in the basement and come springtime, the darned thing was blooming. I certainly didn’t inherit my black thumb from him.

Seriously, part of it is that I’m just not interested in gardening. Don’t get me wrong. I pin articles and ideas about gardening. I even pour over seed catalogs in February. But come time to weed in August. Uh…never mind.

This year, my husband and I made an agreement with two of my kids and their spouses. We’d have a garden—a big one—on our land, if they’d help take care of it. So the girls, my daughter and daughter-in-law and I, all got together and worked out when we’d plant and what days each family would be responsible for whatever the garden needed that day. Around here, we don’t plant until after Mother’s Day. We’ve learned the hard way that sometimes we get hard frosts right through mid-May.

We built a pretty good-sized raised bed and plowed up two rather large plots for the vine crops. (My family definitely likes melons.) We did some research and planted according to our friend and mentor Dick Raymond’s wide-row planting methods. (We have an old book by Dick Raymond called The Joy of Gardening. He used to have a TV show that introduced him as, “Your friend and mentor, Dick Raymond.”)

We rejoiced when the first seedlings sprouted and started growing.  And then, Bill and I left for a two-week vacation to Israel, so the “kids” were in charge. Early in our vacation, our daughter-in-law gave birth to their firstborn—a girl! So, they were a little busy. (Lauren did take time out to get cute with the plant markers.)2016-06-08 12.35.54

Our daughter and son-in-law, Bek and Micah, were left to take care of Josiah and Lauren’s dogs and cats, our cats and chickens, the chicks the two couples were raising for meat, and the garden. Needless to say, they were a little busy too.

Well, the garden took that opportunity to run wild with weeds. We never did quite get on top of it.

Lessons learned from the first quarter of gardening season:

#1 Prepare the beds the year before.

#2 Mulch the vine crops before they start setting blossoms. (I tried to mulch when we got back, but I kept knocking the blossoms off.)

#3 Plant the beans a little farther apart. The foliage was so thick in the raised bed that the plants didn’t get enough sun.

Any other advice for a reluctant gardener?


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