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Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Back in April, my sister and her boyfriend talked me into letting them build a garden box in my front yard. I'm pretty sure my place was officially the last non-student residence in the neighborhood to get one. Gardening is a big thing around here. Remarkably, this project didn't immediately turn into a complete disaster. The vegetables they planted actually grew, proved edible and all of this gave me the opportunity to buy a ceramic gnome.
Gimmie a break. It was on sale for $8. Check out the photo below. Doesn't he look both adorable and patriotic with his little American flag? His name is "Unsanctioned Knock-Off of Walt Disney's Trademarked Doc Character From Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs."
That's not to say that this whole thing wasn't without its setbacks. A grasshopper snuck into the house in a batch of romaine lettuce back in June. It got loose and may be still roaming around in here like that nasty bugger from Alien. While the moles in the yard never went near the box (because moles prefer earthworms, according to Wikipedia), plenty of bugs nibbled on a few of the plants. We never did figure out an effective way to keep insects at bay that didn't involve hosing the garden down in chemicals.
Some of the plants thrived, others sputtered and one them may or may not have teamed up with the moles as part of an elaborate conspiracy plot to kill me. Now that our first season has drawn to a close, here's a harvest report:
Tomatoes: In fact, it's mid October and the plant is still cranking them out.
Eggplants: There always seemed to be one eggplant that caused the entire plant to lean to one side or the other but it never sustained any permanent back injuries. The eggplants wound up in a few pots of spaghetti and one batch of ratatouille. Interesting factoid about ratatouille: it takes no less than 15 billion hours to prepare. The scriptwriters at Pixar failed to mention that little detail in their movie about that French rat who cooks.
Carmen peppers: They grew like mad and thrived in the heat but we made the mistake of thinking we'd purchased a mislabeled green pepper plant instead. While they can be plucked and cooked while they're still green, we never let any of them fully ripen to red. I let one of the last peppers keep growing. It's finally turning red after six weeks on the vine.
Spaghetti squash: We almost tossed this plant in the box with the others but we actually read a guide online beforehand. Good thing because the squash completely overtook a flower bed on the side of the house and tried to strangle a sunflower seven feet away with its vines for no discernible reason other than that this particular genus is the curmudgeonly, flower-hating jerkface of the squash world. A plant with that much gusto and contempt is to be both respected and feared. It's also tasty.
Labels: the joy of gardening