Most living things in my life seem to thrive on benign neglect. This is a good thing, because I’m not good at doing that whole hands-on, nurturing thing.
The rosebush is one example. I don’t know anything about growing roses, and I honestly didn’t think it would live anyway, so I planted it last year and basically let it do its thing aside from me watering it occasionally (when I remembered or realized “oh shit, I haven’t watered the garden in like… I don’t remember.”), and snipping the dead heads off of it. To my surprise, it not only lived, but thrived.
The back garden is another matter. Last year, I was mad at it so I let it do whatever it wanted. Our tomatoes got rot, the basil didn’t live, and the only thing that made it was the jalapeno pepper plant. Oh, and the yellow squash that Freddie planted before he realized that he doesn’t really LIKE yellow squash. The compost got LOTS of those last year. We also used them as boomerangs.
This year, I had big plans to maybe pay more attention to the back garden. I had Freddie rent a tiller, even, and he tilled up all the lovely dirt and we got it ready to plant. However, something he did made the weeds out there VERY happy, because I went out there to plan my plants and it had exploded with a carpet of sprouted something-or-others.
Incensed, I was! Still, I hacked up what was there, put down a much-needed layer of topsoil and got to work. About two weeks after I got everything in, the weeds started going “WOOOOOOO YAAAAAAAAAY” and I did my best to put a stop to that by putting down a layer of newspaper and covering that with topsoil. It was surprisingly effective.
Anything that I planted from seeds didn’t make it – the weeds ate my carrots, onions, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts. I HATE YOU, WEEDS! I’d planted a lot of tomatoes (5th time is the charm!) and, since the jalapenos were so prolific last year, I planted six of those this year.
What? I LIKE THEM.
I admit, we did go a tiny bit crazy with the tomatoes, but it wasn’t anything like 2009’s garden, where we planted 36 plants. This year we only have about 12. We do love our tomatoes here. Freddie also wanted to plant zucchini (WHY???) and eggplant (experiment!!) just to see what would happen there. Since the Squash Rule is “plant 3 and dig up 2 of them”, we planted 1 zucchini and 1 eggplant in the garden box and 1 zucchini and 2 eggplant just outside the box.
The dog ate two of the eggplants and one of my jalapeno plants because the dog is an asshole.
I was out there this morning, coaxing tomato plants to stay in their cages, pulling gobs and gobs of weeds (I don’t even know what some of these plants ARE – I think they’re hybrids of whatever is in the garden at the end of the season), and watering. I picked 2 small zucchini (here we go!), checked on the tomatoes and peppers, and watered the lot. Tomatoes are doing just fine – no sign of blossom-end rot (which has plagued us in years past), no sign of hornworms THANK GOD BECAUSE IF WE GET THOSE I AM SETTING THE WHOLE THING ON FIRE, and there is a lively ladybug and lacewing presence, which is why we don’t have hornworms, I think. The peppers are doing all right, flowering and whatnot, and the eggplant that survived the dog actually sprouted a wee eggplant!
If I spent even a tenth more time out there, the garden would probably be amazing. Right now, it’s all I can do to keep the thing watered and sort of weeded. Hope you people like salsa.