Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Gardening 101/911

This was taken at Aaron's Beach that day I was caught behind a senior citizen driver and missed the most spectacular sunrise sky ever. Madder than a wet hen, I pointed the camera directly into the sun which goes against every rule ever spread as propaganda in most photography manuals.

Speaking of going against rules, let's talk about my gardening skills. This will not take long. In fact, we're practically done.

It's time for another chapter in the Chesapeake Bay Woman's Home and Garden series.

Today we're going to review one way the best way to plant a garden if by "garden" you mean "produce section of the grocery store in lieu of garden".

Let's start by taking a quick quiz to assess where we stand in our gardening capabilities.

1. The best time to plant a garden is:

a) When you've never planted one before;

b) After you've killed every single indoor house plant;

c) Some time in the spring after you realize that a tomato with all the flavor and consistency of particle board costs the same per ounce in the grocery store
as gold.

2. The first step is to prepare the soil which entails what?

a) Reading a book on proper soil preparation techniques;

b) Insert sounds of crickets chirping and dogs howling here. Then insert a picture of CBW shrugging her shoulders as she twists her mouth and rolls her eyes. See, she's never planted a garden before.

c) Preparing the soil. Whatever that entails. It's also helpful if you select a spot to plant this garden even prior to preparing the soil. But of course I don't need to tell you this.

3. Since it's too late to start plants from seeds--notwithstanding your lack of skills to start anything from seed--travel to a nursery and peruse the selection of vegetable plants.

What's the best way to approach this?

a) Wake up on a Saturday. Drink coffee. Check blog. Drink coffee. Check blog. Drink coffee. Caffeinate self enough to become motivated to drive to Tatterson's Greenhouse in Port Haywood. Just to look. For best results, do not plan anything up to and including where your garden will be and what sorts of plants might do well in your chosen spot.

b) Wander around aimlessly. After figuring out which plants are for flower beds and which are for vegetable gardens, take a break and come back later because by the time you've figured this out the nursery is shutting down for the day.

c) Spend some time contemplating which type and how many plants you want. You might consider where you'll plant these prior to the trip to the nursery, but planning things out to that level of detail is not in your vernacular something you can strive for next year.

4. After you've purchased what you consider to be an appropriate number of plants for the garden you've really not even designated yet, what happens?

a) You realize you have to pick a spot and pull weeds. Just thinking about this brings droplets of sweat to your forehead and you feel that it's becoming harder to breathe. Take a break, there's no need to over do it now, is there?

b) Begin pulling some weeds. After two or three tugs at the devil known as crab grass, break into a sweat resembling Niagara Falls. Realize you don't have the patience or stamina for this sort of work. Take a break to review where you stand. And who you can call.

c) Realize you've purchased way too many plants and you do not have the patience to plant any of them, much less pull the crab grass. Besides it's way too hot and tomorrow's Mother's Day. Which makes this Mother's Day Eve. Which is practically Mother's Day for goodness sakes. Take a break.

5. After you realize you have no idea what you're doing or why you thought for one minute you could do this perhaps bitten off more than you can chew, what now?

a) Take a break on the back porch in the shade as the breeze blows across your sweaty brow. Close your eyes and reflect on the situation. Marvel at the symphony of birds. Breathe in the scent of the nearby rose bush.

b) Take a nap. Wonder what you're going to do about all this. Wonder for only five seconds. Nap for an hour.

c) Realize tomorrow's Mother's Day and you've not purchased anything for your mother since you were too busy with this gardening nonsense.

d) Give plants to mother who has two green thumbs.

e) Eagerly await the 62 different varieties never mind how many individual plants ruby red tomatoes and the jalapeno, poblano, sweet banana and chili peppers which will be taking over our lives kitchens. Consider that you may want to research storage techniques such as canning.

f) Make note to self that Chesapeake Bay Mother not only needs to plant and maintain these vegetables, but she'll need some Mason jars for canning.

The End.


Annie said...

There you go..twelve oh one on the dot it was!

As if i was sitting here waiting!

Another great photo of another great sunrise...even if deterred by said driver!

It is so late...I should be asleep...good night!

The Turtle's Head said...

CBW, I really enjoy the pictures you take of the Mathews area. You always manage to make it look peaceful, yet quirky, somehow. I think you've seen my blog, though I haven't been updating it for a while. How you find the time beats me. Kindest regards, TH

Grandma J said...

You could have just taken those plants and made a nice salad out of them....calling it Mother's Day Brunch. I mean flowers or vegetables, aren't they all edible?

foolery said...

You are two steps ahead of me. One, buying plants. Two, going to a nursery.

My mother gave me SEVEN tomato plants last year. I took the scientific approach -- tilled the soil, hand-picked the rocks, raked it for a week, watered, let it settle. Tested the soil, repeat the entire process. Father comes by and says, "Oh, you need more soil. Dumps tractor bucket full of, um, *dirt* into the 10-foot-long raised bed he built me (for seven tomato plants. I asked for 4'x 5'). Dirt was pretty much fresh manure, and burned the tomato plants. They didn't die, but they didn't grow. Not even with fertilizer. Parents laughed at me. This year I am sneaking over to their house in the dark and poking holes into all of their tomatoes. And then stealing them.

This was hilarious, CBW -- thanks for the laughs. ; )

Pueblo girl said...

You've reminded me really clearly of why I stopped vegetable gardening some years ago, and reinforced that it was the right choice!

Still, after such a funny introduction, I'm looking forward to hearing about how it goes.

Armchair veggie gardening!

mmm said...

After reading that blog, I'd swear you'd gotten into my coffee beans.

Anonymous said...

Hmm..I think I have read the same gardening manual. I too was at Tattersons on Saturday (as was half of Mathews!) and my plants are now sitting in my front yard which now looks like Tattersons West since I have yet to plant them. I am wondering if tomatoes will actually grow right from the cell pack and I can skip that whole timely hole digging stage???


Mental P Mama said...

You came to the same conclusion I did. I may come down for blogfest and never leave. Ever.

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

Annie-Don't ask me why I'm so compulsive, I never used to be about *anything*. Anyway, did you know you can write up the post even days in advance (if one were disciplined, instead of waiting to the last minute) and schedule it to post at a later time? That's pretty much what I do every day, except I just write it at 9:00 p.m. the day before I want to post it, hit my head on the desk when I fall asleep at 9:30, hurriedly spew something out and then tell it to post after midnight so I can go to bed by 10 or 10:30. Hopefully it will work out that we can get you here while you're in Richmond; I have my thinking cap on.

Turtle's Head-Thank you. Mathews is just that: peaceful and quirky. Yes, I've seen your blog although not in a while. You should pick it back up. I find it therapeutic albeit stressful sometimes but the stress is self-induced because there's no rule written anywhere about how often I have to post. The time...well, it's easy to do this when you are ignoring other/most/every menial aspects of your life such as housework, yardwork, etc. Thanks for stopping by.

Grandma J.- Excellent idea, although the tomatoes and peppers weren't yet producing so we'd just be eating the greens. Which will probably be more than what we'll be able to eat in a salad after I get ahold of these poor things. There may well be a plant/garden memorial funeral in future posts. Only time will tell...

Foolery-Hilarious! Can you steal some for me too and mail 'em? That'll be the only way I'll get homegrown tomatoes, I'm afraid. (Stick some of those California almonds in the box, can ya?) Your father and mine sound amazingly similar. Last year mine dumped a boatload of mulch around his tomatoes. Burned 'em to a crisp. CB Mother? Not too happy. Thankfully she had a back-up plan. A separate garden from his.

Pueblo girl-Armchair gardening is a highly refined skill which has many, many merits up to and including maintaining one's sanity. I'll kee you posted on the progress, or lack thereof, in my experimental garden.

MMM-Actually, that's what I sound like running on fumes/exhaustion too (which I was). Or, after I've eaten sugar (which I hadn't). Or after I drink coffe (which I'm about to). Or when I'm awake (it's hard to say when this occurs). Speaking of coffee, haven't had ONE drop yet, although I smell it brewing. Usually on Tuesdays I work but had to switch schedule this week and don't know what to do with myself so I slept in. Really need coffee. Can't you send beans via courier?

Mrs. Hallieford: No, leaving the plants in the cell packs doesn't work. I tried that after quitting to take a nap on Day One. By Day Two those poor, withered up unplanted ones were bending over as if to touch their toes. No good. Quickly stuffed them in the ground and expect to be taken over by a tomato and pepper thicket very soon. (Tattersons was especially busy on Saturday. Didn't recognize a soul either.)

MPM- Come on down, the more the merrier. You can stay as long as you like, and you'll be so much closer to your daughter.

TSannie said...

I see our gardening strengths are similar. I think I'll just let my daughter take care of the garden. So much easier!

Caution Flag said...

My grand garden plans have been reduced to one Topsy Turvy thingie -- and it's still sitting in the box because I could have bought a gazillion tomatoes for the price I paid for the thingie.
(35 word sentence plus bonus points for two dashes.)

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

tSA-I'm surprised. You strike me as the gardening/green thumb sort.

Caution Flag-Thanks for the laugh. Your 35-word, 2-dash sentences are welcomed and encouraged here!

Daryl said...

I am going to plant this weekend ... yup, gonna buy a new window box one that has no bad juju attached to it, fill it with nice new dirt and then plop in the plants which will be bought at the greenmarket, we aint got no stinkin' garden stores here in the middle of concrete NYC .. and those bulbs the Park Dept plants .. well I could get arrested if I dug them up ...

Lynne M. said...

I can relate - I have a black thumb, the thumb of death!!! I like option D. And yes, I am currently pregnant. And sunburned from Mother's Day fishing trip to Haven Beach. Pregnancy and sunburn don't go together very well!!!

Autumnforest said...

I miss the soil in Newpoint! Our family's summer home was right near Doctor's Creek. We'd go down in the springtime from Fairfax and plant the seeds for the garden and then leave. We'd come back in the summer to fresh veggies in the sandy happy soil. We'd drop the crab traps off the dock with chicken necks in them and go out on the motorboat to oyster beds where we'd dive for clams and oysters. We practically lived off the land, with no TV or radio to distract us five kids. We had the kind of love for the place that comes from getting right in there and exploring and appreciating the beauty like you have. I sure miss that place so much! It always seemed like the magic land of plenty. Thanks for all the pic's you take. Every day I get to see something that reminds me there's still beauty out there.

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

Daryl-Could you send me some of those containers that don't have bad juju? Do they make other items? I'm thinking skillets, refrigerators, ovens, cabinet doors, automobiles, etc. Good luck with your planting.

Lynne M. -The Black Thumb of Death is my new favorite description of gardening skills. Hope you at least caught some fish and sorry to hear about that sun burn.

Autumnforest - Can I cut and paste your comment and turn it into my post for tomorrow? How beautifully put.

Big Hair Envy said...

Don't feel like the Lone Ranger. I have four plants that I bought two weeks ago. They are sitting on the porch, waiting for a home. I'm hoping to get some veggies in pots on my porch. We'll see how that goes.... If only I had a tiller!

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

BHE-The roto-tiller is a most coveted piece of equipment, no? One which works is even better.

There is one here from circa 1970 but after you click your heels three times, say a prayer to the tiller gods and pull that cord until your arm flies off just to get it started, a person hardly has the strength and patience needed to till the ground up.

Annie said...

ah, I remember those roto- tillers...my Dad had one way back when...when we lived on a farm in an outer suburb of Brisbane at the time...when I was a child! It was only Dad and my brother who ever used it...!!

Good to read of your gardening exploits..they seem so much like mine..!!

Meg @ Soup Is Not A Finger Food said...

ENTAILS is dangerously close to ENTRAILS. Just sayin'.

That's how I garden. I think a LOT about it but I never end up planting anything. It seems like a lot of WORK, all that digging and nurturing and fencing-off - because anything planted here must be protected from critters galore.

And there is a very small cross-section of plants between "shade-loving" and "deer resistant." There are, like, two that will grow here. So why bother?

Although I'm considering planting a bunch of invasive mint because, MOJITOS!!

Anonymous said...

I didn't know there would be a quiz...I didn't study! I'll just see what everybody else put

Love, CBW's duaghter

P.S. Tell me if I got a 100 (even though I didn't answer any of the questions)