BY VALERIE BELDEN WILDER
Columbia County, New York I Thursday, 31 May 2018
My vegetable garden on the side of the house is doing so well!
You’ve heard the expression, a watched pot never boils? Well, I’m pretty sure the converse is true for my garden, a watched garden always grows! Do you see that little tiny cherry tomato forming? Look hard, it’s there! There are five of them, so far.
I first planted the seeds, starts, and bulbs a month ago, come Tuesday.
I’ve been jealously guarding and checking my little garden, like it’s a newborn baby. I’m over there three or four times a day, looking, staring, and positively willing things to grow, with each day’s first viewing right after I get out of the shower. (Or sometimes, even before I get in the shower.)
The tomato starts from Agway are all doing really well, and shooting up. I planted four earlier on, and the last two a bit later than the others, so they’re not as big, of course. Pretty soon, I’m gonna have to put them into cages, to help support them as they grow, and I have the cages all lined up and ready to go.
I have six cherry tomato plants (the ones from Agway) and one regular-sized tomato plant, which came from one of my father’s starts.
My onions are also shooting up! So well, in fact, I planted even more on Tuesday. I’d only planted half of the handful of bulbs I bought, but the other day I thought it might be nice to have them come on in two spurts, so I planted a few more, on the other end of the garden.
The sugar snap peas are coming up, too!
I haven’t seen hide nor hair of any cucumber plants, and of course, the potatoes, if they really ARE growing, are underground, so who knows? Cross your fingers.
(This just in on the potato plants: They’re growing, they’re growing! Some leafy green things have appeared in the spots where I planted the potato pieces, and my dad says sure enough, they’re potatoes and not weeds!)
I’ve been catching rainwater in buckets and a big blue barrel, so I haven’t had to haul too much water from inside, thankfully. I love sunny days, of course, but then it gets super hot upstairs at Valoftten, so I also welcome the rainy days, to cool down my space and fill my water buckets.
I also love the sound of rain on the roof when I’m in my little bed, tucked under the eves. So peaceful…
Oh! My Boston Lettuce plant is also going crazy in my southern-facing living room/dining room (LRDR). I might need to consider splitting the four plants out into separate containers, I dunno. I’m thinking about it, in the back of my mind.
Every time I go to the Hawthorne Valley Farm Store, I eye the other lettuce starts. There are some really pretty plants called Red Oak Leaf Lettuce, and also some Green Oak Leaf Lettuce. It’d also be nice to have some spinach, but I haven’t seen any starts of it there.
I’ve decided to keep the lettuce plants inside in containers, because this yard is teeming with wildlife. Pretty much every morning, as Thing 2 and I are sitting down to breakfast, we see a bunny by the forsythia bush, and as much as I like bunnies, I don’t want them eating MY lettuce.
I know it was a few years ago, when I worked at Barnes & Noble, when I saw a magazine about container gardening, and saw the idea of lettuce bowls. I think they were lined upon a patio, or something.
I haven’t been able to get that idea out of my head ever since.
I’ve been trying to figure out how I can incorporate more lettuce bowls into the decor in my living room. I really like the way my furniture is arranged right now, so I don’t know how I can add more space for lettuce bowls, unless I put them on my coffee table trunk.
My end table, under the window, has only room for one lettuce bowl. If I had my way, those windows would be replaced with either a bay window, like in the dining room directly below, or some sort of French doors out onto a small balcony. Dreaming…
The view from there would be amazing, over to Grandma Sweetie and Grandpa Blackberry, my two favorite trees. And just think of all the plants I could grow out there!
So if I buy more lettuce starts, and lemme tell ya, I’m positively itching to, when I get paid, I might put them in bowls on the coffee table trunk. Or I might put them on the nightstands in the western-facing master bedroom, which I don’t use in the summertime because it gets too unbearably hot.
It also would be very nice to grow some herbs in my LRDR. Every Thanksgiving I lament the price of a small bundle of mint, for my famous (at least to me) Cranberry-Orange Relish. And on the rare instance when I splurge on some little lamb chops, I wish for a tiny sprig of fresh rosemary.
Maybe I could get some small pots for herbs, to line up on my LRDR windowsills? We’ll see…
My garden on 23 May. Raking the dirt is a remarkably Zen-like, relaxing experience…
Are you wondering what that white cord is at the top of the foundation? I’m pretty sure it’s our downstairs landline. Not exactly high tech, so don’t be surprised when it goes out of service after the next storm. Ahhh, the joys of country life.
By the red rake, you see a rock and a metal plate? I’m using them as weights to stunt the growth of two awkward bushes I don’t know what to do with.