Well, when I woke up Saturday morning I knew considerably less than I know now.
I’ve talked to aunts and uncles and cousins and friends and neighbors. I’ve discovered there are gardeners hiding all over the place, and they are thrilled to offer tips and tricks. I like tips and tricks. I also like finding secret gardeners. Here are some things I’ve learned:
- Start small! That’s what everyone keeps telling me. I have decided to ignore this piece of advice and have the entire yard plowed up to start a produce stand.
- If there are brown holes all over my lawn (there aren’t), that means skunks are poking around digging for grubs (we’re good so far).
- Rows should go north to south. Sun is good, shade is bad, unless you have been working in the sun, in which case you will go and hunt out the meagre shade nearby and think about how hot you are.
- Corn and melons are friends, plant marigolds next to tomatoes, and let pepper plants touch because they like to hang out together and gossip about the other plants.
- Plant taller crops to the northwest so that they don’t cast a shadow over the rest of the garden.
- Our sump pump ran for a solid month this winter, Dad, and the hose fell off every five minutes. Our neighbors kept running over to fix it in order to keep our basement dry. I learned that yesterday and I’m putting it here because I’ll probably forget to tell you.
- Much like having a favorite burger place or type of pie, everyone has a favorite garden center, and they greatly disdain all other garden centers.
Regarding sweet corn:
Apparently it is hard to grow? This much I know: I love sweet corn. I’ve had a few types recommended to me. Bread and butter is one, and Silver Queen is another. According to my dad, my great-grandfather was the one who first introduced Silver Queen to the area. He had a legendary green thumb. I never knew him, but I am going to put my garden on the last half-acre of the old family farm, and that’s the closest I can get to knowing him, isn’t it? The cemetery is half a mile up the road, and if I get some Silver Queen to be proud of, maybe I’ll drop in and let him know. However, I probably won’t share the sweet corn.
My mom has pictures of her on the back of a potato harvester. Neighbor Bill has informed me that the way to discover if we can grow potatoes is to go find a potato with eyes. Cut it in half. Put it in the soil about yay deep (indicates with hands), and see what happens. Once there is blight in the soil, it’s hard to get the blight out, so maybe you’ll get a potato and maybe you won’t.
Despite a lifelong reluctance toward asking for help or admitting I am in any way not on top of things, when I do ask for help, no one laughs at me. Contrary to my expectations, everyone is kind and helpful. Is that unique to gardening?
Experienced Gardener: How’s your water?
Soil can be: dusty, loamy, acidic, alkaline, dirty, muddy, rich, earthy, peaty, soddy, grassy, and it can smell like the most wonderful thing.
I still don’t know what loamy means.
All ground is hard until such time as it isn’t.