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June 14, 2007

In The Garden

The last time I attempted to garden was in the spring of 2000. I bought a bunch of seeds from Territorial -- lettuce, bush beans, carrots -- and planted them in the sandy soil around our patio area. They sprouted, and then they were gone to the slugs within a matter of days. I thought about replanting, but then I noticed the neighborhood cats were using the space as a litter box.

After that, I dreamed of trying another garden, but I ran into two problems. One was that I didn't have time. The other was I am exceedingly lazy, and gardening isn't lazy man's work. (My willingness to let my lawn look like a shortgrass prairie underscores that.)

This year, though, we moved into this new three-story rental townhouse. With it came this third-floor deck about the size of a small bedroom. It has southern exposure, holds the heat well, and no slug in their right mind is going to climb three stories just to eat tender shoots.

Perfect for a container garden.

But container gardens, unfortunately, cost money.

I wanted to do tomatoes, which have huge root bulbs. They require, at minimum, 15 gallons of soil. $40 worth of nursery planters and $40 worth of soil later, I had a medium. The seedlings cost $10, including the $3.50 "Green Grape" heirloom I bought at Swansons. (I also bought two "Early Girl" starters and a hybrid cherry at Home Despot.) Throw in two packets of lettuce seeds (mesclun and Black Seed Simpson) and some herbs (parsley, sage, thyme, basil -- sorry, no rosemary) and I'm now down $100. Last weekend I needed tomato cages (thanks to the wind ripping one plant out), so that was another $30. And water is, well, a little expensive in these parts.

So far, though, I'm happy. The heirloom tomato is struggling for some reason (it's a little limp and not as green as the other three), and I way overseeded the lettuce in the tomato pots (I can't seem to thin them fast enough... salad anyone?). But the other tomato plants have grown a foot in the last month and are cage-ready, I'm going to be up to my ears in argula soon, and the herbs, despite some insect attacks on the basil, are thriving. Maybe I don't suck at this.

The other nice thing is that Annabel loves to water the plants. She's turning into a handy garden assistant, even if she's overwatering them a bit.

I won't know if this is working until the plants actually set fruit. Unfortunately, in the cool Northwest that means another two months. But it's nice to know I can get plants to grow, even if I'm down $130 in the quest for a tomato that doesn't taste like styrofoam. And if I do get tomatoes, there will be plenty to share with others.

Posted by dylan at 09:29 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 05, 2007


Originally uploaded by Dylan W.
The camera's back, we're slowly unpacking and decluttering, and Susan changed jobs. Also, I have my first container garden going -- four tomato plants and a couple pots of herbs.

Meanwhile, my mother-in-law's prognosis remains iffy, I'm still stuck in a rut, and I blog once a month.

At this point, how many people still read my blog?

Sometime this summer I will finally complete the long-awaited redesign and site move. And I think I will be going to Wordpress.

I also have learned that as a father you say things you'd never thought you'd imagine yourself saying when you were un-reproduced. For example, "Annabel! Toothpaste is not hand soap!"

So, everyone, hello.

Posted by dylan at 10:32 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack