On Sunday, we (and by “we” I mean myself and my garden-yogi/foreman/neighbor Rita) got all of the vegetable plants into the ground, just in time before a week of rain and deluge were about to hit. I had gone to a lovely nursery not far from us to choose what I’d be growing and here’s what I selected, based on what I like but also what I thought would reap results for an amateur like myself:
Beets, zucchini, eggplant, green beans, sugar snap peas, several varieties of tomatoes (Jersey tomatoes!), jalapeno (which I’m hoping to pickle), kale, and for Belle and Conor: one sugar baby watermelon plant a piece.
Putting in all the little plantlings was completely back-breaking work (this is probably more than obvious for those of you who do it all of the time): although I had already tilled the soil and gotten it mostly clear of debris and rocks and that epic ant hill; there were still dirt clumps to break up and weeds to sniff out. I was completely humbled by Rita, who is about 40 years older than me but insisted on digging many of the holes and didn’t run for cover when the first of many thunderstorms blew through and soaked us to the bone. I know for some people gardening is a solitary affair, a time of quiet, earthy, refelection. I prefer a buddy to chat with while getting attached by the inhabitants of the aforementioned ant hill.
My biggest worry has been (besides the mercenary bunnies, more on that later) the amount of rain we received right after I got all the plants in. But I’ve been assured by several gardening experts that they will not indeed float away on a mudslide and into the Raritan river, even though the amount of water we’ve gotten this week has been absurd (although we don’t live next to the Mississippi, so I really shouldn’t be complaining). It just makes for very muddy work.
I ended up devoting a lot of real estate to tomato plants. There are basically three large non-raised beds, one medium, and two small. Two of the large beds along the periphery of the garden are dedicated to a couple of eggplants and then heirloom tomatoes of all kinds: multi-colored cherry, rutgers, a purple variety. Besides housewives, the mafia, and excessive tanning, Jersey (aka the Garden State) is also famous for its tomatoes. I think it has something to with the soil–and it’s not because it’s toxic! It’s just good stuff.
The middle bed is devoted to the beans and peas and beets (which I’m also hoping to pickle with THESE jars, but clearly I’m getting ahead of myself choosing the jars before I have the actual beets).
The medium bed along one side is devoted to the melons, jalapeno, and kale. One small bed is all herbs: chives, sage, purple basil and Italian basil, tarragon, and flat leave parsley. I’m hoping to maybe get in some lemon thyme and maybe something else. You can see from the photo above all of the debris and “helicopters” that blew onto what had been very clean beds of just dirt and plants. This will all need cleaning up.
And the other small bed when you first enter, next to some boxwood plants, are the zucchini (planted mostly for Conor because these are the only vegetable he will eat, although he doesn’t know that his beloved “green pizza” is made with zucchini).
All in all it looks nice, although my next task (besides labeling all of the plants with stakes and then the regular watering and weeding and pest vigilance) is to clean up all the debris the rain has blown in, fix up the brick paths that need a little TLC, and there are these guys…waiting…watching…Look how fat he is! Maybe I’m getting paranoid, but just in case I wrapped the entire garden fence with another layer of fencing that has smaller holes, then blocked any possible entry points with scavenged rocks and bricks and then also barricaded the bottom of the gate like so:
I got those plants locked up good and tight! So bring it bunnies! Actually, no, don’t bring it. Please, whatever you do, don’t bring it. But if you do, I’m ready for you…
And I have a few empty spaces left for a couple of more vegetables…any suggestions?