Gardening for the…ahem…not so green thumb?

Gardening for Beginners | Musings of a Modern Hippie
Photo Credit: Southern Foodways Alliance

Gardening for Beginners
Been thinking about starting a garden this year. A very small, “easy” one to start with. It’s not that I’m a gardening novice as we had a HUGE garden when I was a kid and was forced to collect row upon row of string beans, peas, and tomatoes *shudder* among other veggies & fruit. But I didn’t exactly help out with the planning and logistics of the garden when I was 14. And it’s been a long time since then anyway. So I’m just barely a step above novice.

Also, I have this big problem in that I’m horrible at keeping things alive. My lucky bamboo even died and all you have to do with those things is keep water on it (which I did; it still died). Fish are lucky to last a few months in this house. I’ve found the secret to those is minimal fussing. Feed them a few times a week if you remember, turn their light on occasionally, don’t bother with a heater, and never change or test their water. Be sure to let so much algae grow that you can’t even enjoy them because you can’t see them through the sludge.

Gardening for Beginners | Musings of a Modern Hippie
Poor fishies!
My husband and son are very fortunate to have lasted this long. And I can’t say it hasn’t been without incidences either. One year I gave my husband trail mix that had walnuts in it (he’s allergic) and he swelled up so badly he looked like an Italian version of Will Smith in Hitch. 
We drove around the area of the hospital while he sipped Benedryl through a straw and he was ultimately just fine and we avoided the 10000 hour wait in the ER. Most recently it was the attempt to introduce peanut butter to my 2 yr old son this past weekend. Poor kid ended up covered in very itchy hives. He’s fine and they are starting to go away, but still. As you can see my history doesn’t bode well for any future produce I may be attempting to cultivate.

Assuming I can some how get my hands on some magic beans, the next issue is one of time management. I work full time. Or rather, I have a full-time job that I go to every day. And the husband works second shift, so that leaves me a single mom to a very curious and active 2 year old dare devil of a boy most nights. I plan to do my garden maintenance on the weekends during nap time and in the evenings after little dude goes to bed but before the sun sets if I need to. You know, the hours that I’d be normally sitting on my tush in front of the TV surfing the interwebs. I think it’s feasible if I keep the garden size under control.

We definitely have the space for a garden though. 1.2 acres split by a little natural water spring/creek thing. The back 1/3 of the property is not maintained (for laziness reasons), and I have amazing plans stored up in this brain of mine for the coolest Japanese-inspired garden some day when I win the lotto. Or someone gifts me $100,000 since you really need to play the lotto to win.

I think for my convenience I’ll put the garden behind the house though. Probably directly behind the house because I will have to completely enclose the entire thing. Which brings us to the next issue. Yes, I live in the burbs and the front of our house is actually on a double-laned major road. But the back of the house faces nothing but woods for miles. It’s the best of both worlds really; 5 minutes from a mall in the front, but all the peace of country living in the back. My house is basically a mullet. Now when I say country, I don’t mean pseudo-country. It’s Jack Hanna’s Animal Adventures back there most of the time.

Gardening for Beginners | Musings of a Modern Hippie
We may not have deer and antelope at play, but we have deer and turkeys. And coyotes. 
Gardening for Beginners | Musings of a Modern Hippie
See that tall pine in the way back to the left of the photo? Our property goes about 20′ past that.
So if I can enclose the garden enough and plant animal deterring plants nearby to keep the critters at bay we should be ok there. 
The last thing is my neighbor. As I’ve mentioned before, he has a personal toxic landfill in the back of his property. AND apparently there use to be a pond in the back of ours that got filled in with “dirty” fill by the dude that flipped our house before we bought it. I’ve actually found the weirdest things protruding from the yard while mowing. Bricks, carpet, rubber garden hoses, and a ton of construction debris. 
I have a strong hunch that the “dirty” fill was actually all the crap he pulled out of the house so he didn’t have to rent one of those big roll off garbage containers. Needless to say, this doesn’t make for very rich garden soil. In fact one thing I am currently researching is plants that buffer the soil and extract toxins. Filter plants. I have no idea if such things exist, but I suspect they do and it would be in our best interest to plant them in and around the garden of food we will be ingesting eventually.
If I can get anything to grow.


1 comment for “Gardening for the…ahem…not so green thumb?

  1. April 13, 2011 at 4:06 pm

    Try a square foot garden maybe? I hope to do one next year. But, everything is done on top of the ground…so you actually put a plastic covering over the grass area and fill in your box with soil for growing. If you google it you’ll get a ton of info. And that way you avoid any chemicals that are in the “natural” soil.

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