romantic gardener

How hard is it to grow vegetables ?  Good soil, sun and water is all that's needed right ?  Right !  or so I thought.

3 years a go I approached gardening like how I approached everything in life - FULL of optimism.  When the last seed and seedling was sown into the dark rich soil, I watched my garden eagerly.  I pictured warm early morning, the sun barely up, the dew still on the leaves, me out in my garden, filling my basket full of ripe fruits and crisp fresh green veggies.  I don't understand all the talks about mulching and turning of soil and fertilizing !  People complicated things too much.  Anyone can do this !  I'm doing it !  Anytime now, I will have spinach and snap peas to munch on !!!

Days and weeks in to this new gardening hobby, after countless watering and talking and singing to the plants, my little garden is littered with tiny green plants, full of life, full of leaves.  It's beautiful.  I can't wait to eat them.

One morning I went out to check on how the spinach is doing.  I bent over to look at the spinach patch and my heart sank at the sight.  All the green leaves I saw JUST yesterday, all the green lovely leaves I hope to put in my tummy, are now a field of stems and holey leaves !  There are holes on practically every single leaf.  What the cheerio is going on ?  I ran inside and consulted with my expert gardener, google, on this subject.  I typed "what's eating my spinach?" and got many answers.  It seems, there are many evil creatures in my garden that I'm unaware of.  Slugs, snails, beetles, to name a few.  Oh how I hate them !  This means war !

If it was indeed a "war" then them pests won and I lost terribly !  It was a surprise attack and I was cornered.  Those little buggers !  I didn't even know they were coming in troops and giving birth to more soldiers over night !  I looked for worms and snails everyday and killed many.  But I was just too too late in the game.  They multiplied over night.  HOW come I didn't see them coming ?  Was I blinded by all the greens and overlooked them tiny holes and slimy trails ?  Gardening is far from easy !!!! far FAR from it !

Our carrots !  They were baby carrot size !  It was fun to play with but too little to eat and doesn't taste very sweet.  Maybe we pulled them too early  ?  We'll try it again another time.

In my 2nd year of gardening, still high on hope, I decided to plant "stronger" vegetables.  I planted cucumbers, tomatoes (fruit ?), beets, carrots and brussel sprouts.  These bunch were easy going.  Sunlight and water did them well.  The cucumber and tomatoes were very fruitful.  I have more than our family can eat.  We even gave some away. 

What I was most excited about this year's gardening is the brussel sprouts.  Such interesting plant.  My brussels were doing well then one fine afternoon I noticed white web like stuff on a few of the leaves.  No matter now much I clean the leavers and spray it with my worm-killer mixture, the leaves had holes all over them.  Then the strong tough stems, one by one, went yellow and then ghastly whitish.  Life were drained from them.  We got lots of butterfly, which was a bad sign.  Them brussels did try, they did.  They fought for their lives but were dead vegetables within that week.   Mr. C had to pull them out because they were an unbearable sight.  I can't believe I was defeated again just like that.

I learned, the homemade pesticide I made wasn't strong enough to kill all those worms preying on my plants.  I didn't want to buy commercial pesticide and all the organic recipes I tried didn't work.  This is why there are organic pesticides (derived from natural sources, dissolved into the soil, isn't harmful to pet or plants) to help the plants.  I will consider them in the future.

Being the ever-optimistic person, I took my failure in stride.  I should have been more prepared, and read on each plant before I sow them.  There are so many resources and so many good tips, don't plant this with this, plant these together, water in morning only, etc. etc.  I must say though, I have a renewed appreciation for farmers.  Organic farming is NOT easy.  Gardening needs more than just good soil, sun and water !  The basic necessities are there to keep the plant going and help it grow, but it needs protection !  A lot of protection !  

Green beans !  Bee planted 2 next to each other !  why not !

Marigold to deter aphids !

A healthy growing garden is a testament of the dedication given to it by the gardener, all the attention and care and countless tending hours.  It won't surprise me if they camp out and sleep near their plants too !  Being blinded by the idea of having my very own garden, I expected sweet returns from it with little work.  I should have known !  nothing good is ever easy.  There's just no such thing.  Great reward comes from hard work and dedication and commitment !

I am gardening again this year !!!  My kids helped with the sowing and digging !  They had a lot of fun and together we will guard over this piece of land.  I spoke to the lady at the nursery and got some advices on destroying garden pests.  I planted marigolds and set up snails/slugs traps.  I also got dried egg shells scattered around the perimeter too !  I don't know which plant will survive and which will die, but the process, the whole planting and watching and waiting and tendering and watering process, it has given me so much joy, so I win either way.  Ever the optimistic me :-D