Bloody Battles

Grape tomatoes - bought already fruiting
Bloody Battle No. 1 - The Battle of the Cold.

It's finally garden season in Wisconsin. Granted, heartier stock than I got their gardens in ages ago and are probably thinking, "WTH, girl?". But I'm the definition of a fair-weather gardener. I, quite literally, will not work in the garden if the weather is bad - or even questionable. So, as you all know, Mother Nature has been weirdly unpredictable here for the last couple of months which has severely effected my digging in the dirt.

Bloody Battle No. 2 - The Seige at Market

Saturday morning, I hauled my butt out of bed at an ungodly 6a.m. and went to the Farmer's Market. My intention was to just to get the plants I needed to finish up the food garden. I managed to come home with most of what I needed and a bunch of stuff I didn't. My bag contained:
  • A grape tomato plant
  • A Mr. Stripey tomato plant
  • Three Heritage Cherokee Purple tomato plant (because they only came in packs of three)
  • A bunch of little cucumber sprout, of which I used 6 or so and gave the rest to my neighbor
  • A bunch of sugar snap peas, most of which I used
  • Four Swiss chard plants
  • Four fennel plant (the kind with the bulbs)
  • A new oregano plant, since mine died over the winter
  • A rosemary plant
  • An Italian parsley plant
As if that weren't enough, I still needed arugula because I couldn't find it at the market. At the greenhouse I found one, solitary pot of the peppery leaf (with four plants in it) and - my favorite find of the year - Malabar climbing spinach. I know... I'd never heard of it either. But the idea that I could have spinach all year long and that it would grow UP instead of out?? Heaven, baby!

I also bought some new tomato stakes that are supposed to be the bomb. It's just a spiral piece of coated metal and you train the tomato's main stalk up the middle of it. I bought the 7 foot Gardman's brand. We'll see if it works. I despise tomato cages. 

The spinach is against the fence

Fortunately, the weather was glorious on Sunday - sunny, low 70's, no humidity - so I got a solid three hours in the garden and everything's in the ground.

Making the most of small spaces
Bloody Battle No. 3 - The Colonization of the Patio Strip

Mine is an urban garden, taking up little strips of earth wherever I can wedge something in. As a result I tend to plant things pretty densely and deal with culling the plants later. I tried pot gardening a few times but never had much luck and I seem to get quite a bit out of my tiny plots of land. The concept of "square foot gardening" is great when you have a tiny area to work with. While I don't specifically follow it, I think that it's a good starting point for people with limited space. I'm also fond of the concept of "vertical gardening" where you plant things in such a way as to make them grow "up." My favorite example of this is the potato cage. I haven't built one yet but might now that the bulk of the gardening is done.

Bloody Battle No. 4 - The Battle of the Bunnies: The Final Stand

Another plight of the urban garden are urban rabbits. My neighbor encourages them. This year, I bought some deer and rabbit repellent. We'll see if it works. My dogs keep trying to eat it because it's made with garlic and spoiled eggs or something disgusting like that. All I can say is that, if the little bast*rds eat my cool new spinach, I'm coming after them with a rake.

Not actual rabbit
The war is won. With the plants in the ground and the work shifting from "planting" to "tending", I finally feel like summer is here. Unfortunately, with my late start, I'll probably be eating from my garden a little later this year. There are a lot worse things to worry about, I suppose - like, who's going to pull all the weeds that pop up.

- Alex (aka Ms McGregor)

1 comment:

  1. Good luck with the tending portion... I'm so not a gardener. I occasionally manage to do the planting, but the tending seems to end up being "watch the plants die because you have black thumb"!