The planting season has begun at the Bacon house (well, apartment).
Last year was not a complete failure, but it was pretty pitiful. It was our first attempt at apartment/container gardening and we learned a lot during that time. First off, we decided to garden on a whim. We had a particularly trying week followed by a particularly trying weekend, so we decided that we needed to force ourselves to take some initiative on something…anything…to get us out into the sunshine. Cue a trip to Home Depot. We invested in some planters, seeds, and the cheapest dirt we could put our hands on. [Invested = spent too much money on]. Hubby and I then came home, divvied up the loot, and we officially started our first garden.
Things went fairly well from that point. Every morning we would wake up and practically run outside to see what had developed overnight. We would water the plants and sit in the sun on our back patio-area-thingy. I even put a wind chime up. Our snap peas were doing very well, our bush beans were making it, and our tomato plant was still living.
It rained and rained and rained the whole next month, which is great if you are going to be harvesting hay in the summer. However, for a barely-made container garden in March, it smelled of disappointment. It was great not having to water our plants with our chlorinated, fluorinated tap water, but our lovely little plants never rooted because they were spoiled to a never-ending supply of rain water. We lost a few seeds to drowning and rot, but the garden as a whole pulled through…until summer.
As I wrote earlier, the plants were spoiled brats. As soon as the typical Arkansas summer drought hit, our plants went from springy to blah. We managed to keep the snap peas, bush beans, and spinach alive, but the tomato and corn plants died an agonizing death.
Something that did do very well was our new-to-us strawberry plants. It came straight from the swampy Stuttgart, Arkansas to the bold, beautiful, and slightly ghetto Little Rock. My sister had been given a few plants from a gardener in her church and she knew that she could not dream of keeping it alive, so I adopted them. I was so excited when a beautiful little quarter-sized strawberry ripened up. I went outside and lovingly picked it, washed it off, and divided it with my husband. We were very pleased. I had my eye on the second berry of the harvest the next week. I waited DAYS for this one to grow and ripen. It was so beautiful. I checked on it one day and thought to myself that that one berry needed one more night’s rest and it was ready. I went to bed excited, anticipating eating that sweet, little berry the next morning with my greek yogurt. I’m pretty sure I dreamed about the darn thing that night. The next morning was like Christmas. After waking up, drinking my coffee, doing my studying, and getting ready, it was finally time. I drew my kitchen curtains aside. I opened the back door. I stepped onto my patio-area-thingy with my eyes full of giddy anticipation! …And a darned squirrel had eaten it overnight. It was sad really.
That one strawberry experience kind of summed up our gardening season last year. What did not die was eaten (by squirrels or bugs) before we could harvest it. But we vowed to do much better the next year!
Next year is here and we have prepared ourselves for this. We have been planting at the proper times, have been perfecting our composting system, and have gone through the extra precautions to plant marigolds to keep the bugs away. Things have already gone awry as winter has decided to visit us again this week. But we will not be moved! Instead, our tomato and bell pepper plants have moved…into our kitchen.
When they are in their normal place, the back patio-area-thingy looks pretty good. This year we have planted spinach, lettuce, green onion, and kale on the porch. In separate containers, we have our tomato, bell pepper, snap peas, bush beans, and corn plants. And on the pallet planter we have planted cilantro, oregano, dill, parsley, tarragon, thyme, mint, and rosemary, as well as strawberries and carrots.
Most of them have sprouted and are looking very well. I figure we will need to replant some since it has been so rainy (again), but things are looking up this year.
On a separate note, today is my 25th birthday. Each birthday is like the last, but this day was different. This is the day I got diagnosed with the flu. I have never had the flu in my life, but I honestly expected it to be worse than it currently is. Don’t get me wrong, it is no fun, but not near as bad as I thought. It took me exactly 25 years to get the flu, and I hope that it takes me another 25 years to catch it again. I shall have to celebrate the day of my birth when I feel better and am not quarantined to our cute, little apartment.
God bless, and take some vitamin C.