Nail-Biting Gardening

Sunday and Saturday were beautiful. 80-90 degrees, sunny, perfect for frolicking outside, and just the sort of weather to lull a gardener into a false sense of security.

Needless to say, I was fooled.

We got a bit more ambitious with the garden this year–tearing out the front patch between the sidewalk and the street to make way for squash, watermelon, and chard.

Breaking up the plot of dandelions and dead grass was tough, backbreaking work that I watched while sitting on the porch drinking margaritas. Eric borrowed a pickaxe from a neighbor and swung it through the heavy clay soil for about 2 days. Even so, much of it is still hard as rock and I’m hoping that it’ll get better just by planting. Using an online calculator, I learned that I’d have to purchase 16 bags of compost to till in 3″ into that area. I settled for 4 and mixed it in. We left a patch of ground cover along the road and in between the two plots to maintain access for people to get out of their cars.

Saturday, I bought all my starts from the same person as last year.

Sunday, I couldn’t wait any longer. I planted, even though the snooty woman at Echter’s told me to wait.

A few years ago, I was talking about Colorado gardening with a friend, I can’t remember who. They said something along the lines of, “You know, I’m not really a ‘walls of water’ gardener.” Ever since then, I figured it was really really uncool to be a “walls of water gardener” and never gave them a second thought. Then last year I went to a different friend’s house, someone I think of as pretty cool, and she had walls of water up. I reconsidered my self-image and bought walls of water to protect my little seedlings this year.

Planted this year: 2 types of corn, rainbow chard, 2 types of pole beans, 3 types of cucumbers, 4 types of tomato, 1 tomatillo plant, 2 types of eggplant, 3 types of peppers, basil, oregano, dill, rosemary, onions, lettuce, peas, carrots, radishes, butternut squash, watermelon, thyme, lemongrass, chives, and beets.

The next day, it rained. And rained and rained and got down to about 32 degrees.

I was scared for my little plantlings. I texted Eric from work and told him to cover the cucumbers and squash.

Two days of cold and rain later, everything is fine!! I’m sort of ridiculously happy about that.

One of the cucumbers got a little crispy, but I think will make it:

And the tomato and tomatillo plants were snug in their homes:

The spinach that overwintered is probably ready to pick, with the new seeds doing okay.

The cilantro has grown into little trees, and the last of the radishes are ready to harvest:

The first of the pea blossoms are here!

The lettuce and onions are doing well, too:

And we even had a blessing from the garden butterfly/fairy:

Looking forward to watching everything (and everyone) grow this year!

(And as a last note, here’s a comparison where things were last year. So many more green plants this year, and so much deader grass. I don’t think it’s going to make it–I see some sort of gravel/flagstone in the future. I know, I know you all told me so.)

One thought on “Nail-Biting Gardening

  1. Shree says:

    Real gardeners use walls o’ water…I learned that at Master Gardener class.
    Die hards use strands of holiday lights to add gentle heat and get a jump start on cold frames.

    Consider ground cover, creeping phlox or junipers to replace dying grass? Less time consuming upkeep than more veggies? Toss in some spring flowering bulbs this fall for 3-season interest.


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