Thursday, July 28, 2011

It Could Be Croptacular (Babble)

I do not garden.  I seem like the kind of person who might garden, but no, I should not be trusted with plants.

I like gardens.  I admire people who have the skill and patience for it.  My mom is a spectacular gardener, my neighbor’s yard looks beautiful, but me?  Plants die with me.

I have trouble with tasks that never seem done.  It’s good for my sanity that my husband does the laundry, because it’s the kind of Sisyphean task that makes me nuts.  Even if I’m caught up on laundry I just find myself looking at what everyone has on as laundry yet to do.  Gardening for me is a little like that.  You weed, the weeds come back.  Something always needs tending and it’s just never done.  Violin making may look tedious to people, but at least when a violin is finished I can set it aside and begin something new without fear that all my efforts will have come undone while I was looking the other way.  Gardens just always look like a constant struggle to me.

My husband, however, has had it in his mind ever since we became property owners that he wants to plant vegetables.  I told him years ago that was great but I wasn’t helping.  I’m fine with buying my tomatoes at the store or the farmers’ market.  Periodically he buys seeds and sets up pots and enlists Aden to help him plant and water, but pesky things like bad weather or deployments to Iraq kept thwarting those attempts to grow food.

But now that my kids are all old enough to really tend a garden and would be excited to plant their own carrots and peas I’ve decided to take an interest.  It could be fun!
Our new house is on a corner, so there is a lot to mow and it feels like we have a lot of land to play with, but most of it is shaded by trees.  I’ve been trying to figure out for a while where we’d have enough sun to even make a vegetable garden work.  And I finally figured it out–the roof.

My girls have a good sized terrace off their bedroom.  The terrace makes me a little nervous because the walls around it are not high enough in my opinion, and we intend to get a railing for it to make it safer.  But the terrace is on the second floor and above all the nearby trees.  It’s the one place that gets a lot of sun.  Wouldn’t it be cool for the girls to have a garden right outside their room?  It seems like a good use of that space to me.

So this weekend when we went to the plant store (just because I don’t garden doesn’t mean I don’t like to have pretty things planted around my house, it just means they don’t last long) we spotted a nice vegetable box intended for apartments or balconies and it was on sale.  The only one they had left in the size we wanted happened to be the display model, so we didn’t have to worry about assembly.  We did have to worry about how to get it home.
(Mona–the only child who volunteered to help because she is awesome that way–assisting her dad with twine.)

I’m excited about our new vegetable box!  We plan to seal it and find something to set it on to distribute the wight of its feet better.  Someone suggested some kind of light planting material that isn’t as heavy as dirt, so we’ll look into that.  I have some concerns about creating something that will come crashing through the ceiling of my shop below if we’re not careful, but I think we are on the right track.
It should be big enough for all three kids to plant a little something.  If it’s a hit, we could get more pots for the terrace.

So we’re planning ahead for next spring.  That should give me enough time to research vegetable gardens and figure out what we’re doing.  It will be interesting.  Aden’s thumb is much greener than my own, and she is unlikely to get deployed, so we may have a shot this time.

Any tips or suggestions for our new little garden?

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