Once upon a time we were gardening folk. When I first met Lovey I was charmed by his loving care of the little plot of dirt that ran along the white wooden house he inhabited. Tomatos, peppers, some herbs and a few pansies for color. When we married and moved to Iowa we rented a house with a sweet backyard and a larger plot dug up and tended for corn, beans and tomotos. I ran headlong into my first cidada there while admiring the wildflowers that grew willfully with the toss of a handful of seeds. Our next move to St. Louis kept had us joining a community garden since our apartment had little green space.
Then we moved to the south. And within the first season we suddenly appreciated the reference to black gold for the soil in the midwest. Here in the south you have to expend much greater effort to be able to grow anything near the lot we had previously. The first year we were here the neighbors who while not “master gardeners”, but clearly having mastered gardening offered us up two rows in their tennis court sized lot. We happily picked out our seeds and seedlings and put down rows of beans, cucumber, tomatos, peppers, carrots and zucchini. I had a couple of melon seeds and added them on the end. When I naivily described our plans to more gardeners at work they commented about how much space and trellising we must have for the beans and melons. I was confused but concurred. Within weeks of living in their well-tended soil I understood our mistake. Fortunately a patch of bamboo lives in our yard as well so we set to rigging up a rather “Gilligan’s Island” like contraption for the cucumbers and beans and said a prayer of thanks that the melon vines were headed out away from the rest of the seedlings. our homemade, bamboo trellis lasted all of a week when the first winds left over from the beginnings of hurricane season swept through.
The next year we decided to not embarrass ourselves with our lack of southern gardening knowledge in front of our neighbors. We dug up a plot, fertilized and tilled it and put in some beams to keep it framed and tidy. When I mentioned to my dental hygeneist about the squirrels having their way with half of our tomatoes and some sort of rot wrecking the other half she mentioned that what I should have done was to add a penny and match into the soil under each seedling. Another neighbor came by to instruct me on exactly how to cut back my tomato plants and had a suggestion that perhaps a snake dog or gun might help us to keep critters out of our garden and yard. The next summer when friends from out of town came to visit, one particularly observent questioner asked why we decided to plant our garden in partial shade rather than full sun.
That was probably the beginning of the end for our vegetable patches for a while. The next year a few volunteer tomatos and peppers returned but my efforts became focused on herbs in the bed by our backdoor and Lovey’s on keeping the grass that was dying in our front yard from becoming totally extinct due to the drought and ever-increasing canopy of trees.
As the children get older we’ll try again in a few years. But for now I’m left with a few photos of our efforts which make me smile as I enjoy the vegetable dumpings of our more successful neighbors and co-workers.
Corner view is a weekly Wednesday date hosted originally hosted by Jane, currently by Francesca. A topic is given and you can see impressions; be it in photographic or writerly in form from around the world: Jane, Dana, Bonny, Joyce, Ian, Francesca, Theresa, Cate, Kasia, Otli, Trinsch, Isabelle, Janis, Kari, jgy, Lise, Dorte, McGillicutty, Sunnymama, Ibb, Kelleyn, Ninja, Sky, RosaMaria, Juniper, Valerie, Sammi, Cole, Don, WanderChow, FlowTops, Tania, Tzivia, Kristin, Laura, Guusje, Susanna, Juana, Elsa, Nadine