Wednesday, August 4, 2010

My first garden

After 5 years in a small apartment with no personal outdoor space of my own, I'm spending my first summer at my new digs, complete with community garden!  This is something I've been looking forward to for years!  We managed to get a very small plot and after doing some research (okay, I looked at probably two webpages), I found out that it's best to wait until Memorial Day weekend to plant in Colorado if you want to avoid frost.  I weeded and turned over dirt for an entire day, laid down some organic compost (organic only or the old garden ladies will murder me), and the next day, planted my first garden.  I planted tomato, pepper, and strawberry plants, then used seeds for oregano, basil, dill, beans, peas, broccoli, carrots, beats, and a butternut squash.  This all fit in a plot perhaps slightly larger than a twin bed.  I didn't really know what I was doing, so I just went for it. 

The view isn't too shabby from our garden plot.
Long before finding out we made it to the top of the garden-plot waiting list, we started an indoor garden in tubs and slowly moved them outside as the weather warmed up.  These tubs included cherry tomato bush-types, peas, beans, and tons of herbs.  

And then it hailed the day after I finished putting in all of my plants outside.  The problem was, we weren't home when it happened.  If we were, we could have stood outside with umbrellas over our plants or dragged our tub garden under the overhang.  Unfortunately, we returned home shortly after it finished to find random piles of hail resembling snow covered the area.  I was very upset and somewhat frantically removing chunks of ice from the bases of our tub plants when Dave saved the day with some xmas lights and a plastic tarp.

The next day we surveyed the damage to the garden plot and the tubs.  This hail storm took most of the leaves off of my plants and the leaves that were left were scarred and yellowed.  So, I wandered back to the store and got three more tomato plants, two more pepper plants, and one more strawberry plant.  Assuming the hail-damaged plants would soon die, I planted the new plants in very close proximity to the half-dead ones.  In the case of the tomatoes, all of the plants survived, so now I have six HUGE tomato plants within about a 2 by 2 foot area.  Oops!

We got hail several times after this and one time Dave was able to collect a few hail specimens and save them in our freezer.  Only in a house with two meteorologists would hail in a freezer be considered a romantic gesture!

Anyway, on Friday we took a walk to the garden plot and discovered our first rewards, four ripe tomatoes!  I left for the airport minutes later, and took one for the road.  Not knowing if it would be allowed through security, I sat there at DIA and enjoyed my tomato.   

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