Thursday, April 21, 2011

Texas Gardening 101= Together

I love gardening. When I was growing up all I wanted was a garden to dig around in and grow things. On my 16th Birthday I came home from school and found my sweetheart of a Dad in the back yard working fiercely on something. I went back there and found him on his hands and knees elbow deep in the dirt. He had dug up about an 8'x8' space in the rear left side of the yard. And he was edging it with a beautiful decorative brick border for me, and it brought tears. Just think, my own little plot of rich, brown, beautiful earth. A garden for my Birthday. When I opened my other presents there was seeds, a hand shovel, a spade, and a sprinkler. I don't remember how successful I was at it...after all that was 35 years ago....but I remember how I felt that my Dad and Mom would do that for me. It's one of my most memorable Birthdays.

It was so much fun to pull and eat a fresh raddish, or carrot. I remember planting beets, and cucumbers. And to this day tomatoes are my favorite vegetables (fresh from the vine, of course). Growing things in Utah was a pleasure. It's soil seemed kissed by the heavens and all one had to do is plant, and water to have amazingly fruitful results.

Jerry and I (and 6 month old Kristi) moved to Texas (1984). I tried early on to replicate the 8'x8' garden parcel in the back yard of our old home on Big Sky Drive...but the spiders, snakes, fire ants, and creepy crawlies of all kinds was a huge deterrent, as was the incredible growth of weeds that seemed to grow over night in the humidity. I had a hard time determining which was which, plants or weeds...and my weeds seemed to be winning. I remember thinking more than once that I needed to purchase a machette! It was more expensive, and flabbergasting, than enjoyable and I soon flipped in the white towel on vegetable gardening.

But I was not about to have a flower free yard. So I figured I would focus on experimenting with native plants that I liked. Jerry and I drove all around town in those early years as we watched the housing boom here, and took pictures of some of the beautiful landscaping going in on some of the upscale homes. That is how I planned my yard. I didn't even know the names of most of the schrubs and flowers. But I went to the Home Department and pointed at alot of pictures, and learned. LOL. When we built our new home we sold the one on Big Sky in one day. I know it was for a lot of reasons but I have to think that our yard was a contributing factor.

That brings us to recently. Our son Jered came home from school and was saying that the kids were hauling stone to put around their garden at school. They were preparing to plant a vegetable garden. Little pangs of sadness crept into that 16 year old girl's heart of mine. We just planted our back yard in grass intending on putting in a swimming pool. It's been a great place for the kids to play...but I didn't landscape much out back since I didn't want to have to pull out and re-do landscaping when the pool goes in. So it's just nice green grass back there. But my front yard I had landscaped just the way I wanted. And we have flowers a'plenty. :) But all this talk of veggies made me wish I had a place to plant a vegetable garden. To TRY once again. Now that it's 2011 and I have acclimated not only to the weather but to all the creepy crawlies of North Texas.

When the flowers went in I found that I wanted a few more... (I always do that). So as I was running errands last month I heard Lowes Garden Center calling my name. It's funny because I grabbed a wagon and walked straight to the vegetable starts. Oh my goodness! I was in hog-heaven. Before I knew it...I had bought 4 different kinds of tomato plants, crook-neck yellow squash, cucumbers, a bell pepper plant and a partridge in a pear tree. Where would I PUT them though? I didn't care if I had to toss a few flowers...those tomatoes were GOING IN! I waited until Jered got home and told him I had planned a really cool Family Home Evening. I asked him to come and walk with me to decide where they would go in. He seemed to share my enthusiasm and we made some great choices. There was just enough room for our little flower garden rebels.

So a'planting we did go.

A couple of feet of ground was spotted behind
a row of flowers. So in went 3 tomato plants.

My helpful son.

Our little starts. Yay!

Prepping that soil.

Daddy helping.

Beneath a decorative tree...veggies!

Flowers AND veggie garden. Nice!

Okay- I bought 4 different varieties of tomato plants to see which one is successful. Look what we found last Friday already...
FIVE little tiny tomatoes! Yay!


Since finding the tomatoes Jered surprised me last Friday by coming home from school and presenting me with a package of Cilatro seeds that he purchased in their class 'Positive Pantry' with points he'd earned that week for great behavior. He could have purchased many things including snacks, toys, etc. but he chose seeds. Awesome.

Jered's positive pantry purchase.
(Say that three times fast) 

We are so excited! The cages are on, and the plants are already a foot tall. We'll let ya know how our garden grows. And, we may be stopping by with a few offerings as well. LOL! I think my favorite part of this flower/veggie garden experiment is that we are doing it as a family. I know everything will taste amazing knowing how many afternoons Jered and I sat in lawn chairs in the yard watering our little leafy friends, together.

(Now....where to plant cilantro....hmmmm?)

Happy gardening!

1 comment:

  1. I remember once in Oklahoma, I tried to grow zuchinni. Who can't grow that? It didn't grow and I couldn't believe it. Fortunately Washington has beautiful soil to grow things in! But I had a good laugh at the memory your blog brought to mind!