In a time not so long ago, much of my spare time was spent in the garden. After my grandparents retired from the local auto parts factory, they started their own business growing vegetables and selling them at weekend markets. My grandparents home was my sanctuary, and so I helped them as much as I could once school was out. Actually, I moved in with them the summer after my senior year, so all my time was spent in the gardens.
It was a difficult task, but I loved spending time with my grandparents and helping them in any way I could … for the most part. They had about three acres of gardens that were all taken care of by hand. Every weekday was spent in either the front garden or the two in the back field, while the weekends meant going to markets and selling the goods. The summer after I graduated high school was not a time I wanted to dedicate every waking minute to gardening. My grandparents had always been farmers, so they had that mindset that you work from about 5am until it’s too dark to work any more …. every single day. Taking time out for a date or graduation open house was not deemed necessary and more a waste of time.
Though I loved my grandparents dearly, I found myself a bit frustrated that they simply did not understand wanting to be a teenager for once didn’t mean I had no work ethic. After that summer, I vowed I’d never pick another green bean … and now they are growing in my own garden.
At first it started out that I just wanted to feed my family something that wasn’t overpriced and full of chemicals, but now it’s becoming something more. Granted, I do have to be careful being outside too much, especially when it’s hot and humid … migraines do not play nice with summer weather. However, lately we’ve had some really nice cooler days that allow me to get outside without putting myself completely out of commission the next day. I think I might love gardening!
The flower beds in front of my house were a terrible mess when I moved in here two years ago, but now people stop by when they see me outside to compliment what a beautiful job I’m doing. I honestly know absolutely nothing about flowers, and houseplants cry when they see me. I understand how to pull weeds, but everything else is trial and error. One of the best parts of my day is sitting on my front porch looking at my flowers and listening to my wind chimes. It’s still very much a work in progress and probably always will be considering my perfectionist streak that can never make up her mind about where to put new plants, it’s still a place a find peace. Whether I’m pulling weeds, planting new things that I hope don’t get up and run away from me, or watering at the end of a long day, my flowers are a bit of a sanctuary now.
This year I’ve planted a veggie garden in the back yard. We re-purposed an old sandbox to create a raised bed, which I was kinda proud that I thought of, but that’s going to be a bit of trial and error as well. The morning after I planted everything, I found that many of the ripening strawberries had bites out of them. I don’t have bunnies, so I didn’t think I’d have that problem, but it may be possible that squirrels also have a taste for sweet red berries. When I was planting them, I could almost hear Grandpa telling me that was a bad spot for strawberries, but I thought they would look really pretty growing over the front edge of the raised bed.
I seem to remember something my grandparents used to do with putting perfume on cotton balls into the garden. I think it’s supposed to trick the animals into thinking humans are near and keep them away. Maybe I’ll have to call Grandma and ask her for advice. Maybe I should move the strawberry plants into my flower beds at the front of the house or leave those ones for the squirrels and plant new ones in the front. I like watching those little guys. I know they can be destructive, but they are really funny to watch. I have one that is all black with a red tail. My husband named him “Two Tone”. 😉
Well, I just thought I would share part of my journey with you all. If your life is a bit stressful, maybe making room for a bit of outside time would do you good, too.
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I didn’t try potatoes this year, but I plan on trying next year. I’m pretty sure it’s the squirrels that are eating my berries. There are a million of them in my back yard. I only have six plants!
I did some research and found that some people put coffee grounds around the soil. Others have used garlic cloves to keep them out of pots. I also read about using a motion activated light, but I think my thieves brave broad daylight. 😉 Some people say to give them their own feeders, and they will leave your food alone, but then I worry about broadcasting to the whole population that my yard has food. Some said to use cayenne pepper, but then I read that is actually harms the little guys. I’m going to try the coffee grounds. Maybe I can find a dog statue to put in the garden. 🙂 Oh, I also read that rubber snakes will keep birds away, but I think they might also keep me away!
Oh yes gardening can be a little slice of heaven. I too have decided to grow my own veggies, i’ve started with potatoes and for ages nothing happened probably because we had nothing but rain. Now after 1 week of sun they’ve not only grown but now resemble triffids!! Oh well somebody will eat them no doubt xx
Yes, you have to watch out for those critters. I started with 4 strawberry plants about 5 years ago and now…..there are almost a hundred or something-can’t even count them all. There are so many berries I give them to all my neighbors and still have plenty left 🙂
As far as what’s eating them- squirrels and birds like them. So do ants and slugs (yuck) and other bugs. I don’t put insecticides on them so I just cut off the bad parts and wash…hasn’t killed me yet….;)