Look Who's in the Garden...

It started quite by mistake. Several years ago we waited too long to get rid of the Halloween pumpkin on the deck. The squirrels ate a hole in it to get to the seeds and it got rotten and mushy. So, we just shoveled it off the deck and left it for the squirrels. Spring comes along and there is this vine growing up into the holly. Just about the time I get ready to pull the vine out, I noticed there was a pumpkin growing on it. Who knew? A volunteer pumpkin.

Well, it apparently captured the imagination of my housemate, Patricia. Ever since then, it has been a steady escalation. First, she planted a few veggies in the ground and a few things in pots. It worked OK and she had reasonable success. That is, until our little dog, Sadie, discovered the lettuce growing in a large, round, LOW pot. Who knew she liked lettuce? One day, I looked out back and she was actually standing in the middle of the pot doing a great imitation of a grazing cow.

Then, we discovered grow bags. These are heavy, double-layer, cloth bags. Unlike clay pots, they are light, easy to handle, fold for easy storage, don’t crack when you forget to bring them in for the winter, etc. Like clay pots, they come in a variety of sizes and now, colors. These are a tomato grow bag (R) and a leaf lettuce grow bag (L). And that clever little tray-like thing under the tomato bag is a watering tray. Yep. A watering tray. There’s a piece of fabric that wraps around a little platform that stands in the tray. The fabric, in turn, wicks the water up to the bottom of the grow bag, watering the root zone. It can keep your plants happy for about three days or longer unless the weather is beastly.


So, this year Patricia put all the grow bags on tables, added a raised bed contraption and has one hanging bag. She also has a tomato plant in a pot that got hammered in a storm the other night and is on the watch list. The white things in the back are table tops and the wooden thing in the lower, right-hand corner is the raised bed. It, too, is self-watering. I’m told this not only keeps things out of reach of the dogs but totally negates the need for soil prep, weeding and bending over. The latter is becoming increasingly more important as she ages.


She is also a self-proclaimed “opportunistic” gardener. That means she decides what to grow when she goes to the nursery and sees what they have available. This year she is growing, or, attempting to grow, cherry tomatoes, Roma tomatoes, watermelon, cucumbers, eggplant, jalapeno peppers, green peppers, oregano, basil, arugula, fennel and tarragon. Things have progressed to the point where she is now limbing up trees to get more sun for her plants. I have a feeling we might be plowing up the backyard in a few years. And here are some baby pictures…..

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