Friday, June 29, 2012

My Frankenstein Garden

A few recent commenters have asked about my garden.  

My garden is beginning to frighten me ... it has become the home of mutant giant vegetable plants.  I followed the directions of the Square Foot Gardening method.  Fill your raised beds with organic compost, leaf mold and the like and you can grow more vegetables in a smaller space.  Well, this sounded good to me since I live in a townhouse and have very little space.  In spite of the small space, I want fresh, home-grown organic vegetables.  What I didn't expect was mutant monsters.  The soil is so rich in nutrients that my plants are way beyond anything I have ever seen in my years of gardening.

The two zucchini plants that have the largest leaves I have ever seen on a zucchini plant.  I have noted at least 7 blossoms so far and I expect there will be many more.  I see a lot of zucchini slaw, zucchini bread and zucchini chips in my future.  I will harvest most of the zucchini while still "babies", nice and tender, to steam as a side vegetable. I'll let a few grow larger for things like slaw, zucchini bread or vegetable lasagna.

Tomatoes gone mad
But the really scary stuff is to be found among the tomatoes.  Next year, I will plant just one tomato plant to a square [instead of the multiples recommended in the Square Foot method.  And I will use a stake instead of a cage and I will pinch off the suckers to keep the quality of the fruit superb and the size of the plant manageable even if I have to sacrifice quantity.  My tomatoes are rioting, sprawling, taking over the entire planter box.  I have no clue as to what the final harvest will be.  I'll let you know if the tomato plants start creeping toward the back door.  I think they are conspiring to take over my home, if not the entire world.

So far the only stuff I have actually harvested and cooked with has been the basil and the chives.  I can't find the thyme, it was planted too close to those rapacious tomatoes.  I've got to check to see if the broccoli has gone missing as well.  If I go silent again, as I did in May, it will be because the tomatoes have overrun the house.  Wasn't there a play on Broadway a decade or so ago about a huge Venus Fly Trap?   I could write a sequel to The Little Shop of Horrors!

Unidentified visitor 0 soon to be removed
And then there are the weeds.  Four years ago, my husband and I decided that we wanted a low maintenance back yard.  You know how it is, we are both getting on in years, his arthritis/gout/rheumatism has him walking with a cane at least half the time and I tend to tire more easily than I once did.  So we called in a landscaper to lay a Belgian Block patio and put down that weed barrier cloth covered with two inches of gravel over the remainder of the property.  Every year since we have had some new monstrous weed grow right out of the area where we have the stone.  The first year it was what we suspect was a wild berry plant.  Not surprising, since I had once had blackberry plants in the area and if I remember correctly, blackberries are grafted onto some other berry producing plant.  Okay, we pulled all that up.  The following year we had what looked like hostias on steroids..  And this year, we have these tall leafy stalks.  When I am in my more paranoid conspiracy-theorist mode, I sometimes wonder whether living within a mile of the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant has anything to do with the horticultural nightmares growing in my backyard.  During my more sensible moments, I consider that this is all just the result of all those early decades when I gardened so faithfully, adding tons of peat moss and organic matter to the rocky barren soil.  Maybe I am my own worst enemy.  And the birds that come to my feeder, perhaps each year they deposit exotic seeds from plant foods consumed elsewhere and generously shared with me.  Just a small thank you for feeding them so well.  

1 comment:

Margaret said...

Your post reminded me of the book "The Day of the Triffids" - if I have any large and monstrous plants in my garden I always refer to them as triffids!