2012 Garden Master

Well, here’s a good ol’ garden update. I haven’t talked about it in a looooong time, so I figure now’s my chance to brag on my husband a bit.

Last summer, we tried to have a garden, but there were so many other things on our minds that we really didn’t put our heart and soul into it. Don’t get me wrong- Jonathan certainly worked really hard to move hundreds of feet of 1″ granite, turn those hundreds of feet of soil to loosen and remove extra rocks, and shovel in hundreds of feet of compost. But after those huge first steps, our garden did not do super well. We live in a hot (during the summer, anyway), dry climate. Our soil here is basically void of nutrients on its own. Combine those two factors with us pretty much knowing nothing about gardening, and we ended up with a good ol’ garden flop. We pulled out a million tomatoes, bunches and bunches of basil, a few squash, and one round of snap peas. Beyond that, nothing.

This summer we vowed to make things happen differently. We were bound and determined that if we put in effort, we wanted to have a reward for it. 

Jonathan put in hours and hours of really difficult manual labor this year. He built five garden boxes. He filled each box with topsoil (which he had to wheelbarrow about 40 feet each trip). He fenced each box and put bird netting over the tops of the boxes with tomatoes and berries. He mixed organic fertilizer into the soil. He built a drip/soaker system (with my dad’s help). He planted all the seeds (and continues to plant as needed). He mulched the areas around the plants to protect their roots from the heat and evaporation. 

He works out in the garden every night for about an hour. What does he do out there? He trims dead leaves. He puts down organic pest control. He builds new supports for plants that have the need. He re-mulches, re-seeds, and re-fertilizes on a regular basis. And….. he HARVESTS!

Our garden is so flipping productive this year that we are having a hard time keeping up. Did you know that yellow squash must be harvested EVERY night? And that you can get 3-7 squashes PER DAY?! What are we supposed to do with all that squash? So far we’ve blanched it and frozen it, given some to our neighbors, sent some to our landlord, sent some home with my mom, and eaten it at almost every meal for the past two weeks. And it just keeps on coming! Our yellow squash bushes are 3-5 feet in diameter and 2-4 feet tall. Each of them has a steady supply of squash growing on it. 

Our pea plants are super productive, too! Jonathan has harvested at least four grocery bags full of peas this summer. We’ve blanched and frozen some, eaten some raw, cooked some, passed some on to our neighbors, landlord, and parents, and even thrown some away! And they just keep coming! 

We’ve also harvested tons of lettuce, basil, and green beans, and Jonathan gets a daily treat of a fresh raspberry or two (we only just started the bushes this year, so they’re still quite small). I have really enjoyed the super sweet tiny little yellow tomatoes that come in bunches of 4 or 5. That tomato plant, by the way, is in.sane. It’s at least  3 feet in diameter and 5 feet tall. The cage holding it up is invisible. Even Fumwallikin, my large garden gnome, got lost inside the tomato plant. Jonathan keeps moving Fumwallikin to the outskirts of the tomato forest, but he has to be repositioned every three days or so. Cuh-razy!

So yeah, I am LOVING it. 

Props to Jonathan, 2012 Garden Master. May the earth be with you. 



  1. Kristy said,

    July 17, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    Wow! A lot of quality work and a lot of quality payoff!! I can’t believe your gnome has to keep moving.

    • July 17, 2012 at 2:31 pm

      When we first discovered Fumwallikin’s propensity for getting lost in the tomato forest, I thought a neighbor kid had stolen him. Then we saw just the tip of his boot… and that’s when we realized… we’re growing the plants from Little Shop of Horrors.

      • Kristy said,

        July 17, 2012 at 2:36 pm

        Ha ha ha! This just makes me laugh and laugh.

    • July 17, 2012 at 2:32 pm

      …or, Old Man Willow’s cousin, Old Man Tomato. Either way. 🙂

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