Last fall I began cultivating the soil in a large garden belonging to some friends of ours. It went along well for quite some time, and I planted some squash seeds, green beans, beets, and lettuce. I was excited at the prospect of a fall garden, and fresh vegetables. Additionally, it helped alleviate my depression to be out-of-doors in the sunlight doing physical labor.
The weather was not conducive, however, and the cut worms were multitudinous. The problem with gardening in a place over a mile from home is that, well, it is a over a mile away from home. You’re not there when the first sprouts begin to green the garden rows. It’s easy to forget, 0r put off going over to water the garden. When the cut worms chew, you may be out grocery shopping. The beets poked up a few sprouts, then withered for lack of attention. In short, you are not there to nurture and protect your investment.
This week I’ve been looking at the container garden I had last year. The blight gripped the tomatoes some time in August. Cut worms voraciously worked the sweet peppers over – but since I was on site, I was able to intervene, and we ate peppers until the unusually frosty winter weather attacked them. Most of my herbs are still healthy (in spite of our feral colony of cats nesting in the pots) because I was nearby to cover and care for them.
With spring peeping around the corner, the gardening virus has attacked me once again. Our Florida soil is pathetically poor, and a prime candidate for raised bed gardening. I have one small raised bed, but it is too small for my imagination, and the wood and construction are beyond my capacity.
Enter: a new neighbor who has inspired me. He used cinder blocks for the sides of his raised beds, liberally fed the poor soil with lime, and added top soil. Eureka! All I need now are some blight-resistant tomatoes.