29 September, 2007

The Lazy Gardener

I want to imagine myself as someone who would go out everyday into her vegetables and herbs to weed and harvest; someone who tracks her plantings year after year to note what did and didn't work. The truth is, my wants outweigh the doing. Every year I plant, and every year I underharvest. It doesn't bother me too much, but I do wonder if I should even bother. In almost all cases I would rather quilt than be in the garden.

Because we have dogs and have never been able to figure out a way to keep them out of the raised beds we put almost everything in containers. This works great for herbs, beans, tomatoes, and some annual flowers. I am starting to accept that it isn't great for beets, carrots, and peas. Oh how I want a plot where I can have row upon row of staggered plantings for continual harvest. It just isn't going to happen here, and I must accept that. I must celebrate the success I do have, despite my lazy efforts.

Tomatoes. Last year my hubby built an incredible planter for the tomatoes. It faces south and is right against the house so it is extra warm. We've had a great crop this year. Of course I let the plants get a little wild, and we didn't have that much heat in August to really allow the fruit to ripen. And we've had so much frost lately that I harvested all the unripe fruit a week ago. That's okay, though. All you have to do is put the unripe tomatoes in a cool, covered spot (a box in the basement with a newspaper lid. The tomatoes will ripen and you can just eat along the way.

I may not be an expert, let alone someone who should be giving out garden advice, but here is my one garden tip. I have a lot of things in containers, in my case a big collection of terracotta pots. This includes some perennials. To overwinter them I bury the container, with the plant, in the ground. I did this last year with great success and I am doing it again this year. There is, of course, the risk that your pot could crack, particularly with frost heaves. When I dug out one of these pots this spring a bit of one had sheared off. I didn't mind so much as the plant was in great shape and the pot got some extra patina.
That's it, that's all I can offer you on garden tips: how to store unripe tomatoes and overwintering perennials. Yup, I'm a lazy gardener.

No comments: