I have a friend who has a saying: Been there. Done that. Bought the t-shirt. Read the book. Saw the movie. I feel the same way when it comes to the current “crop” of euphemistically glowing reports of how much fun a “kitchen” garden can be and how little it costs. There is all that saving when you “harvest” your own fresh veggies. Even the new First Lady is embarking on such an endeavor.
Once upon a time I had much in common with the main characters in the corny television comedy, Green Acres. I was going to grow my own veggies, make pickles, pick fresh berries from the woods, turn them into jams and jellies, then give bountiful gifts of home made goodness for Christmas.
It was a great plan with unintended consequences such as having big, black, mama bear chase me out of her blackberry patch. The neighbors stole my entire crop of figs. Then, to add insult to injury, my mother would almost daily descend upon my beautiful snow pea crop and devour them like a horde of locusts.
I started out “small”, with a single large flower pot. In it I planted a couple cherry tomatoes, a large beef-steak tomato, and three cucumbers, a bell pepper, a single zucchini, and two packs of snow pea seeds. Aside from the bell pepper plant never doing much, the whole thing was a great success. My mother had fresh snow peas, daily, along with some very good cucumbers.
Unfortunately, success is the mother of defeat.
I spent the winter reading up on seeds, where to find just the right veggie plants, and the exact plans for a raised vegetable “bed”. It was going to be a wonderful summer, tapped off by my first venture into pickle making, and my first jams. I was giddy over the success of my two dozen jars of fig preserves.
I was hot.
You think I was going to build the blasted raised beds?
I hired Stanley, who had spent the previous 3 years remodeling my 10,000 square foot Mill Gallery. The final price-tag for the raised beds was about $300.
We’re not talking soil — yet.
I wanted an organic veggie garden.
Do you know what happens when you use regular yard soil in your beautiful, new, raised veggie beds? You get a veggie garden full of weeds! The only solution is to either nuke it with an unhealthy dose of weed killer, or, deal with potting soil.