Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Introduction to Gardening

If anyone came to this site to learn how to garden, you are in the wrong spot. I am of the opinion that most innovations are a result of mistakes. While farming, gardening and agricultural practices have a long history with substantial success, we've decided to take a new approach. If it isn't broken, why are we trying to fix it? I am not completely sure, but I'm jumping in with both feet.

The first step to my approach to gardening involved pulling the morning glory out of the garden plot. Now I don't want to be misunderstood, I certainly didn't get rid of the morning glory, I pulled out a long root with about 50% of the weeds that I pulled, the rest I just ripped the tops off and promised myself that I would return and pull the rest when it came up again. So far that has worked, they are coming back up. Unfortunately I understand some basic calculus. If I get the roots of half of the plants every time I pull them, I will never get rid of the morning glory problem. You should also notice that I said that I pulled a long root out about half the time, that does not mean that I got all of the root.

After I pulled all of the weeds and prepared them for their second attempt to overtake my garden, I decided it was time to plant seeds. Usually my wife does this and she does a fine job of it. I wanted to give it a try because I like to work in the yard and I want to better know how to do it. She told me that I would have better luck if I soaked the seeds, it would help them germinate. I thought it was a wonderful idea so I did. Unfortunately she was only talking about the corn, bean and sunflower seeds and I thought she was talking about all of the seeds. Anyway, I took my container of soaking lettuce, Brussels sprout, pepper, watermelon, cantaloupe, beet, spinach, kale, and other seeds out to the garden to evenly distribute them according to the diagram my wife had made. (My wife did a wonderful job of diagramming our garden so that it would look nice.... We'll see).

Have you ever seen a lettuce seed? If you have, you know about how big they are. If you haven't, that is because they aren't very big. So I stood there in our garden with a container full of hundreds of seeds and meticulously fished them out one at a time, tried to remember what kind of seed it was, how deep and how far apart they should be planted and deliberately placed them into the soil. After about 10 minutes I had planted 3 or 4 seeds. I also noticed that when I put the seed into the soil and then I put my finger back into the container of water, it made the water murky. After about the fourth seed, I could no longer tell the difference between seeds and floaters from the dirt on my fingers. (I was still able to identify cantaloupe, watermelon and pea seeds, just so you don't think I'm completely incompetent).

At this point I decided on a new method, I would reach into the dirty water and take out a pinch of seeds and dirt. I would then rub my fingers together and let the mixture fall into a portion of the garden. With the seeds on the soil, I would move the soil around with my hand, attempting to put the seeds (or dirt) under a thin layer of soil as dictated by the package (for some of the plants). I think that was successful, I got the seeds into the soil. Eventually I felt that I had fished all of the seeds out of the container that I had, so I dumped it in the garden.

Unfortunately I only finished about half of the garden. So I went back into the house and grabbed all of the seeds that were not from 2007. This time, having learned something from my first experience, I used the same procedure, except without the water. This technique works much better without water. I don't have any idea what is going to come from our garden. I take that back, I know that Morning Glory will come from our garden, but I don't know what will come from our garden that is edible. Actually I did a little research and found that morning glory roots are edible, they have been used for medicinal purposes as a laxative. So if you are having any problems, you can come on over for a morning glory salad. I also learned that the flowers produce a chemical similar to LSD that can be used as a hallucinogen. You can't come to my house and get any of that, we pick them before they blossom and I'm not the kind of person who does (or distributes) drugs.

I'll keep you updated on our garden. If anyone knows of a [legal] market for morning glory, let me know and we'll go into business. If it's produce that you're looking for, go to your local farmer's market, that's where you can get the good stuff.


GeekCyclist said...

As a recovering gardener, I found this to be one of my favorite posts.

Growing up I was involved in our family's large garden operation. By the time I graduated HS (I was the oldest of 6) my family had devolved to 'growing salsa'. Basically, we planted tomato, pepper and onion.

I'm looking forward to the weeding posts that are sure to come...

Emily said...

Ahhh...your gardening post was refreshing. I want a garden too!!!
Hmm...morning glory...i suppose its too late to rototill it again? What a pain in the arse. At least you don't have rocks the size of watermellons like we did in our garden when I was growing up.