Monday, July 18, 2011

No green thumbs in this house.

Well, Chris and I have realized that neither of us are green thumbs, and that "urban gardening," as I like to call it, is hard. Or, at least hard for us.

We* started off well. Back in March we cleared out our jungle of a front yard, digging up all of the ivy, replanting the monkey grass, and laying grass seed. See how nice it looked back then, full of potential, *sigh*...

Front Yard - March 2011
And, in our back "yard" we planted a lot of herbs, marigolds (because I read they ward off mosquitoes, who looooove me), lettuce, tomatoes, and even strawberries for fun. We were pretty excited for what this summer would yield...

Buuuuut, then the first big heat wave wiped out half of the grass in our front yard and probably about half of our herbs in our backyard. I guess we should have asked our neighbors to water all of it since we were out of town. Oops...We salvaged what we had, and trudged on.

Front Yard - July 2011
See, the left side and my hydrangeas are pretty pitiful... boo.
(As a side note, in the meantime I manged to kill two sets of flowers in the hanging baskets in our front yard and an umbrella tree, orchid, and another plant inside. Ironically, while I let the flowers outside fry from the heat and sun, I pretty much drowned our indoor plants, including the orchid. Maybe I am not the green thumb.... hm.)

As first-time "urban farmers," it has been a learning experience for us. For example, we just recently realized that our oregano was not actually oregano. Yup, they were probably weeds, or something else. Bummer. Also, did you know that dill grows craaazzy fast? Too bad we didn't need much of it, because it was probably one of our most successful herbs. Also, for awhile we couldn't figure out why our strawberries were rotting before they were ripening. Yup, we needed to lay some hay or plastic (or something) down so that the baby strawberries weren't touching the ground to avoid "soil rot." Again, oops.

Despite all of our mishaps and mistakes, we've learned our lessons. Even if at the end of this summer the only things that have survived are my marigolds (which are CHAMPS) and some herbs, we definitely learned our fair share of gardening life lessons to take into next year:

First, water is essential. We do not have much shade on our yards, so we have to be diligent about watering. And I know what you're thinking, we should be have been smart enough people to figure that one out. Nope. Lesson learned.

Secondly, research is essential. Using the strawberries as an example, I've never grown strawberries or known someone who has (which is a common thing with both of us) so, I should have researched to know about "soil rot" when berries touch the ground. Lesson learned.

Thirdly, gardening is work. I've come to the realization that I'm lazy when it comes to yard work. Probably because I want to avoid getting eaten alive by mosquitoes. Tearing out all of that ivy back in March should have been an indication of what was to come in our forays in gardening. Granted, it hasn't been back-breaking hard, but there is not room for laziness, that's for sure. Even watering the plants ever day is hard for my lazy butt to remember to do. Bummer.

Marigolds are supposed to ward off mosquitoes,
although I'm pretty sure I got bit just snapping this photo.
From front to back: cilantro, rosemary, lavender, Japanese maple,
lavender, and pineapple sage. All Successful so far.
 I'm still on the hunt for that magical garden that trims, weeds, and generally maintains itself. If you know of it, puh-leeeeaase let me know! Maybe it's a good thing that we only have 200 square feet of green space...

*Also, please note that sometimes (read: most of the time) when I use "we", I probably mean "I". But hey, it's a team effort, right?!

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