Karma's When I Feel Like It Blog

June 4, 2010

A Gardener’s Day in the Life

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 9:18 pm
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Last weekend, after my mournful Red Sox Game, I spent my Saturday planting my vegetable garden.  This has been a Memorial Day weekend tradition for me for many years now.  In the early years of my garden, I easily grew luscious tomatoes, bountiful peppers, and piles of cucumbers and zucchini.  I dabbled in corn one year – result, epic failure, due to local raccoons managing to pick virtually every ear just a day or so before it was perfectly ripe.  I’ve experimented with carrots, onions and radishes.  My clay soil is not overly friendly to root crops, although radishes flourished for a few years.  Eggplant and summer squash have come and gone from year to year.  I even gave tomatillos a shot one summer, but we don’t really have the growing season for them here in Massachusetts.  I’ve never had a successful planting of any kind of melon – I’ve tried both watermelon and cantaloupe.  Despite my successes and failures, it wouldn’t be summer for me without getting out there and getting my hands in the dirt.

Typically, on the day that I set out to plant my garden, this is how the space looks that I need to tackle:
My garden, 9:00 am, 5/25/08

Leaves to clear, weeds to pull, debris to move.  This year, however, hubby gave my garden and me a treat after the garden of the past few years hasn’t been as successful as I’d like it to be: 4 yards of fresh top soil!

The photo above is how my garden looked at 9:00 am on Saturday morning.

And this is how it looked at about 6:00 pm Saturday evening.  I only took a break for lunch, and I planted 68 fresh young vegetable plants, most of which were purchased from my local garden center, Sixteen Acres Gardens:

Yeah, all those seeds I started this year?  The only ones that actually made it into my garden were, you guessed it, the watermelon seedlings (and I’m still not convinced they will grow even with the new top soil and the patches of composted manure that I planted them in!  They are “icebox” sized seedless melons, but in the past the largest melon I ever got from these vines was the size of a baseball!) Here are the best looking of those seedlings, not that much bigger than the last time I showed them to you.

In addition to the watermelon, this year’s garden contains:

Tomatoes (6 Big Beef and 6 Better Boys)


Hot Peppers (12 Thai Dragons, 6 Jalepenos, 6 Long Red Cayennes)

Sweet Bell Peppers (6)

Cucumbers (12)

And zucchini (6)

And this is what I looked like at the close of this gardener’s day:

(I think I’ve mentioned before its hard to do much around here without involvement from 4-legged residents! )

Right now, I’m still in the early glory days of the garden season.  The plants are fresh and new and healthy.  I have hopes for my new top soil.  I’m hoping for some cooperation from Mother Nature, with just the right amount of sun and rain (which has NOT been the case the past few summers).  The dirt is weed free.  But, like the road to Hell, the paths of my garden are paved with good intentions.  Check back with me in August!  Hopefully, the garden won’t look like this:
The weeds win!


  1. Woo hoo! Congrats on the garden! (And, kudos to hubby for the topsoil!) Question: why do you wait so long to get plants in the ground? I’ve had tomatoes, eggplant and herbs in the ground since mid-May. Zucchini, snowpeas and pickling cukes went in a week and a half ago (can’t get the plants much before then). My plants are growing like gangbusters so far!

    To keep weeds down, I suggest Cocoa Shell Mulch. I get it in bags at my local nursery. Smells WONDERFUL – like chocolate! – and forms a pretty tight mesh once watered in (just need a good rain). I don’t use it on the pathways, tho, as it can get slippery. There, I use regular bark mulch. What is great about the cocoa shells is that over winter, they compost right into the soil providing nutrition for next year’s garden! 🙂

    I understand your garden woes. I’ve tried brocolii and cauliflower (epic failures), carrots, celery and lettuces (all work well but produce SO MUCH that you can’t eat it all), and sunflowers – the critters eat! I also did eggplant last year and the critters got to every single fruit! We can’t give up! THIS year I am going to do a perimeter spray of ‘Repells All’ as well as spray around each susceptible plant (NOT on them). This stuff works well in my window boxes and planters as well as around any perennial they like to nibble on so I’m hoping it keeps them out of the garden. Oh, Dried Blood (yes, it is actually called that on the bag) also works really well to deter critters. Supposedly to them it smells like a fresh kill and therefore, they think a predator is in the area and they stay away.

    Let’s pray for HOT summer days for a bumper tomato harvest! Happy Gardening! 😀

    Comment by milkayphoto — June 4, 2010 @ 10:36 pm | Reply

    • My sister says I wait too long to get plants in the garden too! This year it would not have been an issue, but traditionally “last frost date” for this area is May 30. I don’t like having to watch out for frost warnings, so I wait. This year with all the warm weather, it probably would have given them a nice head start to get them in early with all this warm weather we’ve been having, but my plans this May wouldn’t have really allowed it anyway.

      Since I stopped trying to grow corn, I haven’t had much in the way of critter issues. One year, when I grew my tomatoes close to the fence, I think a skunk was coming at night and eating them right on the vine through the openings in the fence! The nerve, huh? Now I plant my hot peppers near the fence and marigolds along the border – between the taste of the peppers and the smell of the marigolds, I don’t seem to have critter issues.

      Cocoa shell mulch, eh? Never heard of it, but it sounds like a great idea. I wonder if is sold around here.

      Comment by karma — June 4, 2010 @ 10:56 pm | Reply

      • Ah, you are smart to grow peppers in your garden. A good critter deterrant! For some reason, I simply CANNOT allow myself to plant marigolds! I’ve hated them ever since I was a child. My husband hates annual geraniums so you’ll never see either of those in the garden! 🙂

        Comment by milkayphoto — June 5, 2010 @ 11:19 am

  2. Well if you need any more advice on how to keep the raccoons or brown bears away then just let me know… I also have a wicked tip for keeping polar bear out of your vegetable garden too.. You just need a yard and a half of unicorn poop (see Tracy for that), and an egg shaped hat… 😉

    I expect an invite in August though for the grand veg pull… lol… 🙂

    Comment by FS Photography — June 5, 2010 @ 4:51 am | Reply

    • Haaaaaaaaaaa! Thanks for starting my morning with a laugh, Brian!

      Comment by Karma — June 5, 2010 @ 8:28 am | Reply

  3. Good luck with your garden! Personally, I don’t have the patience for one, and I also like to avoid the Texas heat as much as possible 😉

    Comment by thedailyclick — June 5, 2010 @ 7:43 am | Reply

    • Thanks, Michaela! My, but you are up early on a Saturday! The timestamp here has 7:43 my time (E.D.T.) on it, and I’m thinking you are 2 hours behind us there?

      Comment by Karma — June 5, 2010 @ 8:30 am | Reply

  4. Karma, your garden looks beautiful!! I’m so jealous of all that space you’ve got there. There is something so satisfying about gardening. I can’t wait to see all the vegetable bounty that comes of out this plot! P.S. do you have problems with deer there? Your hot peppers reminded me of a funny story – my dad has a large garden, and one year he planted habanero peppers. The peppers grew into a HUGE plant…and then the deer came along and ate them all the way down to the ground!! I felt bad for the poor deer’s tummy. Can you imagine?! Makes my mouth burn just thinking about it!!

    Comment by Kate (Little Beach Bum) — June 5, 2010 @ 6:06 pm | Reply

    • We do have deer in the area, but I’ve never had an issue with them in my garden. I think the strip of wooded area between my house and the neighbors on the next street over is too narrow to be a deer hangout. I can’t imagine a deer continuing to eat habaneros after biting the first! Maybe they don’t have heat-sensitive taste buds?

      Comment by Karma — June 5, 2010 @ 7:29 pm | Reply

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