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adding competition always helps

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Ever since we moved into our house 9 years ago we have grown a vegetable garden every summer. And by mid-august we are always overrun by plants and harvest a less than impressive crop. Then the subtle finger-pointing begins. Who is in charge of the garden, really? Were things not watered enough? Weeded enough? Were the plants too close together? And whose fault was it? The blame generally falls on my shoulders.*  And I, for one, am done taking the fall for the failures in our garden. From here on out our vegetable garden will be run as a highly competitive community garden. Jim gets a raised bed. Pia gets a raised bed. And I get a raised bed. In our respective beds we can grow two – and only two! -crops. Each family member is responsible for maintaining their plot and theirs alone.**  At the end of the summer we will crown a victor. The gardener with the most successful crop wins (how this will be determined has yet to be decided… any suggestions?).

So what are we growing? Jim is growing tomatoes and eggplant (to which I say, poor, poor choice on the latter). Pia is growing a different variety of tomatoes (I steered her towards “Hungarian Heart” so that I can sing “got a wife and kids in baltimore jack… everybody’s got a hungry heart” every time I go into the garden. And yes, I do try to weave a little Bruce into all that I do) and jack-be-little pumpkins. I am growing soybeans and sunflowers for the simple reason that they can be direct seeded in the garden. And, of course, because my brother is the executive director of the National Soybean Research Laboratory. *** I know my little garden plot of soybeans will provide valuable data to the research lab.

Yesterday we ran into reason #1 of why we had to turn our garden into an every-man-for-themselves operation. It was a nice day. It was sunny and warm. I put Jim and Piya’s tomato seedlings out in the sun to start hardening off. I may have left them outside all day and they may have gotten a bit windblown. I was trying to do right by the tomatoes. But then, when Jim came home from work there was a bit of finger pointing about the fact that they shouldn’t have been out all day.**** And so, much like a pouting kid, I will no longer be helping Jim’s seedlings at all. If I see them wilting from thirst, there will be no water from me!

On a more positive note, I am loving the eggshells as seed pots. They are perfect and very aesthetically pleasing. And you can just crack the bottom a bit and put them in the garden as is when planting time comes.*****

*This is mostly self-inflicted blame as my husband is a dear, sweet man who wouldn’t accuse me out loud (only in his head). **I will, of course, help Pia as needed. Unless her garden seems to be doing better than mine. In which case she is on her own. *** I am putting this in mostly to see if my brother cares enough to read our blog. ****We really do have a nice marriage and this is mostly in jest. *****I think.


2 responses »

  1. Roasted eggplant is divine on pizza – check Jack Bishop’s book – I think he’s got a good recipe.

    I happen to have inside information that someone (with loose morals? =P ) is cheating and growing cherry tomatoes in addition to her own allotment of 2 crops. Which bed are they in? If they are in the same bed as the other tomatoes, they might shade the rest of the crop and decrease yields. Not that Jim is paying me to say this, but hmmm…but perhaps he should…. =)

    I have no idea how you will choose a winner. You could take the weight of each crop multiplied by the actual yield (in pieces), divide by the weight of weeds removed, raised to the power of the number of dishes you make with each crop?

  2. Eggplant – yummy! If you have too much, we loooooove it in so many ways! Mine never does very well & so I end up supporting the farmer’s market on those. Greens are the easiest to grow, if you truly want to win!


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