Photos ~ Ben’s Garden 2012

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The Garden

Here we are restarting after last year’s drought. Beginner’s luck or random chance, I learned a little and kept things growing, for the most part.

The tomatoes never produced last year, despite that the plants looked great, up until the drought and water restrictions really kicked in. Our winters are usually mild, and this past winter was mostly warm. So two of the plants survived. Friends have said, pull them up, they won’t produce the second year. Well, I’ve got them and it’s no loss to try them, so we’ll see. Call it an experiment. I’m new to it all, so it might as well all be an experiment. If things turn out well, great; if not, no biggie, I tell myself.

The big deal this year was to dig a shallow garden bed and transfer plants from pots into the ground. In the photos, you’ll see (left to right) the old tomatoes which died back during the winter, but lived; green onions and a white onion which hasn’t come up yet; marigolds, yellow and variegated orange; basil; and this year’s new tomatoes, “Early Girl” variety. I am inordinately proud of the little garden plot, and I may extend it the length of that side of the yard. I guessed just right on the garden size to the amount of plants. Pure chance. Very nice.

I haven’t yet planted cherry tomatoes or bell peppers, or a friend’s suggestion of “chocolate min.” I still have to find the mint. This puts most things out of the pots and into the ground.

I have so much aloe vera, I’ll have to give some away and plant the largest two in the ground. The Christmas cactus got overwatered in a pot that didn’t have enough drainage last year, and died on me. But the aloe vera could take over the universe.

I have a new miniature rose to plant in a side yard flower bed. The spot it will take is higher and drier and will need more care to take hold and thrive.

The azaleas I bought and planted last year did not make it through the drought, but all the established landscaping from the former owners did fine, except a flowering vine which froze in our one cold snap.

My back yard is sparse, still recovering from the drought and mostly bare, dead grass, with clover and other volunteer weeds encroaching. There is enough grass it may come back on its own with some care. More urgent is the front yard. It’s pretty much bare grey dirt, between the former shade and roots of a large tree (trimmed months ago) and the drought. I have grass seed and fertilizer, and I haven’t decided yet what else to do with it. Native plants seem like a good solution, but I will need to draw up a plan and make sure I don’t run afoul of the civic association’s rules.

There are roses in the back and azaleas and other plants in the front. We will see what else happens.

It’s now early . If things go right, I should have tomatoes in a little less than two months. My one goal is, I want homegrown tomatoes this year, not just big, pretty tomato plants. I want the other veggies too, but I’ll count those a bonus.

See last year’s page for my first vegetable gardening attempt.