Posted by Lori-Lyn
Last summer I walked into my backyard in Lexington, Kentucky, looked around, and decided to become a gardener. Along with assorted flowers and a butterfly bush, I planted Big Boy tomatoes. I got a late start with them, but green-thumbed friends assured me that I could put the plants in the dirt and have tomatoes by the end of the season, so that's what I did. I chose a container that I thought would be big enough and bought some stakes and even tended my plants through a drought.
The flowers and the butterfly bush flourished. The tomatoes, despite growing much taller than I anticipated and desperately needing a larger container, did okay too. I watched in wonder as my plants actually produced tomatoes. I watched the tomatoes get bigger, go from green to reddish. And I watched as one by one, every tomato I grew was plucked from the vine and eaten by a squirrel.
This year, I’m eager to get back into the dirt with lessons learned from my first run. In central Kentucky, "Derby" is not just a horse race that takes place the first weekend in May, it's a season, and everyone tells me that's when I can start putting things in the ground. So I'm starting my seeds indoors and planning to plant in a raised bed that I have yet to build.I have a list of non-violent organic methods for keeping the squirrels away, and I plan to use them all.
We’ve been recently pummeled with rain but as soon as it let up a few days ago, I pruned my butterfly bush and weeded my flower beds (I may have accidentally pulled up a perennial or two) and I’ve spent a lot of time lately just walking around out there communing with my space.
You may have gathered by now that I’m an intuitive gardener. I love books, and I consult them, but when it comes right down to it, I feel my way around the outdoors and hope for the best. I tend to choose plants because I like their names (thus the moon and stars watermelon seeds that I recently purchased) and flowers because they look like something a fairy may want to sleep in.
Last year, my goal was to attract hummingbirds and butterflies, and to have a nice place to sit while I enjoyed my fresh tomato slices. The hummers and butterflies didn’t let me down. This year, I welcome them back and add to my dream the prospect of meals of homegrown veggies, with watermelon for dessert.