4.18.2008

Intuitive gardening in Kentucky



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.

6 comments:

jtdarby said...

I need to come see your garden this summer, LL, before the inevitable drought hits. Glad to see you posting here!

Dawn said...

jtdarby, don't say the "d" word!!!! :)

Lori-Lyn, thanks for the post. we are fairly intuitive as weill. we are just south of nashville and planted moon and stars watermelon for the same reason you did and they did GREAT here last year, so i think you'll be in for a treat! best wishes!

jtdarby said...

I know - I hate it, but it does seem to happen every summer, especially in the last few years.

On the plus side, we only had to have our property mowed a few times, so that was good.

Of course, now the grass looks horrid . . .

;-)

Marilyn said...

Oh, fun! We have a TINY area in our yard where we've planted lettuce, greens, carrots, bell peppers, corn, cantaloupe and watermelon. (And it's a TEENSY spot!) :) We also have 2 tomato plants by the porch (they've done really well there) and a banana pepper plant there, too. I came home from work a week ago Monday and J had done the groundwork...he let me plant the seeds. A couple of nights ago I was watering and he asked, "Did you see we have some sprouts?" I can hardly believe that something I know nothing about actually WORKS. :)

CleaDanaan said...

I'd love to hear about your squirrel methods. They terrorize my garden. This year I have an apple tree in, and I'm going to try covering it with bird netting once the flowers have been fertilized...

Tinker said...

I hope you share some of your 'squirrel-proofing' methods - so far, we've been successfully warding the various critters away with poles/sticks criss-crossed across the raised beds, but I'm not sure that will continue to work once the plants grow above the 'grid,' and are bearing fruit.
I'm so glad I found this site - thanks!