Tuesday 27 Sep 2016

Howa Garden Grows
Jennifer Flaten

This spring, as soon as the weather cooperated, which was a mere 3 seconds of sun before it turned once again to cold and crappy, I grabbed my seed packets and went outside to put in a garden.

This year, come hell or high water and barring rabbits or locusts, I am going to have a garden.

Before you accuse me of jumping on the Presidents Victory Garden bandwagon, let me assure you I have always had gardens.

Its just some have been more successful then others, I excel at perennial gardens. I think that is because with perennials, you can benignly ignore them, and they do just fine.

Veggie gardens, on the other hand, mmm, those have been a little more difficult for me to achieve greatness on, in fact, my last attempt was a rather dreary failure.

This was quite a surprise to me as I come from a long line of green thumbs.

I grew up with my grandparents and they had a huge, well it seemed huge to my little kid self, garden.

Looking back, I realize how truly awesome their garden was, they had all the basic garden staples tomatoes, cucumbers, broccoli, and Brussel sprouts-they even grew corn.

You know, all the stuff a kid wont touch with a 10 pole.

In fact, my grandma tortured me regularly with mashed turnips, and roasted parsnips.

Sure, the aforementioned veggies sound tasty to you youre an adult. I didnt find them particularly tasty when I was 10 years old.

Yet, I ate them; in my grandparents house, eating your vegetables wasn't optional.

We even collected raspberries and blackberries to make jelly. I didn't realize that jelly came in flavors like grape and peach until I was an adult.

This year, with the help of three enthusiastic little kids, I planted a garden.

We even put it in a nifty raised bed.

I think this will be the secret to my success. Sure, most of my previous attempts at glorious vegetables have ended in abject failure, but I blame it on the fact that I planted directly into ho hum soil.

This year I have super soil from the recycling center.

The local recycling center grinds and composts all manner of organic matter, most of which are the leaves I dutifully hauled there this fall.

This has resulted in huge mountains of glorious soil.

The best part, the soil is free for the taking.as long as you have some sort of apparatus to haul it home.

Since I lack a truck, trailer or even a wagon for that matter, we hauled the dirt home in black plastic garbage bags; yes, I, too, can hear the banjos playing.

We hauled load after load of that soil home and filled the garden bed. At this point, I really don't want to see the recycling center again.

Unfortunately, fall isn't that far off.

After the dirt was in place, the kids and I planted oodles of seeds.

Eternal optimist that I am I selected squash, peas, beans, radishes, carrots and the dreaded broccoli and cauliflower.

Yes, I realize that should this garden actually take off, I will have piles of zucchini.

I am not worried, the chances of complete success are less then 50%, besides I know where you live. Just kidding, maybe, of course.

Dont worry, I have and endless supply of recipes for zucchini cake, zucchini bread, and I have a Rolodex of people I can foist zucchini on.

The first hurdle to garden success was the spring cold snap. Naturally, it happened about two hours after I finished putting in all the plants.

The weather turned, as only Wisconsin weather can, it shifted from balmy pre summer to ice age overnight.

My next problem-rabbits.

It seems that the rascally rabbit views my garden as an all-you-can-eat buffet.

This is in spite of the endless bounty of my lawn. This would be my clover and violet filled lawn, a lawn that any rabbit should be more then happy to stuff himself on.

Not to mention that the rabbits in the hood frequently stop underneath our bird feeders and gorge themselves on corn.

You would think the bunny would be too bloated to eat the garden bounty, but alas, my broccoli is irresistible.

I know I should be happy that someone wants to eat my broccoli.

As much as I wished the bunny dead, I couldn't actually bring myself to harm him.

Besides if you kill one, 50 more take its place (or so it seems).

So, off the hardware store I went in search of rabbit proof fencing.

Once installed it turned out to be me proof fencing.

I practically have to parachute in to get inside the garden. Mental note, never ask a 6 foot man to build a fence for a 5 foot woman.

Still, if it keeps that damn rabbit out, its worth it.

Jennifer Flaten lives where the local delicacy is fried cheese, Wisconsin. She writes about family life, its amusing or not so amusing moments. "At least it's not another article on global warming," she says. Jennifer bakes a mean banana bread and admits an unusual attraction to balloon animals and cup cakes. Busy preparing for the zombie apocalypse, she stills finds time to write "As I See It," her witty, too often true column. "My urge to write," says Jennifer, "is driven by my love of cupcakes, with sprinkles on top. Who wouldn't write for cupcakes, with sprinkles," she wonders.

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