Just the other night we spotted a deer in the front yard. They eat everything, I hear. For the moment I have begonias hanging from baskets near the creek, and my lavender, sweet potato vine, calibrachoa, mojito mint, and nasturtium are growing quite well. Those things seem to be left untouched, every time. But I’m not from here so I have to remember the most important thing – I DO NOT KNOW WHAT I’M DOING. The encounter simply reassured me that I had made the best decision to put the garden in our backyard. Our backyard is full of mud and dog poop, but it’s fenced. That is really the only thing that qualifies it as an ideal gardening spot.
The previous owners left us a dozen of 5 gallon buckets, which we almost threw away but, because of my hoarding tendencies (which really only applies to books, dogs, and plants), we remembered how we’d only ever needed 5 gallon buckets at precisely the moment we did not actually have any. So we kept them. Good thinking! They will now be used to grow my paste and cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, zucchini, wax beans, and snap peas. And, as it turns out, I’m going to have a lot of all of those things.
A few weeks ago I questioned my yard’s exposure to full sun. Or even part sun. Truth be told, I feel like I’m living in a more affordable version of Seattle or Portland, although it is populated with far fewer Starbucks than any other metropolitan area in the world (pretty sure). But it’s always green. It’s always raining. It’s always damp. Half of my yard is moss, not grass.
I decided to try my own trusted technique called Goldfish Gardening. I just made that up yesterday. The name, not the technique. In my experience, whenever I have decided to start a goldfish aquarium, I’ll buy 10 feeder fish with the expectations that 3 will be healthy enough to thrive and survive. I treat my seeds the same way. I’ll seed 10 cucumber seeds with the expectations that 3 will start and thrive to maturity, making good producers. I do not discriminate, mostly because I also do not take the time to learn soil quality rules and watering schedules. If it lives, hooray! (For the record, I do treat surviving goldfish with much better care.)
But it turns out ALL MY SEEDS have started. Like, ALL OF THEM. I don’t have enough buckets, garden pots, bowls, what have you. I’m considering saving my milk jugs and cutting off the tops just so I’ll have a decent space to fill with garden soil and let my veggies go to town. Hmm…I just made that up, too, but it’s not a half-bad idea. My summer goal is to turn my backyard into a flowering oasis, with sweet peas and poppies, aster and dahlias, daisies and gazanias and yarrow, oh my. My climbing vegetables will happily live in their buckets/milk jugs/coke-bottles-cut-in-half and use our 6-foot tall dog fence for supports. I’m growing all the things we need for delicious summer salads and mint mojitos. We will not go hungry, that’s for sure. And with all that mint, our sobriety may be at risk.
I plan to continue updating progress on my garden-ish backyard space, so here’s the first look at what will hopefully grow to become my backyard wonderland. (And, for good measure, I planted sunflower seeds at the top of the driveway and sprinkled wildflowers seeds everywhere else. After months of winter, a summer full of flowers will be my reward, dammit.)