Haphazard Gardening: How Not to Grow Vegetables

Behold: our beautiful vegetable garden.

Garden 2014

Things are actually alive in there. No thanks to us, I might add. We may have planted things in the ground but we certainly haven’t helped them grow.

The story of our haphazard garden began this spring. We moved into our house the first week in April, a mere seven days after I gave birth to our second daughter. We were running on zero sleep with a two year-old, a newborn, and a house full of boxes. Gardening was the furthest thing from our minds. Priorities included keeping the kids alive, finding the diapers amidst the moving rubble, and preserving our sanity. We felt like sleep-deprived zombies. And sleep-deprived zombies do not plant vegetable gardens.

Not to mention April was like February in Massachusetts this year. Temps hovered around freezing for much of the month and the ground outside was solid. We couldn't have planted anything even if we wanted to. Spring eventually crept in around mid-May, and then it was here for about four days before everyone in the northeast began melting through their clothing and posting Instagram pics of their car thermometers reading triple digits. News flash: it gets warm here. Yes, I’m talking to you, person who has lived in New England for decades and is still surprised it’s hot as balls during the summer months.

Some Sunday morning in late May, we put some seeds in peat pots on a whim. I wrote on them with permanent marker so we could remember what we planted… Because zombies. Zombies do not plant veggies and they certainly don’t remember anything either. Especially when they’re sleep deprived. After some sporadic watering and a little rain, the writing washed away and we were left with a bunch of tiny mystery seedlings. We threw the smallish plants in the ground haphazardly one afternoon while the kids were napping. We hoped for the best and watered when we weren't too exhausted. The weeds grew fast and tall. Expectations for this year's yield were admittedly, very low.

Two short months later we have green beans, squash, zucchini, broccoli, tomatoes, and pumpkins growing. I attribute this miracle of nature to the rain we’ve had recently and the fact that our home’s previous owners were avid gardeners. The soil in our garden is so fertile that the plants would likely survive a nuclear apocalypse. Regardless, I am thankful. It’s wonderful to go outside and pick fresh veggies for dinner each evening. Next year we’ll probably take a more systematic, less haphazard approach to planting – and life in general – but for now we’re just really happy with what we have.

Jess Ullrich is a professional writer and mom to two girls, ages four months and two years. She's really freakin' busy right now, but still posts regularly at her blog, The Momma Review.

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