Wednesday, June 9, 2010

How Does Your Garden Grow?


Since moving to Virginia almost 1 year ago, Dallas and I have wanted to grow a garden. We first started by planting a late crop of tomatoes as soon as we were settled in Lynchburg. I buy all of my plants from Gary's Garden Center. I'm telling ya, these guys are hilarious! Just ask for Nelson. He is a HOOT!

So, we visited Gary's and bought several tomato plants. We tested the sunlight in our backyard, and found just the right place to plant them. We watered these things and cared for them like it was our job. I could just imagine myself eating a huge crop of tomatoes in the summer.

WELL- this little guy had other ideas.

A groundhog, that I call Meriweather, decided to EAT my garden. Now, I know that I'm no country girl, but what in the world?? I have never seen groundhogs, except on grass patches beside the highway. Lynchburg, apparently, is home to thousands of these giant rat-like animals, and they frequent our own backyard. At first I thought they were cute. Have you seen their ears? But THEN, they had to go and eat my garden! My love for groundhogs, or whistle pigs as they are affectionately known at Gary's Garden Center,  was OVER. And the funny thing is, I caught him in the act. I noticed that our only little tomato was laying on the ground, so I went out to the porch to check on my plants. And there he was. Meriweather looked up at me with a giant stalk of tomato plant hanging out of his mouth.

I freaked out! How dare this rat eat my beloved tomatoes? I started screaming, throwing my arms in the air, and ran after the groundhog. It scurried into the woods and I swear I thought I saw it smirking at me in celebration of his large meal. I ran back inside and convinced Dallas  to call Animal Control, who apparently, do not do anything about groundhogs. I then read online remedies to ridding your yard of groundhogs. The  easiest method, but probably not the safest, was to sprinkle matches near their "dens?" so they would eat the match head and die. I took an entire box of matches and threw them around my yard. Thank God we didn't burn the neighborhood down! But guess what? No more groundhogs. For the rest of the season!

Unfortunately, my tomato plant never recovered, and we had to dig up our plants and wait another year to start over on our garden.

The second time around, we polished up our green thumbs and did a little online research about gardening. I know this is probably obvious to most people, but we realized that we should have built a fence to protect our crops. Duhh. So, we headed over to Home Depot and bought chicken wire to protect our next round of crops. We started with one row of fencing, but after we were paid a visit by the neighborhood deer(seriously??) we had to double up on our fence. I know. It looks totally ghetto, but hey, a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do! And don't laugh- I know it's probably the smallest garden you've ever seen.

Our plants seem to be thriving, now that we have a few more gardening tricks under our belts. Still no real fruit, but we do have one little tomato, which is enough to keep me interested.

When we visited Dallas' parents a few weekends ago, I noticed Becky's tomato plants. I wish that I had a picture of this to show you. Her plants already had tons of HUGE tomatoes. Becky is an expert gardener. I wish her green thumb would rub off on me a little bit. But, I guess you have to start somewhere.

Do you have a garden? Do you have any tips for us beginners? How does your garden grow?

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