Never Big Enough Garden

My garden is actually as big as I can try to take care of. Yet at planting time it is the never big enough garden.

Every year I carefully plan out what I will plant. The potatoes will be in this bed. The tomatoes will be in these beds. The trellis for the peas and beans move to a new bed.

Even though I’ve covered much of the garden with cardboard and mulch, weeds appear. The beds and pathways seem endless as I pull up these stubborn garden invaders.

Now the garden seems to have plenty of room.

Burgundy okra dwarfs my never big enough garden
Lots of people seem to dislike okra because it is slimy. Burgundy okra is much less slimy and has a good flavor. The plants can get big. I had one top 13 feet. These tall plants need protection from strong winds. They like it on the hot side of warm with plenty of water, but no soggy roots.

Then the seeds and transplants start arriving. At first everything fits well. It fits until I run out of places to put plants that always seem to grow bigger than planned for. The never big enough garden strikes again.

One of the big offenders is the winter squash. Butternut isn’t so bad. I can turn the vines to fill the allotted space. Tahitian melon and Yuxa squash definitely don’t cooperate.

Perhaps I should stop growing them. Except these two are goat favorites. They are prolific and good keepers so the goats have treats all winter providing needed vitamins.

Another offender is the okra. I grow three kinds: burgundy, jing and burmese. If the plants stayed four to five feet tall, there would be plenty of room. The last few years the plants have topped out nine to ten feet tall. Harvesting is interesting as I am five feet tall.

Lots of Speckled Roman tomatoes fill my never big enough garden
Paste tomatoes are great for winter storage. Speckled Roman tomatoes are big and meaty with a great taste. Those with no blemishes are frozen whole. The skin slides off when they thaw. Others make good juice and sauce. They are good for fresh eating too.

The biggest offender is me. I keep cutting back on how many tomato and pepper seeds I start. I start them late due to temperature and light considerations so those my garden will not accommodate don’t sell as other gardeners have filled their gardens all ready.

Those seedlings are trying so hard to grow into productive plants. I hate to toss them out to die. My never big enough garden surely has a corner somewhere for these little plants. Except they soon become big plants.

And my garden is well on its way to becoming the usual summer jungle.

Hazel Whitmore’s mother and grandfather compete with their tomatoes in “Mistaken Promises“.