Saturday, July 16, 2011

How does your garden grow?

Gardening has always been therapeutic for me - there's just something about getting your hands in the dirt, pulling weeds, and planting things. My dream has always been to have one of those country gardens - the ones that look a little wild, with my cottage-style house in the background. When Nathan and I rented our first house in Canyon, one of my first goals was making a flower garden, which as everyone in West Texas knows, is not easy. Nate and I tilled an area along the house in the front, and a larger area in the back yard. With the help of some zinnia seeds given to me by Nathan's dad, I had a rather substantial flower garden. When we moved, the next tenants pulled up all the daisies I had growing in the front yard, and they parked their trucks in the grass I had lovingly cared for for four years.

While we were living in New Jersey, we never really had enough space for a garden, so I devoted myself to potted plants, which are now living with my mom and mother-in-law.

And when we came to Japan last summer (Gosh, had it been that long?), I knew I wanted to try a balcony garden. Another ALT had told me she was successful with growing things, so when spring came around, it was time to start planting.

I started off with a couple of herbs: basil, sage, Italian parsley, rosemary, apple mint and oregano, two tomato plants, and some seeds for zinnias and a lettuce greens mix. I planted in May and kept my fingers crossed.

And behold....

Look at the size of those tomato plants! And even better, they now have lots of little baby tomatoes! The parsley and basil have really taken off as well, and it looks like the zinnias are going to bloom in the next week or so. My lettuce, however, did not turn out so good. Some aphids got to them a few weeks ago, so Ethan and I sprayed an oil/soap mix on it to kill them, but this week I'm battling these tiny caterpillars who've eaten half of my crop already. So I'm about ready to call it quits with the lettuce.

Sometimes I just sit out on the balcony at night, and smell the basil and tomato leaves (I love both of those smells so much). Hey, it may not be that cottage garden, but it'll do for now.

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