Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A tale of two gardens

It was the best of gardens, it was the worst of gardens...

I have mentioned before that I have two gardens -- the one I have at my home, and the one I have at my work.  The garden at home is an ordinary vegetable garden, wide beds of various cool- and warm-season veges with a smattering of flowers for color.  I spent a lot of time on it in the spring and early summer, and in reward I was able to harvest a large (ish) amount of good-tasting greens, fruits and tubers.  It was too bad my three biggest crops (potatoes, tomatoes and beans) did the worst.  Yet overall, the house garden has been a modest success this year. 

The work garden didn't fare so well.  It never does.  It is patterned after a traditional Dakota Three Sisters Garden, which grows plants in hills rather than rows or beds.  I usually don't get it planted until early June (or mid-June, as it was this year), and there's never enough time while I'm working to spend weeding or mulching or watering.  The soil is different at the park -- there's much less clay, so it holds moisture far less well.  And there's a heckuva lot more critters in the park that like to snack on garden delights -- especially the large antlered kind that take full advantage when someone accidentally leaves the gate open overnight.

So, the three sisters garden at work ended up being a sister-and-one-quarter garden.  July's 'all-you-can-eat buffet night' for the deer dealt a heavy blow: one lone bean plant left alive, most of the corn missing and the remaining corn stunted.  Plus, judging by the corn picture below, I think Mr. Thirteen-lined ground squirrel has discovered a smorgasbord all of his own.  That, tripled with my general negligence, promised a dismal harvest this fall.

And dismal it is.  I've got a couple dozen ears of corn (Mandan Bride) that look like this:

I've got no beans and no sunflowers.  The only vaguely bright spot is the potential harvest of half a dozen of these lovely jarrahdales:

Like I said, I planted the garden very late so I am pleased by our extended warm autumn in the hopes that these beauties can mature properly.  I've never grown this variety before, and despite the less-than-ideal growing conditions they have done well.  I will be sure to save lots of seed from these (let me know if you want a packet).

This is definitely not a far far better garden than I have ever grown, but it has served its purpose as a learning tool.  I learn many things each year from the gardens I grow.  Too bad I keep learning about what NOT to do.


Mama Pea said...

It's still learning! Hang in there, Girl. You just don't have enough time to devote to your gardens, that's all. I think it would be only right that they should give you at least two afternoons a week at work to take care of your garden there. How to manage more gardening time at home? That's a hard one with your other responsibilities. :o(

Erin said...

I can't even imagine trying to protect a garden in a state park from critters, so kudos to you for having anything make it! You do a great job on your home garden in spite of work & the kids, and animals - nice job!