- Posted April 24, 2012 by
El Reno, Oklahoma
This iReport is part of an assignment:
From garden to table
A Move, A Job, A Marriage and a Garden
Years ago, I had gardened a great deal, then came a divorce, a home loss, and a move into a small condo with a post stamp sized courtyard, filled with mostly rocks and a tree that allowed no gardening. That living space lasted for 6 long years, until my manager job ended and I began to think about what shape the rest of my career would take. I had taught in the public schools back in the '90s, and began to think that job and lifestyle sounded pretty good. Two years of subbing and I still had not found a job, but I did find a sweetheart and we began to talk about marriage. One day the call came for a teaching job, and my future boss asked if I was married. I told him I was engaged, and he said to bring my wife to be, as he thought there might be a job in the offing for her too.
Before we knew it, we were both making the move from a city of 300,000 to a small town of 16,000, and an even smaller town of 500 where the job was. The marriage wasn't until October, so my wife and I lived apart for 3 months in anticipation of that day. I had been fortunate to find a house with a yard to rent in the town we moved to, and as I had a yard, decided to get the spade out and dig up an area and plant a garden, with the reluctant blessing of my fiancee, now wife, who didn't think at first it would be all that worthwhile, as she had not gardened before.
In August of 2011, the ground was hard as a rock, but I managed to get in some zuccini seeds, okra, green beans and radishes. Out of that, we got a handful of okra, a handful of green beans, and a handful of radishes, and zuccini until it came out of our ears. In October, when the first frost came and pretty much everything died, I pulled everything and decided to plant some things for a winter garden. Only problem, the feedstore was out of most of the seed. I wound up planting onions, turnips, lettuce and mustard.
A very mild winter, everything grew at a very slow rate, until about the end of January, when I had an abundance of turnip greens, mustard greens and a little green onion and some clumps of lettuce. Around this time, we also began to start some seeds indoors, tomato, peppers and later some eggplant. Not being familiar with the small peat pots, I initially just put the seed on the top where the little hole was. Needless to say, few of that first batch germinated. I decided to replant the seed pots, and this time made I got the bright idea to make a hole in the peat pot and stick the seeds down in and cover it up. Since one seed didn't work last time, this time I put 5 or 6 in. Just like the couple who can't have a baby and goes in for in vitro fertilization and gets 8 kids all at once, next thing you know, each pot had 6 plants coming up in it. March came and I began to pull up first the turnips, then the mustard greens, as I had read if it went to seed, you would never have anything but that in the garden.
I replanted the area with potato, onion, radishes, beets, snowpeas, squash, cucumbers, pole beans and eventually put quite a few of the tomato and peppers and eggplants in the ground as well. The original garden plot was very small, so it had been expanded to twice the size, all with my handy spade. I have some herbs, oregano, dill, basil and parsley, and a flower bed out front for my sweetheart.
The end of April 2012, the school year is winding down, and the first flowers are appearing on the tomatoes. We'll be eating fresh tomatoes by the end of May, and eating potatoes in June, among other things. This is the good life.