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The Crappy Beginnings…

March 11, 2010

March 2, 2010

Good morning fellow FL gardeners, and welcome to The Crappy Gardener! This blog will serve to document my adventures in gardening. I am a horrible gardener, although I adore plants of all kinds. Actually, ever since I can remember, I’ve tried to grow various plants, only to end up accidentally killing them. So this time, armed with multiple books on the subject, and a few extra dollars to put together a garden, I’m gonna give it another go.

Due to some health concerns, I’ve decided to give up meat, and go as much vegetarian as I can stand. Also, after doing a lot of research and looking at our very tiny, limited budget, I decided to start growing my own food. Prices of produce at our stores are crazy, and in our area, there aren’t many organic produce resources. I want to eat healthier and food production in this country is costing us more than money, it’s costing us the beauty that is America.

So. This garden is also going to serve as my attempt to be more self-sufficient, and to do my part for the environment. And for all of you out there in internet-land, you’ll be able to learn from my foibles, because I bet there’ll be a lot of them.

Florida, as I understand it, is a strange place to garden compared to the rest of the country. We have horrible soil: sandy, salty, acidic. In our area, you will never hear the words “rich,” or “loamy” applied to our soil. Maybe sandy or sunbaked. In our yard, we have limited sunlight, because most of it is shaded by big, leaf-dropping oak trees. If you know anything about oaks, you know that they are notorious for dropping their acidic leaves in piles.

In my yard, I have additional challenges, mainly in the form of our old and unruly dog. She is sixteen, a mutt, the sweetest dog you will ever meet, and a complete menace. Case in point: for my first foray into outdoor gardening in our yard, I dug a large patch out in the back to fill with sunflowers. I also planted two raspberry bushes. It took me several hours since I have a few health problems. It felt lovely to be out in the sunshine though so I didn’t mind. Although, about four hours after I cleaned up, I looked outside to survey my little project, and found that our wonderful dog assumed that I did all that work for her, because she’d obviously spent a while digging out clumps of manure and snacking on them. Awesome.

So, after discovering that my dog has a vendetta against my sunflowers, I came up with a plan: go to the home improvement store and get some low fencing so I can create a small garden patch in the backyard. I have to act quickly because my tomato plants are already setting flowers, and the local cardinals have been very clear that they’ve got dibs. You’d think I don’t put seed out for them, they way they’re behaving. I had a juvenile female land about two feet away from where I was kneeling, filling a planter with soil for the tomatoes.

Other than the time I rescued a cardinal hatchling, that’s the closest I’ve ever been to a wild bird. I’m one of those people who loves animals, but freaks out when they get too close. So rescuing the bird was a stretch for me, and I stayed up with her the entire night. We’re pretty sure she still lives in our neighbor’s yard, in his azaleas.

I also decided to try and find some way of enclosing the area with netting or chicken wire. Losing all my plants to birds, squirrels and bugs doesn’t sound like fun to me. I figured I’d post my progress and the results here. I have big plans for this yard, my reasoning being this: if I want to continue my romantic relationship with my boyfriend (and I do), I won’t be able to move out of state (one of my life’s goals. He never wants to leave here). To be happy here, I need to be in an environment that I love, and this house and its sad yard make me effing miserable. So, in addition to those things I mentioned earlier, this blog will also serve as a documentation of the large project that is: make me want to stay in this freaking state.

My plan is to post any time I have an update on the progress of our garden and or house. But mostly garden since we have limited funds and house projects are a bit expensive. Also I’ve become mildly obsessed with plants and am having a blast learning as much as I can. Hopefully other gardeners will be able to learn from my mistakes, and maybe get some inspiration from my projects. Happy planting!

CG

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