Life Lessons in the Veggie Patch


Like children, vegetables aren’t that fun to look at in photos unless, of course, they are your own, and you love watching them grow. Like an overbearing mom, I’m fretting way too much over my little concrete veggie patch these days.  I feel like I’ve done all the right things, and some of the plants are starting to do their thing, but I’m nervous at how it could suddenly all go bad. (It has before.)



For example, I’m so excited about my yellow squash plant with all these babies, but now I’m concerned there are too many. Should I thin them out so the remaining ones have a chance to grow? What if we have another week of little sunshine?



These cucumbers are just getting going, but I panic when I spot tiny holes in the leaves or those dreaded patches of white fungus. I did spray some of my plants with some Spinosad, a mostly organic insectide recommended by Mr. Tomato. It did seem to thwart the unwelcome guests. I also pushed baby aspirins into the ground next to my tomato plants, another hot tip from Mr. Tomato. (That’s old dog fencing I used as a mini-arbor in anticipation of future cucumber poundage.)



Besides the deer, bunnies, squirrels, rats mice, and other garden marauders, I’m really concerned about birds. Although it’s counter-intuitive, I’m going with organic garden maven Pat Welsh‘s advice to grow plants that attract birds to your garden because they eat pesky insects. See how I’ve allowed my California native currant plant to dangle its berries next to my peppers and tomatoes? So far, the birds opted for the three strawberries I grew this winter. But I have faith in Pat.


If you are thinking that despite my hand-wringing, I’m feeling quite proud of my little garden at the moment, you are right! Like a parent, I did my best to bring these plants up properly, but I know there’s only so much I can protect them from. No regrets, right? At this point, if I would do anything differently, I would spend even more time at the beginning making sure I had the optimal soil conditions. As with child-rearing, there are few short cuts with vegetable gardening.

Wow. So many life lessons out there in the dirt! What ones have you learned?










5 thoughts on “Life Lessons in the Veggie Patch

  1. WOW! I’m so impressed. They all look great. I had crop failure due to moldy leaves on my yellow squash and today I’ll be removing the zucchini due to the same problem. I’ve had absolutely no sun down here. Your climate is so much better! Not to mention your gardening skills!

    1. @Nancy That’s tragic! I thought your squash looked beautiful and productive. How bizarre that we have such different climates and live about a mile or so from each other–both on the hill, too. Once the real heat hits, I bet you will have a new batch of thriving squash plants within a month or so!

  2. Janine: wow, it all looks great! And I’m so happy to see you kept that Ribes (currant), I’ve never seen a healthier one. Go ahead and thin your squash while you’re out there, munch away, natural selection and all.

    I have played out my entire life, past and future, in my mind while I’m in the garden. I don’t fear death as much as I fear a condo!

  3. Well done with the veggies! I know what you mean about the hand-wringing – it only takes a few hours for everything to go wrong and all your hard work to disappear. But we live and we learn, and hope for the next year to be more fruitful (excuse the pun!).

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