Gardening TIL

Urban Gardening and learning things the hard way

Our house backs onto a small nature conservation area in the city and therefore gardening can be a big challenge.  We have a partial fence in the back which does not do a good job of keeping aggressive weeds from attacking our yard.   By the end of the summer I feel like we are in a “B” rated horror movie where the plants are taking over the humans.  When I say weeds I mean gigantic 10 ft. tall weeds not your everyday dandelions.  This is near my house to give you an example of what I’m dealing with here.

Two years ago  we built a new garage to replace our old leaning garage.  That year I had a great crop of various types of peppers, and because it was in close proximity to where the old garage was , I asked the contracter 10 times ” are you sure the garage won’t fall on my garden”  and each time the answer was ” no, we won’t let anything happen to your garden.”  As the excavator chomped away at our old garage ,it began  creeking and cracking under the weight of it’s gnarly metal teeth, then almost as if someone said “Go” it fell to the ground with a loud crash……exactly on top of my garden.  End of gardening year !  I did manage to salvage a few peppers .  Which reminds me of what happened the year before.

I positioned  the garden in the middle of the yard where I could access everything without going all the way out to the back to pick vegetables and herbs.   I am a late bloomer when it comes to having a vegetable garden and want to see how everything grows , so I try to grow a few different things every year .  We are in a hardy zone 4 here in Northern Ontario.  I tried Peaches and cream corn that year , and made little pots out of newspaper filled with soil, and added one seed to each one .  I got a little carried away and the next thing you know, I had 30 of these little packages growing in my office in the middle of March.  By the time the May 24 weekend came ( May24 is the day we plant here in Northern Ontario)  my corn was already 10 inches tall.  I had no idea how fast corn grows.  We had a beautiful summer with just the right amount of rain and sun to make my corn strong and healthy bursting with juicy sweet niblets waiting for the right day to be picked.  They say you know when to pick the corn when the tassels on top become more dried out .  I watched that corn like a mother hawk watches her young, just waiting for just the right day to make the harvest.


Deep into the middle of the late summer night while the crickets were singing and the air was still and warm, our dog Lady barked one single bark, not the kind to warn of intruders but one as if she had just woken herself up during a dream.   Of course we were sleeping so when I heard her , and the following silence I made no reaction other than to just promptly return to dreamland.  The next morning when I woke up and came down for my morning coffee , I went out to sit on the deck to admire my crops, and to my horror, I saw it .  Or  I should say , didn’t see it .  Gone , all of it .  Tangled mass of stalks looking as if a category 10 hurricane had gone through my yard.  I ran out to see what had happened and to make sure I wasn’t seeing things.   My blood pressure soared while I inspected  the destruction zone.  Someone had sliced off every single one of my beautiful ears of corn and stomped down, ripped out , tore, mangled and destroyed all of it .   One lonely little survivor remained untouched.  I quickly collected it and brought it to the safety of my house.  I was ready to go out and buy a pellet gun and start going door to door .  I felt as if I had been personally attacked by this and it took me until the next year to fully recover.  I cooked the ear of corn roasted in the husk on the barbeque with no added butter or spices.  It was the absolutely best ear of corn I had ever eaten in my life, and that says alot , because I grew up near the Green Giant fields in Southern Ontario.

Later that year as my over planted garden of tomatoes began to ripen, something or someone stole the one tomato that had turned the perfect shade of red.  So I over reacted and took every single green tomato off of all 25 plants, and put them in boxes lined with newspaper,  and every paper bag I could muster up in the house.  The green tomatoes ripen in paper bags or wrapped up in newspaper .  Well of course they all ripened at the same time , but we were prepared for canning that year , so we made a giant batch of pasta sauce and canned the entire bunch of them .  What a year!

Copyright ©2012


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