Thursday, May 20, 2010

Vegetable Serendipity

Lest I squirm here under false pretenses, let me begin by saying that I am the world's laziest gardener. Once I chuck a plant into the ground, it's on its own to grow and thrive and bloom or get yanked out. I don't put up with dawdlers or divas. So imagine my surprise, as a recent convert to growing vegetables, to find out that edibles are the hands down easiest group of plants to grow of anything I've ever grown. These plants are determined to live, determined to bear fruit and scatter the seeds of the next generation.

Here's what no-one told me about growing vegetables: Many of them come back the next year.

I've been harvesting leaf lettuce for more than a month now. However, I didn't plant lettuce this year. Or last year. Two years ago, in March, I sprinkled a packet of leaf lettuce seeds into a bare spot in one of my flower beds. In about two weeks I had a little salad. And for the next six or eight weeks, I had more lettuce than I knew what to do with (luckily, we love salad at my house). Then spring turned to summer and the lettuce went to seed. Being the lazy gardener I am, I pulled up the lettuce plants and laid them where they grew so they could decompose and go back to being dirt. The following spring, Voila! as soon as the snow melted, there was lettuce. This year, same thing. We are living on salad right now and it is good.

Last year, where I had onions, I have onions again. I don't know what's happening below ground but I've been cutting the green onion tops for about six weeks and using them to flavor everything. I have carrots I wasn't expecting; tomato plants, bean plants, and several plants that could be either pumpkin, cucumber, or cantelope that have come back with no help from me. Last year I had broccoli come back but haven't seen any yet this year.

I expected the asparagus and was not disappointed. The roses in the photo are just for showing off. We are having English weather this spring and the roses are phenomenal.

I used to be intimidated by growing a garden. All the gardens I saw were meticulous with their lines made straight with string and their littles mounds for certain plants and all this lore that did not get passed down to me. But then I started, one or two seed packets at a time, most of them scattered among my perennial flower beds.
Since then, it's been vegetable serendipity.

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