Tag Archives: garden envy

I Hate My Neighbor Because His Garden is Prettier Than Mine

hate my neighbor because his garden is prettier

We moved into our house almost three months ago. I was a square-foot gardener at my old house. Now I’m an in-the-ground gardener. Making the switch wasn’t easy, people. There are weeds freaking everywhere! The leaves on my tomatoes are curling and I’m guessing I’m missing some nutrient in the soil but I don’t know because I didn’t hand-make the soil like I did with my square foot garden.

When we first moved in, we dug all the grass and weeds up from the area where the former owners had a garden. There were a lot of weeds – a lot of mint and a big, dead blueberry bush. The garden sloped down a small hill. We ended up making steps for each level of the garden. It was kind of like rice fields in China, except small and ugly.

I knew the soil had a lot of clay in it, so I added some compost and garden soil to make it more loamy or whatever. I planted my tomatoes and pepper plants. That night it rained.

Apparently, we had dug trenches instead of steps. The plants were sitting in two inches of water when I went out to check on them. Immediately, I made a way for the water to run off so the plants wouldn’t stay flooded. I learned a lesson: don’t dig trenches in your garden, especially when the soil is like play-doh.

My new neighbor is a first-year square-foot gardener. He has two square foot gardens. The wood is fresh. Everything is verdant. It’s beautiful. It’s perfect.

I hate him.

neighbors garden

I peeked through the bushes when he wasn’t home to take this photo. He even built a bench with the left-over wood. Gah!

His garden is pretty and perfect. I used to have a pretty and perfect garden. I used to be a square-foot gardener. Now I don’t know what in the heck I’m doing. I’m digging trenches, my tomato leaves are curling and the weeds are overwhelming. I could make enough After Eight dinner mints to supply the entire Chicagoland area for the next 20 years with the amount of mint in my garden. No lie, check it out.

my garden full of mint 2I write a gardening blog and I don’t even know how to garden. My blog should be called “I Try to Grow Mint.” I could totally rock that blog.

Part of my mint problem has to do with my laziness, obviously. At my old house, I was in my garden multiple times a day. My bedroom window overlooked my garden. In my new house, I can’t see my garden from inside my house. I’d like to say that “absence makes the heart grow fonder,” but in this case it seems to be more of “out of sight, out of mind.” I’ve been neglectful of my garden and it’s showing.

So my project for the fall will be to dig up all that mint and get rid of it. In the spring I’ll work on making the soil better. And then I’ll kick my neighbor’s square-foot gardening rear end.

P.S. What in the heck do I even do with mint? I don’t have a single mint recipe. Please help! (don’t say tea, I don’t like tea)

I Accidentally On Purpose Grew Weeds Up a Trellis

Grew Weeds up trellis

A few weeks ago, this plant started growing in my garden. I didn’t know what it was. I figured maybe there were seeds left in the ground from the previous owners. We moved to this house just two months ago.

I looked at this beautiful plant with its broad leaves and yellow flowers and thought, maybe it’s a cantaloupe. I’ve never grown cantaloupe before, so I wasn’t really sure what it looked like. My sister is growing cantaloupe in her garden (this is her first year gardening) so I sent her a picture and asked her if it looked like her cantaloupe. She said, yes, it looked like what she had in her garden.

So, I got my trellis out of the garage and put it in the ground and strung it up. I guided the plant through the strings. And then I waited a few days.

Then I noticed two more cantaloupe plants growing right near my trellis. Perfect! I thought, I am so lucky the previous owners grew cantaloupe. I love those old house owners.

Then a week went by and I noticed the cantaloupe was still growing straight up. Don’t cantaloupe vines grow along the ground and you have to guide them up a trellis?

The cantaloupe kept growing. I waited another week and continued to water them regularly.

My sister came over and I said, come out and look at my cantaloupe. I’m not sure if it’s cantaloupe. Aren’t they supposed to grow like a vine?

She took one look at it and said, “No, that’s not cantaloupe. I don’t know what that is, some sort of weed. That doesn’t look anything like a cantaloupe plant.”

So, for the past three weeks, I, the gardening blogger, have been accidentally on purpose training weeds to grow up a trellis. Thank goodness this is a humor blog!

I searched on the internet to find out what in the heck I’ve been growing. It turns out to be a common wildflower in Illinois, called Velvetleaf. It’s often found in vacant lots, construction sites and waste areas – like my garden. One of the more interesting things the IllinoisWildflowers.com shared about this plant was that, “Velvetleaf is a rather tall and lanky plant with large leaves that is easy to identify in the field because there is really nothing else that resembles it.”

No, I’m sorry, IT LOOKS LIKE CANTALOUPE! Broad leaves? Yellow flowers? Cantaloupe!

NOT cantaloupe

OMG, this looks NOTHING like cantaloupe.

Here’s what a cantaloupe plant really looks like (from my sister’s garden)…

Image

I can’t believe I’ve spent the last three weeks growing weeds up a trellis.

Have you ever done something embarrassing in your garden like this? (Please say, yes.)