Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Dead, Shriveled Green Thumb

It's been over two weeks since we transplanted our little seedlings into their new home in garden boxes. It goes without saying that we get an "A" for effort. Here in Arizona, we have very hard, clay-ish dirt that makes growing things pretty tough. It's almost like we live in the harsh desert, or something very close. After sixteen days of trial and error, the verdict for the garden is in. Hubby isn't happy with the dirt he made, and neither are the plants, it would seem.

Even the few things we planted from Home Depot as full-grown plants are dying a slow death. The zucchini already arranged to be cremated, and don't be fooled by the cherry tomato plants. Despite having adorable little tomatoes blooming, I keep tearing off dying stems just below. Death is slowly creeping upward, so who knows how long those little guys will hang on before succumbing to the terrible dirt as well. We've lost three of the six Better Boy Hybrid Tomato plants, which are bred to withstand the terrible heat. We are down to just three Roma tomatoes as well, but not a single plant has gotten any bigger or better since getting into the garden boxes over two weeks ago. We've lost all four banana pepper plants and four of the six sweet peppers. I'm so bummed because I use a lot of those in my cooking! I'm tired of paying $1.99 for one green bell pepper! The two plants that are left are barely hanging on and certainly aren't showing any positive signs of growth. Hubby still has all four jalapeno plants, which makes him happy. But they aren't growing, either. It's just a huge graveyard for plants, it would seem!

The only thing thriving in these harsh conditions are the bulb onions we planted during transplant day. Amazingly enough, they are doing very well and growing like weeds. Maybe they ARE weeds, and I just haven't figured that out yet.

On the bright side, the herbs are doing very well in their small pots. Look at my basil! Isn't it beautiful! I go out there a few times a day just to admire it and smell it and pet it. I can't wait to start chopping it up for pasta dishes, and it looks like that time isn't too far away!

I think what we will end up doing is growing our garden in large pots from now on. We will use good potting soil from top to bottom, and the plants will have no choice but to grow and prosper. I admit it has been frustrating watching all of our hard work and effort die off one by one. Hubby has dreams of making better soil, but I hope we can use large pots in the meantime. This would make them easily mobile, too, in case we needed to move them to shade to protect them from the sunlight. I bet most things don't like 120 degrees. I know I don't.

While Hubby worked to clear some gravel last night, I worked on some weed-removal and whacking. Over by the lemon tree was looking a little too jungle-ish, but now it is much more habitable for weeds to move right back in. I am headed out to surprise Hubby by painting his shed so he doesn't have to do it when he gets home from work. The finished product should occur in the next few days (and a post all about the shed will follow). Then we can mow the lawn and grab the last few weeds out front to make our house presentable for hosting Easter Dinner with family. My Dad arrives from Mexico today, and it will be fun to show him all the changes we've made in the past six months!

I took a few pictures of the gigantic tree behind our house. I didn't notice until my Mom and sister pointed them out last month, but we house some pretty loud birds in that tree! I like waking up to the happy sound of chirping, but these guys sound like they are murdering each other. One of them even sounds like the music from the shower scene in Psycho. It's awesome. And now I hear how loud they are all the time. I still like them, though. Kind of like I love living underneath the approach path of Sky Harbor Airport.

Off to outside. I am sure painting a shed will cheer me up about my failing garden. Who says vegetables are necessary for life, anyway?!


  1. That is a bummer. AZ soil is the worst...but luckily they sell bags of garden gold to grow things in. Good luck.

  2. Can't you just buy soil to fill up your garden boxes? I know it's expensive--sorry about your garden. Looks like a green thumb is one thing you didn't inherit from the Parkinson side! lol

  3. We are following the soil recipe from "Square Foot Gardening" to fill our boxes. The ingredients are expensive but once done will last a long time. Maybe you should check it out. Sorry for your disappointment! xo

  4. I tried growing in Vegas last year and it ended up, well, about like your garden. So disappointing.
    :( Have you done bountiful baskets?

  5. That's too bad about your plants - great herbs though! At a gardening workshop recently, I learned that it does take time to transform soil by consistently composting it. (I don't remember all the details of doing that.) I think they were saying it takes a few years to get the soil great for growing. It's nice you own the house - putting effort into the soil won't be wasted!


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