what'cha growin'?

Early last week, I received an email from my friend Gayla Trail, the author and stunningly creative mind behind You Grow Girl, the website (and series of books) that promotes "gardening for the people."  Gayla has written several books encouraging folks to take the plunge and garden, regardless of where they might be -- in a rural home with a huge plot of land, or a tiny city apartment with a fire escape full of pots.  For many years I've watched her site for the evolution of her garden, particularly her stunning back yard in Toronto, and in a lot of ways she's sort of been my gardening "oracle," even though until a few weeks ago, I'd never actually planted my own.

So imagine my astonishment when her email invited me to participate in her new podcast series, What'cha Growin'?.  I'm pretty sure she could hear me burst into laughter all the way in Canada.

"Gayla," I said, "I am a gardening idiot.  I only started gardening a few weeks ago.  My gardening philosophy thus far has been 'Blind Luck.'  I have no idea what I'm doing."

"That's exactly what I want," she assured me.  "I don't want my podcast series to be full of gardening experts, I want to share the experiences of gardeners at every stage --people who have been gardening for years, as well as those who are just starting out.  I want you to represent a beginner."

"Well, hell, if 'neophyte' is what you want, then I'm definitely your man," I responded.  "This is going to be hysterical.  I'd love to do it!"

And so, last Friday, we recorded the episode, and it's now up on her site.  I'd love for you to grab a cuppa, find somewhere comfortable to sit, and give a listen -- it was so much fun to do (and there's an enormous amount of me giggling -- do I really giggle that much?), what with me being somewhat incredulous that things are actually growing in my back yard, and her amusement that I expected anything else.  She's also a wonderfully gentle and encouraging teacher, so if you've ever toyed with the idea of gardening but have been afraid to take the plunge, this would be a great podcast to listen to, without fear of being overwhelmed.

Click here to give it a listen.

And as part of putting together this podcast, Gayla asked me to share some photographs from my garden, and since it has been a while since I've updated you on its progress, I was happy to oblige.  There are some of these images on her site, but here's what my little vegetable garden looks like as of a few days ago, with captions:

One of my asparagus bean plants.  I ain't gonna lie:  the way these plants climb poles kinda freaks me out.

One of my asparagus bean plants.  I ain't gonna lie:  the way these plants climb poles kinda freaks me out.

My mint. This plant has gone nuts -- so glad it's in a pot, or it would have been out of control. Mojitos for everyone!

My mint. This plant has gone nuts -- so glad it's in a pot, or it would have been out of control. Mojitos for everyone!

The carrots that Alex insisted that we plant.  I'm not holding out much hope for these, as everyone tells me they like cool weather, and we're about to run out of that here in Houston.  Fingers crossed.

The carrots that Alex insisted that we plant.  I'm not holding out much hope for these, as everyone tells me they like cool weather, and we're about to run out of that here in Houston.  Fingers crossed.

The carrot leaves are pretty while they last, though.

The carrot leaves are pretty while they last, though.

My lime tree, which provided some beautiful lime blossoms to photograph when I was putting together the Lime Retreats site, is healthy, but doesn't look like it's going to bear much fruit this year.  We'll see.  Hopefully next year we'll have good luck.

My lime tree, which provided some beautiful lime blossoms to photograph when I was putting together the Lime Retreats site, is healthy, but doesn't look like it's going to bear much fruit this year.  We'll see.  Hopefully next year we'll have good luck.

Marcus planted this plum tree last year, and it produced exactly one inedible fruit.  After ignoring it for a year, this year it's positively laden with fruit -- so I co-opted this plant, decided it was part of my "garden," and began taking better care of it.  Don't tell Marcus I took his tree.

Marcus planted this plum tree last year, and it produced exactly one inedible fruit.  After ignoring it for a year, this year it's positively laden with fruit -- so I co-opted this plant, decided it was part of my "garden," and began taking better care of it.  Don't tell Marcus I took his tree.

My tomato plants have gone positively insane -- they're now taller than me, and frankly, this makes me incredibly nervous.  I've always known tomato plants to be no more than 3 or 4 feet, but Gayla assures that this is because that's the type of tomato plant that she's seen in the Caribbean, and therefore likely what I grew up with -- but this is a different type.  I want to believe her, but this seems a bit "body-snatcher" to me.

My tomato plants have gone positively insane -- they're now taller than me, and frankly, this makes me incredibly nervous.  I've always known tomato plants to be no more than 3 or 4 feet, but Gayla assures that this is because that's the type of tomato plant that she's seen in the Caribbean, and therefore likely what I grew up with -- but this is a different type.  I want to believe her, but this seems a bit "body-snatcher" to me.

The tomato plants have pretty flowers, though.

The tomato plants have pretty flowers, though.

Also, tons of fruit.  So far, only two have ripened, but given how many are still on the vine, there may be lots of cherry tomato BLTs in our future.

Also, tons of fruit.  So far, only two have ripened, but given how many are still on the vine, there may be lots of cherry tomato BLTs in our future.

Finally, stepping back, this is what my little vegetable patch looks like today.   For comparison, this is what it looked like when I started out about 9 weeks ago.

Finally, stepping back, this is what my little vegetable patch looks like today.   For comparison, this is what it looked like when I started out about 9 weeks ago.

As far as how I'm gardening:  I'm literally just watering all of these plants for about about 10 minutes in total every day it doesn't rain, pulling a weed if I see one (and I'm in the mood to bend over), and then just hoping for the best.   So far this seems to be working, but it's early days, yet.   I'm taking it day by day, and the brutal Houston summer that will inevitably come might just send me running for cover.

But so far, so good.

And again, more at Gayla's site.

 

Song:  Blue in green by Gretchen Parlato