I mentioned in a previous post that my gardening arch-nemesis lives in my neighborhood and I'm forced to drive past his very successful garden several times a day while shuttling my son to and from preschool. His long lustrous plants taunt me with their green vibrant leaves. I seethe when I see them heavy with fruit. I get so angry when I see our pit of death and I have just driven past his personal Eden. His garden debunks my theory that we just have bad soil around here.
I was driving past it today and The Gardener himself was out there planting new tomato plants. I waved. He waved. Then I slammed on the brakes. I pulled into his driveway, did a three-point turn and drove back up to his garden. I got out and walked over to him.
"Hi. I live just down there (pointing) and I have a garden too - everything I have is dead or dying. How are your plants still alive?" I say to him.
Turns out he's a very nice guy and we talked for quite awhile. His problem is that he's got so much okra that he can barely harvest it all each day. Some problem. Hmph. His plants are growing so well that he can barely reach the top to pluck the vegetables from them. Double Hmph.
Well he is now my Gardening Mr. Miyagi and I will be his Katie-san. I asked him as many questions as I could about what he's doing right and what he thinks I'm doing wrong. He thinks we should get our soil tested, put Miracle Grow down when we plant new plants, put 1 tablespoon of Liquid Miracle Grow in a jug with 1 gallon of water and fertilize with that once a week, and avoid other fertilizers since some plants are sensitive to them.
I have decided I will do exactly what he does. He was rolling out some black landscaping fabric and cutting holes where his tomato plants will go and then mulching over that. Yes, I should do that too. He's growing tomatoes and okra. I will grow tomatoes and okra. I don't even like okra, but I have plans to grow it.
I'll admit that while he was talking my mind wandered a bit and I did contemplate quickly knocking him down with his hoe, wrapping him in black landscaping fabric and dragging him back to our garden where I'd make him stay until he creates magic in our yard too. But he was a really nice guy and the boys were in the car, so I didn't follow through with that abduction scenario.
Instead I will periodically stop by his garden and steal his plants…er, I mean… pick his brain and see how much advice I can soak in. I need to develop some gardening skills if I'm going to get something to grow. This guy seems like he's got more mad skills than he knows what to do with - I'm an empty vessel in the gardening skills department. We're perfect for each other. I wonder if he knows this?