As the Canadian Thanksgiving ends and the American Thanksgiving approaches, I thought it would be a “humbling” experience to chronicle the “results” of my cottage garden. It all started back in the winter when I had the hair-brained idea to make a vegetable garden at the cottage. The rational for making the cottage garden was two-fold. First, we spend a lot of time at the cottage in the warmer months. Secondly, I have nowhere at home to build a suitably sized garden.
So back in early May, a few of my high school buddies helped me build a raised bed garden at the cottage during one of our bi-annual weekends together. I went to great lengths & cost in order to make my garden predator proof and I had a local guy deliver 4 yards of triple-mix. Everything was going along well, even though Mr. Local Guy was quite concerned that I would be growing my pot too close to the road. I assured him that it would be vegetables that I would “attempt” to grow. He gave me the same look that most rural folks give when they hear that I take our chickens to the cottage.I then proceeded to plant the garden in early June.
Throughout July I lovingly tended my gardens. I watered, weeded and sent silent thoughts of encouragement for a bountiful harvest to begin in August. Maybe my thoughts weren’t encouraging enough because my garden didn’t respond with a yield that could feed one, let alone a family of 4. By late August, I knew we were in trouble with a harvest of only 7 beans, 3 cherry tomatoes and a miniscule feed of Swiss chard that wouldn’t even provide a snack for the chickens, let alone a side dish for this City Boy. By Labor Day, I knew we were doomed. It pained me to watch many of you write posts on your successful gardens and all of the produce that you would consume and share. Don’t get me wrong….I was happy for each of you. I just wanted a bit of tasty success for my own family.As it turns out, Jack Frost dealt his deadly blow before the Canadian Thanksgiving. So much for the dream of plump red Roma tomatoes that were destined to be bruschetta, salad accompaniments, and sandwich fillers. As for the Leeks…..they were suppose to be the main ingredient in our Leek & Potato soup. Chili peppers…….they were to be dried, crushed and used in our hot Italian sausage and salami making recipes. I could go on and on, but it hurts too damn much!
In hind-sight, I now see that my fatal mistake came way back in May long before I even planted my garden. I still remember that fateful Saturday when my two buddies and I thoroughly discussed the location of the garden while quenching our thirst on a few beers from a local micro-brewery. Maybe there was some mind altering ingredient in that micro-brewery beer? Maybe it was the heat of the sun that beat down on our Vitamin E deprived brows? But…….maybe………….. it was the fact that the FREAKIN’ LEAVES ON THE ENORMOUSLY LARGE FREAKIN’ TREES THAT GREW FAR ENOUGH AWAY FROM THE GARDEN WERE STILL IN THEIR TINY FREAKIN’ BUDS……..BUDS THAT WERE WAITING TO OPEN AND BLOCK ANY POSSIBILITY OF SUNLIGHT AFTER 3PM! Damn! How could I have been so stupid? Nonno, If you are looking down on me….please stop shaking your head. I know I came from a family that had its roots in farming, but I’m just a City Boy trying to reconnect with his Family’s past.
Well….I might as well get it over with….swim out to the raft….proceed to jump off and make the biggest belly flop that I am capable of making……………….But wait………..Why should I be the only one punished for this oversight??????? Ah Hello?????? Mr. 5 Maples……..don’t you guys hold any responsibility for taking away my mid-afternoon sun which created that 2 inch cucumber, those emaciated leeks and the green tomatoes that refuse to turn red?????? DAMN STRAIGHT YOU DO! Well………at least it’s gonna’ be warm in the cottage next WINTER! “Hey Beloved Wife……did you happen to get any leeks at the grocery store today? I’m thinking about making some soup for dinner tonight!
Been there and done that. Planted some things in spots I thought were perfect, only to forget about our neighbors large trees. Oh well, live and learn…
I continue to Live, learn and keep Laughing at myself!
Thanks for your comments.
I laughed when I read you started planting in June. Here in Louisiana we start planting in February and we start the fall crops June through August and some as late as October. I hope you have better luck next year. jb
Unfortunately in Northern Ontario we still have frost possibilities in late May. It makes for a pretty short growing season.
Thanks for your comments.
Haha – you are too funny! You can plan your garden for next year sitting near the warmth of your wood stove!
Dang. I’m sorry for your humbling experience. But I honestly must say I feel better after reading your post. I haven’t started the process of growing a garden just yet. As a city girl just recently moved to the wilds of the Southwest, I’m still in the planning stages…reading blogs, checking out books… and most everyone seems to have one thing in common: they’re doing it right. I just know I’m not going to! Eventually, yes. But I plan to have a few HUGE belly flops before that time. So, somehow, hearing about your flop–and hearing that you didn’t spontaneously combust or turn into a toad because of it–made me feel hope. Odd. But true. Thanks for sharing!
Thanks for your comments. There’s only 2 ways to learn…..the ones that turn out right and the ones that EVENTUALLY turn out right after a belly flop or two. I hope you jump in and have a blast!
Too funny, but very, very well written…oh those poor maples…….
Thanks for your comments and the compliment! Those “poor maples” will keep us nice & warm next winter.
I hope you’ll drop by again.
Sorry you had such a bad year in the garden. Warm winters are a good thing, though. And next year, you’re due for a bumper crop!
Thanks for your comments. Not sure about the “bumper crop”. I’ll keep my expectations low and just hope for……a crop!
Hope you’ll stop by again.
Lol! I had fantastic gardens in Illinois, for decades – then moved to Kentucky, & couldn’t grow anything edible (though my one rose bush & some of my trees did well), in the near decade I was there. Back in IL, & stuck in a tiny apartment. So, to me, your bean, 3 cherry tomatoes, & bit of Swiss chard (though, I’d be laughing at myself, to) kinda ARE a crop. 😀 I can’t wait until I can once again try my hand, & have a feeling I’ll be learning all over again, too!
The biggest aggravation of living in a zone 4 state is the short season. Purchase already grown plants well on their way to production, start seeds indoors and/or add cold frames/fabric t bump out your season. Eliot Coleman has a wonderful book for those of us that are belly flop experts. The best part is that we get a do over ever spring. Rots of ruck next year!
Thanks for the tips and the read.
Best of success next year!
I had a rough year in the garden, too. Funny post…keep grinning!
There’s always next year!
Thanks for your comments.
LOL! Deforestation, coming right up! “NOOOOOOOO….!!!!” screams Mother Nature.
Good read CB. Thanks for sharing with The Clever Chicks. 🙂
Oh, the woes of homesteading…I dont’ know how many well laid plans have ended up being not so well laid out for us.
BUT , we continue to try!
thanks for sharing your post with us at the HomeAcre Hop!
Location, location, location -isn’t that the answer to so many things – the raised garden looked great – perhaps it won’t be difficult to move…:)
I am delighted that you shared with Home and Garden Thursday,