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Intrepid Urban Farmer: In gardening, be prepared for some unexpected ( funny, epic, sexy) events

By Ginger Dawson
Special to NKyTribune

The turn of seasons always brings with it a predictable pattern. I start thinking about getting the garden put to bed for the winter and moving back inside for the season.  

The garlic is planted, the carrots have been mulched and the asparagus has started dying back.

My new pair of blueberry bushes. The lovebirds have their own space.

There is something comforting about this, but after about a week, I start getting bored. I hate being bored. I cook, I read, watch a little TV, and think about the fact that there is no reason to go outside. This has generally been my pattern. Bored, bored, bored!

This year is different, however. I have friends who, unexpectedly, have given my late fall and winter garden pursuits a new turn, and in one instance, a good laugh.

These are the best kinds of surprises.

My friend Lani, who lives down the street from me, offered up a couple of blueberry bushes that she had. She had decided that they did not get enough sun and wondered if I might be interested. I said I might take one, and give it a try. Lani, who is an excellent gardener, told me that they do better in pairs. Hmm. Ok. Blueberries do not like to be lone wolves. Just like humans!

I decided to take her up on her offer and brought the pair home. They are now ensconced in one-half of one of my newer raised beds. Strawberries had taken over the entire four by eight-foot area, so I had to get in there and dig up a bunch of the roots and try to keep them on one side. This is actually a good thing for strawberries, so I went at it.  I imagine I’ll have to keep a close eye on this arrangement because these strawberries and I have a history.

I used to live next door. These strawberries were in that yard. Being a new homeowner, and intent on home improvement, I installed a privacy fence. Of course, being a gardening naif at that point, I was puzzled that the strawberries disappeared!

Naughty, naughty, naughty!!!

A few years went by and I moved next door. That next spring, the strawberries appeared! They had moved with me! Now, I know you are probably thinking “they moved for the sun, stupid!”, but I was touched by this display of loyalty. I should probably keep these little memories to myself, but how else are you to know that my gardening experience is hard-earned and that I apparently have no internal edit button.

Anyway, as time has gone on, it appears that these strawberries and I have a pact. I try to kill them and they continue to thrive! This year is no different, so I feel confident that the blueberry bushes will need vigilance. Already, I have ordered a strip of garden edging to put between those strawberries and this pair of love-bird blueberry bushes. Will the strawberries become jealous by this display of enabled affection? Lord, I hope not.

Blueberries take an unusually low pH, 4.5 to 5. After I dug out all of the strawberry roots, I amended the soil with some aged cow manure, as is my annual habit. Sulfur is the element that will lower soil pH, so I sprinkled a prescribed amount around the drip-line (the outer edge of the leaf canopy) to address this.  

I know that the pH, as it stood, was probably too high. In the spring, I will have this soil tested to see where this initial amendment adjusted, and take it from there. Amendments, of any type, need to have time to integrate into the soil, so I expect I will have a good baseline reading by then.

The asparagus is dying back and next year will be my first harvest!! I cannot wait!

The next end-of-season unexpected event was the phenomena of the Tromboncino Squash! I met some new gardening friends this past spring, and they gifted me with a few seeds of this Italian squash, sometimes called trombone zucchini

This plant was a monster. It did exactly what I expected it to do, and then some. The vines were healthy and prolific, with huge, pretty leaves. The squash was epic.
Unfortunately, I was out of town for a couple of weeks, and the Tromboncino WENT to town. It tried to take over the entire backyard. Of course, it was at that time of year when end-of-season cleanup was commencing, so this just added more to that whole process.

When I started tearing the plants out, I found two ENORMOUS squash. I think they are over three feet long!  They looked way too mature to eat, but I wasn’t certain about that either, so I just left them on the back patio to ruminate on their fate—food or compost?

The carrots have the blanket pulled up to their chins.

The rest of the cleanup was taken care of and then my attention turned to that whole Halloween/Thanksgiving pumpkin decorating thing. 

I went to McGlasson’s Fruit Farm, my favorite Fall apple/pumpkin/cider destination and got my pumpkins. I don’t make a big deal out this decorating business and I am no Martha Stewart. It’s basically just one pumpkin plopped down in a planter with nothing else. I call it a Minimalist approach.  

The pumpkins always look fine in the smaller planters on the side of the house, but the two big planters on either side of the front door always need something a little extra. I DID use larger pumpkins, but they still looked lonely— desolate rather the minimalist.

As I pondered this visual dilemma, I remembered my two trombone zucchini. Adding one of those to each planter would be a start, so I brought them out front and arranged them around the pumpkins.  

Unbelievably, they were the perfect size to wrap around those pumpkins like that snake in the garden of Eden!  I actually laughed out loud!

Positively lascivious—lewd even! I couldn’t bring myself to add anything else to the display because, well, there was something naughty about that squash and I felt compelled to let them show off. I bet I have the sexiest pumpkins in Covington!  

Actually, with those lovebird blueberry bushes, I bet I have the sexiest GARDEN in Covington.


Ginger Dawson has resided in Covington, Kentucky since 1988. Raised on a farm in South Central Ohio, she has enjoyed a very eclectic and enriching life. She loves her Italianate Victorian Townhouse and particularly the garden behind it. See her new website at intrepidurbanfarmer.com

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One Comment

  1. Susan Braun says:

    Great humor, great writing!! I enjoyed this immensely!

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