Thursday, June 9, 2011

Veggies in my future?

DToday it hit me that perhaps I need to rethink my gardening in terms of this declining economy . DH put it well, "The starving woman had beautiful roses ." I'm thinking about converting some of the rose garden to veggies . The truth is I barely qualify as a gardener, so moving into farming is almost ludicrous . However, I have a great friend who is very experienced, and there's always the internet. My veggie education starts tonight .

My googling led me to nitrogen-fixing, nematocidal cover crops for this summer, and I've narrowed it down to Sunn Hemp which will grow for 60 days and then be turned into the soil in preparation for the fall veggies . I don't know if backyard vegetable growers bother to grow a cover crop . If it's overkill, then it sounds right up my alley, don't you think? I have everything to learn . I almost don't know where to start . Potatoes, carrots? Other possibilities? I don't even buy fresh vegetables very much!

I'm totally lucid, but the deep end is very near . Chickens are not allowed here, but if the economy is toast, I'm thinking they'll be overlooked by my neighbors who will want my eggs . I know you're thinking I've gone nuts overnight . I can only say I have not . I love my roses, and it's probably not wrong to say that I have too many . I have beautiful organic dirt but no gold in case the currency fails , so I just thought I needed to get more real . Things like canning, freezing and bartering have crossed my mind - along with keeping my lovely daylilies . How would the front garden look with a rose, then a veggie ( see, I don't even know what veggie to say! ), another rose, etc . The side gardens are prime areas for a long row of edibles . The roses will have new companions .

'Mary Guthrie', 1929 polyantha by Alister Clark in Australia
'Royal Heiress' - evergreen, early mid rebloomer
'Hermosa', 1840 China/Bourbon in France

When I started growing roses, I was totally ignorant about them and about organic gardening . At least now I know about organics, but I feel so dumb . Well, this too shall pass . Will you stick with me on this new journey? It occurs to me that I could change my mind, and the journey will be a short one, but it's the responsible thing to do . I learned that flower gardening is not cheap, so I wonder if vegetable gardening is not cheap, too . Gee, my heart is racing . Off we go into the wild blue yonder...


  1. You will grow vegetables very well, I am sure ! And the flowers will be ok too. Very wise decision, Sherry !!!

  2. I have a feeling that you will do very well with vegetables. I also want to grow veggies, but plan to do so in containers.


  3. A Victory Garden? I don't think we're at that point yet, although if you read "One Second After" you'll wonder....scared the heck out of me recently. When the time comes, I'll be sticking with taters; largest yield/acre and the pests are large enough to pick off.

  4. Veggies are fun! Sherry, if you can grow roses, vegetables will be soooo easy for you. Some areas that won't allow chickens will let you keep a duck or two. Duck eggs are great for eating and baking. (I bake cakes with duck eggs when I can; they make a fluffier product.)
    Go for it and have a BALL!
    (Love your hubbie's starving lady remark!)

  5. You are not crazy! I am totally with you. I think this country lost something when we stopped having personal gardens and chickens. I've long dreamt of creating my own veggie garden, but I seem to have the worst luck with them. Several of my neighbors in my suburban neighborhood have chickens (my cat occasionally brings home a few chicks ;( ) My sister has had chickens here in Ocala for years and bribes any complaining neighbors with fresh organic eggs whenever she needs to. With all the GMOs, pesticides and hormones out there, I think it is very natural to want more control where our food comes from. Let us know how you do!

  6. I think it very smart of you to try vegetable gardening. Grow the things you like to eat. And only those. It's not so hard, and if they don't make, there's always next year - or the farmers market. ;) I started with some small raised beds. If you have room, I would recommend that. And I love Mel Bartholomew's book about Square Food Gardening. Have fun with it! It really doesn't take that much space to grow vegetables for just a couple of people.

  7. Vegetable gardening terrifies me for some reason; oh, I know, it's the amount of work. I am the proud owner of one cherry tomato plant. Most nights I go out with a flashlight to make sure the snails haven't gotten to it, or those horrible green caterpillars (tomato worms?) Sherry, I'm in awe of you, but am quite sure you'll make a success of it, assuming you stay interested. Judging by your garden, you can grow ANYTHING!

  8. Thanks for the vote of confidence, Dani. I’m looking for veggie seeds and pondering which roses will be sacrificed.

    FlowerLady, my DH is urging me to use pots also. I have plenty of them, so why not. A friend uses half barrels. Mine aren’t that big. We’ll see.

    I guess it would be sort of a Victory Garden, Professor. I never wanted anything to do with veggies, but times they are a changin’.

    I hope they’re fun, Sandra. My friend said I’m a good type to grow vegetables well as demonstrated by my doting on the roses. That’s good! I asked her about ducks. She mentioned the slimy, slippery poo! I will think about them, but she said you don’t know for sure if you’re getting a female with the ducks (straight-run only). Is duck manure good for roses??? Yes, hubbie makes me laugh a lot.

  9. WG, thank you for your great support. I’m in the city and I think chickens are not allowed, but maybe I’ll try one day – minus the rooster. We’ve been getting our eggs from my friend who has about 20 chickens.

    HolleyGarden, that’s good advise to grow only what we like – no onions. Ha-ha. I’m not sure what the difference would be between raised beds and my rose beds where all the hard work is already done – except less bending over. Is that it? The veggie beds will be scattered around. I’ll definitely check out Bartholomew’s book.

    LOL, Ingrid! You hit the nail on the head – assuming I stay interested. We’ll see won’t we. I’m consulting our ag service – UFL / IFAS. They have tons of information online. Re the work involved, I’m definitely not looking forward to the “turning under” part of growing the cover crop. I guess my digging days aren’t over after all. I hope I can grow anything, Ingrid.

  10. I think you will be able to grow veggies just fine, but I doubt you will grow enough to really substitute grocery shopping... I don't know though. I have four tomatoes, four blueberry bushes, strawberries, herbs, corn, a watermelon, sweet peas, grapes and 5 fruit trees and still buy fruit and veggies in a grocery store most of the time:). The worst of it is that when your fruit and veggies ripen, they are sold at rock bottom prices at the store too because that's when they are in season, so I don't think I really save anything by growing my own...

  11. Well, Masha, this is all a grand experiment. Considering that I only buy frozen vegetables, whatever we get out of it will be a plus. Maybe I’ll even be widening the sideyard beds. I ordered the Sunn Hemp seeds, so I’m hoping to start them next weekend.

  12. You can never have too many plants! And the roses will look adorable next to the tomatoes. Go for it!

  13. Yes, I do think I‘m going to inter-plant, FaithieP, but first it will be broccoli, cabbages, carrots and potatoes.