10 things you will need to have a vegetable garden if you are a working mother:
- something to grow things in. now, it may be a patch of ground, a raised bed (if your lucky, your significant other will build it for you; i’m lucky), or even a half whiskey barrel or window box if that’s what you have time/space for.
- you will need a plan. trust me. i always make one. i never follow it, but it will make you feel virtuous that you did at one time have some sense of restraint. or, just some sense.
- you will need some time. this might be the hardest part of the list, especially if you leave for work before dawn and return after dark. i have no ideas here. you’re on your own.
- you will want some assistance. it may come from books (The Garden Primer, Second Edition by Barbara Damrosch is a great reference), friends who know what they are doing, and maybe your kids? hint: your kids probably are not interested in your garden agenda and will not want to help you. options: pay them; beg them; exclude them completely (reverse psychology).
- also, consider miracle grow, compost…take any leg up you can get. i have used this in the past with some success: Neptune’s Harvest Organic Fertilizer.
- depending on what you are growing (zucchini, string beans), you will need a dedicated appetite that celebrates monotony.
- you will need poisons of some sort. if you plant it, they will come: the invaders that love to search out and destroy what you have planted and (if you had time) lovingly tended. show no mercy; the invaders won’t.
- you will need protection of some sort from the mosquitos, black flies, dragon flies, and other insects that are hell-bent on getting in your eyes, ears, nose, and mouth. a bug headnet is worth it’s cost. Cabela’s makes one. i’ll warn you; it’s not pretty, but neither is trying to extract a bug from your nasopharynx. the choice is yours.
- be prepared for surprises. the crookneck yellow squash seedling that you purchased just may surprise you and turn out to be just another ordinary green zucchini plant. these things happen.
- lose with dignity. if the invaders are winning, sometimes it’s better to sacrifice one plant for the good of the whole garden. rip it out. don’t look back.
(early!) on sunday mornings, Paul Parent has a radio talk show where you can call in and ask questions. check out his website for more information.
and remember: give yourself a break. we can’t control everything.
if things turn out well, share the wealth! maybe your neighbor or friend had good luck growing tomatoes this year, and you had good luck with string beans. share; everyone benefits.