The Kinky Hose Garden Project Begins

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It’s a problem. It’s been a problem all my life, actually. I kill plants. I don’t mean to, it just sort of… happens. All my life, I’ve been notoriously bad at keeping things alive. Did you ever see the shows as a kid when the evil antagonist walks by the flowerbed and all the flowers wilt, presumably because he was so awful that the flowers died ? Okay, so I watched a lot of science fiction as a kid, but that’s another blog. The point is… THAT is me! Okay, minus the awful antagonist part, but you get my point. My girlfriend, Kris, is nearly just as bad as me. My sons? Well, that remains to be seen, but if I can learn, so can they. So can you.

I’ve always been jealous of friends who had the proverbial “green thumb.” Now, I have a new home with a completely barren back yard. It has grass (mostly weeds) and (I think) one little sapling in the corner struggling for life. However, this new home offers a fresh pallet upon which to try something radical! Grow a vegetable and herb garden.

I’ve often thought about it, but never actually managed to start one. So why, after 41 years of living with poor plant sustaining skills am I attempting this endeavor? I can think of six big reasons:

Dietary Health
Organically grown vegetables and herbs just taste better. Whether or not you have hitched your wagon on the organic train or not, it is hard to deny that vegetables grown in your own back yard taste amazing. Sure, you can drive to Whole Foods and spend a lot of money, but even then you don’t know 100% EXACTLY where that tomato came from. Walking to your back yard and eating one straight from the vine affords you one undeniable fact. You know exactly where that tomato came from and how it was grown.

Economics
Have you been to the grocery store lately? And I’m not just talking about Whole Foods. Prices at the typical neighborhood grocer are unbelievable. When I can buy a pack of 30 cucumber seeds for the price of one cucumber (knowing one seed will become one plant yielding 20-30 cukes over the summer), it doesn’t take an emeritus professor of mathematics to figure out the savings.

 Exercise
Who doesn’t need more of this? Granted, my garden will not be enormous, but the time to build, sow, cultivate, and harvest all takes work. Outside. In the yard. To me, that is hard to beat.

Aesthetics
A house and a yard with foliage and fresh vegetables is lovely and a pleasure to be in. The rewards of growing a garden (with a few plants and flowers as well) creates a living, fresh space with a soothing air.

Education
I have 10- and a 14-year-old sons. What better experience could there be to learning the skills, economics, and pleasures involved in growing a garden? Science. Math. Nutrition. Responsibility. Even art. It’s all there in many teachable moments, just waiting to be learned. And it just might get them off the couch and away from their video games for a few minutes each day.

Achievement
Ah… There it is! The personal jewel in my treasure chest of benefits. My grandfather always did things himself. If he needed something, he took care of it. Most likely, he made whatever it was he needed. There is something of him in me. It is the part of me that, after getting disgusted with all the $20 water wands that kept breaking or leaking right out of the box, decided to go to the hardware store and make my own for $18. Superior quality? Sure. Homemade look? Of course. But it is MINE. I built it. And it will last longer than any fancy water spout on the shelf at Home Depot. But it is that very sense of achievement that brings me to this project. It will take time, but that is the fun part.

I’m sure you can think of a few more good reasons, but this all begs the question. Can we, two grown adults with a penchant for perennial plant assassination, attempt the impossible? Can we take a barren landscape, a few tools, and enough knowledge to be slightly dangerous make a sustainable garden out of a little dirt, some seeds, and the Internet? We intend to find out, and that is what this blog intends to chronicle. Sure, our hose has a few kinks in it, but we think we can do it and we ask you to join us on our journey.

We are starting this from the very beginning and with no conceivable end in sight. Sure, we will likely meander along the path, but that is all part of the fun! Phase I is the vegetable and herb garden; Phase II will likely be a rainwater catchment system, but it might also be a landscaping endeavor. We don’t yet know, but whatever IT is, it will likely take a few years to realize its full potential. In that time, we plan to do more than merely document our progress. We also hope share tools and tips we find useful, provide insight in what NOT to do as well as what TO do (most likely after we unwittingly attempt the former a time or two), highlight the health benefits, educational opportunities, and overall assets of creating a garden, and share a little bit of us with a few of you.

Please join us.

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