Improving Phil’s Garden

A few years ago my father-in-law, Phil, started making trips up from Texas a couple times a year to plant a garden in our backyard for us. He tilled up a square in my backyard and put seeds in the ground. It looked easy.

Becky and I watched him work, asked questions, even wrote some stuff down.

Thanks to Phil we had a few years of monstrous squash..
boy holding giant squash

…zucchini the size of an obese cat…

Zucchini the size of a cat

…lower grocery bills and plenty to share with neighbors.

Then, last year I decided to take what Phil did and improve change it just a little.

My changes gave me a garden twice as big and just downright prettier than Phil’s.

I laid down a weed barrier, then built sturdy above ground boxes and filled them with store-bought “premium garden soil.” I left room for a path between the boxes and filled it with large pebbles. Very zen meets Better Homes and Gardens.

I planted seed just like Phil did except I added some expensive “premium organic plant food” into the holes. I watered just like Phil did except I used the stuff collected from the rain barrels I made.

When the first tufts of green poked their heads up I told a couple neighbors we’d soon have enough to feed the whole cul-de-sac. “Just go back there and grab what you need.”

The tufts turned into sprawling towering plants. Much bigger than Phil’s.

A friend who’s gardened for years came over and expressed discontent with her own garden after seeing mine. I’m not sure she’s been happy ever since. Another friend suggested I write a do-it-yourself gardening e-book. Gosh, I started thinking, I could start gardens for other people and create a gardening blog and a conference for vegetable planters and a blog for the conference for vegetable planters and a conference for vegetable planters who blog and…

Every day the plants got larger and so did my head while we waited for the first fruits to appear. And waited and waited…

Our poster child squash plants produced zero squash last year but some very nice yellow flowers. Our tree-sized tomato plants squeaked out a whopping three tomatoes but the girth of the vines toppled their cages.

My garden might have been the state’s biggest and prettiest last year. But a salad would have been nice. That’s the whole point of a garden right?

This year I’m testing the soil. Phil told me to.