Gardening Tips From Dummies…er, For Dummies?

Well I’m pretty sure there is more action happening in the garden this week than in all of the combined dressing rooms of New Kids on the Block circa 1989.  By the way, I have a strong memory of once watching an interview with NKOTB only to hear Joey McIntyre say he was “saving himself” for the right girl.  I also have a strong memory of wondering what exactly he was “saving”, but feeling like this obviously meant THERE MIGHT BE A CHANCE FOR ME!  Oh Joey, my 12 year old self could have been the right girl for you!  Ah, youthful naivete. 

You know what, upon re-reading that it sounds kind of creepy, but fret not you guys – it is sooooo the opposite of creepy.  I HAD NO IDEA WHAT HE WAS SAVING, for the love of God. Sheltered, suburban upbringing folks.    

(Oh man this post has already devolved so quickly.)

Well as you can imagine, that naivete still exists in my world — though it goes without saying it is no longer youthful.  Now instead of hoping that some pop star will carry me away on a white horse, I have other ridiculous, Not-Based-In-Fact hopes.  Hopes like:  My tomatoes will totally grow if I don’t cage them.  Why does the world need cages anyway?  Cages are just so…cage-y! 

The lesson in all of this (that all of YOU probably saw coming a mile away) is that messing with Mother Nature is just never the best course of action.  Screwing with “The Right Way” to do things just because you have an overinflated ego or are lazy is a seriously lame thing to do.  Don’t be lame, yo.  You would think this would have been ingrained in my head considering the number of surfing documentaries I have watched in the last few weeks — which clearly ALL have a thematic don’tf*ckwithmothernature kind of undertone — but unfortunately you would be wrong.  This blog is nothing if not a documentary of my shortcomings. 

You see, I did a lot of research on caging tomatoes (read: I googled it once or twice) and couldn’t really figure out why I HAD to do it.  It looked like a pain, tomato cages are expensive, and so I just kept avoiding it in hopes that it would go away.  Who said I HAD to do anything.  I will show you, Mother Nature and Garden Gods all over the world.  Uh, yeah, so that didn’t work out.  Last weekend it became clear to me why caging is necessary — tomatoes are HEAVY, y’all.  And those poor little branches need some help.  Why I insist on always doing things the hard way is still a mystery to me.  

So I finally accepted the need for cages, only to realize that at this point all of our plants were so overgrown that caging them was not even an option.  Elizabeth warned me about this, and yet I still persisted in my laziness.  What can I tell you, I’m an idiot.  

So what were we to do? Well, we came up with an Emergency DIY Solution, obviously.  We decided to craft a makeshift trellis for each plant since that seemed to at least be somewhat feasible.  We headed to Home Depot, scratched our foreheads a great deal, turned down the help of more than 5 earnest employees who were clearly responding to the forehead scratching, and then came home and made this with some pieces of bamboo and some tape.

Why yes I do feel like a White Trash Gardening MacGuyver, thanks for asking!  But hey, the tomatoes are supported!  And look,  they are actually growing instead of sitting on the ground waiting to rot or be eaten by bugs!  It’s amazing how an afternoon of hard work and a vicious sunburn can change your perspective.  Wait, that’s not the most ringing endorsement.  But  I was happy!  I promise!

It’s not the prettiest or most long-lasting solution,  but last night we ate the most delicious Caprese Salad (White Balsamic Vinegar is a game changer) using our tomatoes and our Resurrected Basil (you guys, it didn’t die after all!) and I felt a little ray of hope that maybe our garden really will make it this year.

So shall we recap these helpful DIY Tips:

*Don’t mess with Mother Nature and be lame
*Do what gardening websites (and Elizabeth) tell you to do
*Herbs like to play dead, don’t fret

I know you come here for my highly educational commentary, so I didn’t want to deny you. 

Hey, speaking of Not Dead…I think my Meyer lemon and lime tree are back from the dead as well!  They were crusty and brown and well…dead-looking for months.  Then the other day, I saw this:

Signs of Life, people.  Blurry, off-center signs of life…but who cares!?!?  I thought it was a weed at first but it is totally a new branch of the tree.  What do you know about pruning lemon trees, internet?  I know you have mad skillz!

Everything else is chugging away producing fruit at a pace faster than we can eat (more fun garden photos here), so we have even started giving stuff away.  If you can think of any creative things to do with zucchini, squash, cucumbers, basil, or tomatoes especially, I’d love your input.  I’d like to do a bit more research on creative ways to Can My Harvest (bahahaha), but well…I think we all know how I do research.

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2 Responses to Gardening Tips From Dummies…er, For Dummies?

  1. Home Sweet Sarah says:


  2. Melanie says:

    We're growing tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers in our little backyard garden (I gave up on squash after I killed it two years in a row), and my absolute favorite thing to do with the overabundance of cucumbers is this:

    So tangy and gingery and perfect! It may sound like a pickle, but it's completely different from any pickle I've ever had! I'll literally eat the whole batch in one sitting.

    Added bonus: removing the seeds seems to get rid of the burp factor! Also, don't be lazy and skip peeling the cukes. I tried that once and the flavor of the skin was overpowering.