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Discussing my green thumb — such as it is

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I don’t know what happened to my green thumb. Perhaps it never was very green, just a sickly-looking purple from misdirected hammer blows.

For years I’ve been trying to grow beans, beets, chard, cucumbers, and green peppers. My tomatoes are fair, as are my parsnips. Zucchini and spaghetti squash are iffy. The chard and beets are so stunted there’s not enough for one decent feed. I gave up a long time ago on cukes and peppers. Beans start off well, but the rabbits get them before they have a chance to flower.  

Every year, I till a bale of peat moss and a couple of bags of manure into the garden. This year, I did some research which suggested that my problem could be too much peat moss and manure, which could be alleviated with applications of lime. I explained my problem to the local greenhouse and they provided me with lime, which I liberally sprinkled into my garden. To outwit the rabbits, I sowed scarlet runner beans in two half whiskey barrels along with the regular beans in the garden.

As expected, the garden beans were all eaten by the rabbits. The chard and beets are so sickly I’m going to till them under. The tomatoes, though not plentiful, will provide me with some fine eating. I’ve had one decent zucchini, but it’s doubtful I’ll get more. The parsnips seem to be doing well but I won’t find out till spring, as I leave them in the garden over the winter.

Ah! But I still have my scarlet runners to add that homegrown zest to my meals. As planned, the scarlet runners were too high for the rabbits. I felt like I was in Jack and the Beanstalk watching them grow. To help them along, I constructed a framework of stakes for them to climb and they grew and grew and grew with a profusion of scarlet blossoms. As I watched the beans blossom, I looked forward to a bumper crop. Now, it’s harvest time and I go out to pick some for dinner. My total crop consists of five beans – two full size and three stunted. However, there’s still a tiny one left on the vine that may develop into something.

Ron Buffie is a community correspondent for Transcona. Email him at ronbuffie@shaw.ca

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