Square Foot Gardening – The Marital Counseling Edition

by Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom on April 24, 2010

(Bare with me…this could be a long one. We had a little incident that might require some marital counseling.)

Meet helper #1.

Last week I was feeling adventurous and took the boys with me to the “big tools store,” which also happens to sell plants and seeds. And also happened to have a BOGO (buy one get one free) sale on all potted vegetables and herbs, as well as seeds.  Too bad I missed that sale :(

As I was unloading the baby and the plants from the car, I asked Ryan to retrieve the wagon from the back.  He cheerfully ran off to get the wagon (and his froggy chair) and returned to the van to help me load the plants into the wagon.  He insisted that his froggy chair come along for the ride with the plants, because “I want to have my chair there so I can watch.”

(When buying “dirt”-y plants, take boxes or trash bags to lay on the floor of your car or trunk to avoid getting dirt all over the place.  Boxes work best, as plants won’t topple on sharp turns.)

Well, the froggy chair didn’t make it on the plant’s big ride from the van to the planters. And thankfully, Ryan was cool with that concept.  He just carried his froggy chair along side the wagon as we moved the plants to their new home.

Next up…take out the Printable Garden Planners and place the plants where they will get planted.  Rearrange the plants and rework your plan if need be. (I did. Three times!).

Nope…that’s not where the peppers and basil ended up. This was Plan A.  They ended up elsewhere, according to Plan C.

After I set the plants out and made rearrangements, I placed them into a baking dish with water for a little while.  This allows the roots to soak up water and helps with the transplanting process.  It makes the move a little less traumatic for the little baby plants!

The Romaine lettuce is ready to be moved.  It was in one of the plastic black “9-pack” containers.  After watering the roots, I just gently squeezed them out and plopped them all into the dirt near their new home.

For the plants in the “peat wrap” containers, I find it easiest to cut all the way down the side of the peat wrap, and then gently pull the roots away from the peat wrap.  After placing the roots and plant into the hole, then I cut up the peat wrap and add a few pieces around the plant before pushing the dirt around and filling in the airspace around the plant.  And the plant will live happily ever after in its new home.

Oh, we’re not done yet…newly transplanted plants need water.  And they should be watered carefully.  And gently.

I instructed the boys on how to water the base of the plants and to let the water out slowly. The roots need to be treated with care as they adapt to their new dirt.

So Ryan was doing a great job watering…and then he got to the cilantro. And….

DUMP!

And you can see what happened to the poor cilantro.  It was standing up strong and straight, and then it was dumped on.  And they collapsed.

I really wanted the boys to help with the garden this year…but I think I’ll wait until the plants are a bit stronger and they can help with watering when it comes time to water with the spray hose.

Notice how Charlie so carefully waters the herbs in the Lasagna pot.  He still has his “watering the transplants privileges.” Despite the fact that his older brother lost his.

Below, in the “Lasagna Pot,” we have thyme, oregano, and basil.  In the big black spot, I’ll add in another herb later.

Into the planter, I planted the peppers, onions, Romaine and marigold.  I also planted seeds for radishes, dill and hot peppers.

While prepping the dirt to plant the hot pepper seeds, I made a  stab with my trowel into the next section of dirt.

And something wiggled in the dirt. I jumped back and started screaming like a school girl.  I had no idea what I had hit with the trowel.  A snake. A big poisonous scary worm.  Didn’t think it would be/could be a frog. (I’ve never seen a frog in our yard. Ever!).

Scream like a school girl I did and Steve came running out to see what all the fuss was about.

“There’s something wiggling in the garden. Go see what it is!”

“Oh, it’s just a harmless little frog.”

“A frog. You know how I hate frogs.”

A little background for you.

For six years of my adult life, I lived in the Dominican Republic.  I loved the DR. I loved the simplicity. I loved my ministry there.  I loved those I worked with, and those I taught.

One little thing I didn’t love…the SUCKY FROGS.

There were these little pale green frogs that sucked to the wall. And could HOP like none other I’d ever seen.  They were a little slimy and the secretions from their skin were poisonous.  So needless to say, I developed a little fear.  That turned into a bigger fear with each passing day.  Anytime I saw a SUCKY FROG, I verged on hyperventilation and came as close to an anxiety attack as I’ve ever been in my life. (Even typing this makes my heart race, and I’m thousands of miles from the nearest SUCKY FROG.)

So let’s talk about the HOPPING part.  They could hop from one side of the room to another.  They could hop from the floor to the ceiling.  They could HOP into my hair. And get stuck.

That is the real issue.  You see, I have a lot of hair.  It’s thick and it’s very full.  Growing up in South Texas, I developed what was then a healthy fear of cockroaches flying into my hair and getting stuck.  And then I would have to touch the roach.  And then I would vomit.  Neither of which I was really a fan of doing.

So my healthy fear of cockroaches flying into my hair and getting stuck turned into an unhealthy fear of SUCKY FROGS getting stuck in my hair in the Dominican Republic.

One time when I was still single, I was in my room, when I came across a SUCKY FROG in my bathroom.  I closed the door right away and stuffed a towel at the base of the door so that it couldn’t wiggle out underneath the door.  I then ran to the phone to call Steve, my soon to be Knight in Shining Sucky Frog Armor (we were engaged at the time).  He was clear across town and not in a position to come rescue me.  So I had to do this one on my own.

But I couldn’t do it.  All I had to do was open the door and encourage it to come out and hop out of my room.  But I couldn’t.

So I called one of my roommates to come help.  She bravely opened the door and used a broom to encourage it to hop out of the bathroom.  It did. And now it was high up on the wall in my bedroom and needed a few more hops to get out the bedroom door.  She went at it with the broom again.  And guess what happened.

IT HOPPED INTO HER HAIR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I wanted to vomit.  I almost did.

It was in HER hair and I wanted to vomit because it was almost like it had hopped in my hair.

Oh, but she was SO BRAVE. She let out a shriek. A big shriek. The other roommates came running. She batted it out of her hair. I almost vomited again. It hopped out of my room.

Palpable fear. Y’all.

(My heart is still racing as I type.)

Once Steve and I were married, I had a big strong husband who wasn’t afraid of sucky frogs, and who could get rid of them anytime they showed up.  And that he did.  He was my Knight in Shining SUCKY FROG Armor once and for all.

He was so brave.  And protected me from my fears.

Or so I thought!

Fast forward a few years…to this past week.  And we find this little friend in the garden.

Ready for a showdown. Ready to protect his home.

Or not.

Get off my sprouts little dude.

He had no care for my garden. None at all.  And he needed to be removed.

See.  Sitting square on my greens sprouts.  Not cool dude!

So my Knight in Shining SUCKY FROG Armor comes to the rescue, encouraging the little thing to hop on out of the garden so he can scoop it up and get rid of it.

(Insert school girl scream here. And there. And every 3 seconds. Because I was afraid that the frog I had stabbed and probably wounded would hop up from the ground into my hair.  That’s almost 6 feet folks.)

(Completely irrational. I know!)

It hopped out of the garden fence and my Knight in Shining SUCKY FROG Armor scooped him up.

With fear and trembling in my voice, I asked my Knight to bring the frog a little closer so I could snap a shot of the first garden critter.

He teased. (Knowing full well my fear of frogs. And hopping. And roaches. And hair.)

He started to “toss” the frog my direction as I tried to snap a shot.

He teased some more.

He started to chase me with the frog. And remember the frog is now totally within “HOPPING DISTANCE” of my hair.

I screamed. I shrieked. I ran.

My Knight. My Knight in Shining GARDEN FROG Armor was chasing me. With said garden frog. Within HOPPING DISTANCE.

I screamed some more. I shrieked a little louder.

I ran. In fear.

He ran faster. I ran faster.

At this point, I am in a full sprint around the side of the house, screaming and laughing at the same time.  Almost in tears.  (An interesting emotional state, really.)

But as soon as I stopped and turned around and began YELLING at my KNIGHT…(Who, you should all know, has been DE-Knighted.)

He stopped. It was then he knew.

See the look on his face.  He knew we was in trouble.

(Insert call to the marriage counselor here.)

No really, we worked it out. We’re cool.

And I still love my Knight in Shining Armor.

(But next time there’s a frog in the garden, I’m calling Animal Control. They won’t chase after me with the frog!)

Deep breath.

OK, back to the garden…

The Arugula, Red Cabbage, Greens and Spinach sprouts have all grown their “second leaves.”

And the other plants are happy in their new homes.

And here is how we it all looks today.

We just LOVE hearing what’s happening in your garden each week!!! Or what little critters you may have encountered in your garden! Or any irrational fears you may have for that matter!

Whether it’s small harvest, or a large one, we wanna know! Feel free to link up your blog post below…or leave an update in the comments!!!

{ 71 comments… read them below or add one }

cheryl April 26, 2010 at 11:13 am

I would have had a stroke. My 13 year old takes care of all bugs and creatures for me. Gives my the willies.

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DeAna April 26, 2010 at 11:22 am

As scared as I know you were, frogs and toads are EXCELLENT for your garden! They help take care of bad bugs that want to destroy your plants.

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Sandra April 26, 2010 at 1:03 pm

LOL that story is so funny! You aren’t the only one with a husband like that though. My husband did that last year! I can’t stand frogs either!

You do have a nice garden though. My husband was too sick to help me dig the garden this year, so I hope to get one of those topside gardens to plant winter veggies. I LOVED the tomatoes I got last year. It was our first garden, so only the tomatoes really grew.

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Heather April 26, 2010 at 1:05 pm

I can totally understand your fear after the the whole incident in the DR with those crazy frogs, but I have to say- that was hilarious -I laughed so hard reading this- my eyes were watering :)

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Kerry D. April 26, 2010 at 3:36 pm

Love the frog story. Yes, of course it’s completely reasonable to be in dire fear of having a sucky frog land in your hair, no matter where you are on the planet. Me too. I know what you mean. ;)

And your garden is lovely too.

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Kristin April 26, 2010 at 5:30 pm

Masking Tape! I love it!

Another question for you. Can you tell me how you constructed your fence? Are you able to easily remove it to work in there?

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Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom April 26, 2010 at 6:01 pm

@Kristin,

It’s just wire wrapped around a few tall metal stakes. I can step over it easily. It doesn’t “open” or have a door.

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Amy April 27, 2010 at 8:45 am

Are you really saving money by gardening?

http://freakonomics.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/06/09/do-we-really-need-a-few-billion-locavores/

I almost started a tomato planter – but both my husband & I work full time & neither one of us would enjoy the “tending” & in the end there is no guarantee on return – the Northeast had a tomato blight last year…

I also have to wonder about the time that is put into couponing… My grandmother was a master at it, but she also did not work outside the house – so going to several stores with her ads & coupons at the ready did not add the burden of added time (gasoline) that it would to a full time worker. Sadly, I just threw out a coupon for a free loaf of bread at Target (a store in which I shop fairly regularly) because I did not get to that store while running errands.

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Kris April 27, 2010 at 12:42 pm

I think that was actually a toad. :) Toads eat mosqitoes so they are very welcome at my house where the west nile virus has been an issue in past years.

I love your lasagne pot, I have a large pot and was contemplating what to plant in it this year. Now I know. :)

Thanks for the entertaining story. LOL

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Karin H April 27, 2010 at 12:58 pm

I actually need help…

I live in Palm Springs, Ca….and yes we have lots of sun, but I have no dirt to grow things in on my patio…I can get containers, but what do I fill them with? What kind of potting mix do I use? And what best grows in our kind of climate? Before I go to buy stuff at Lowes, I want to know my stuff so I become an informed shopper instead of the chance for massive upsells…are seeds or plants my best bet?

Thanks for your guidance,
Karin

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Heather's in her Mothermode again April 27, 2010 at 1:18 pm

What a write-up! My boy at two used to mock his grandmother by constantly saying ‘ikes!’ and laughing after hearing her ‘yikes!’ at a frog in HER garden!

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Alta April 28, 2010 at 7:21 am

You are too funny. I didn’t realize you were a Texas girl – I knew there was something I liked about you! :) As for the frog incidents, I would be able to handle a frog in the garden. It’s those gigantic spiders that I worry about. We had some wolf spiders in our yard when we first moved in – you know, the gigantic ones that RUN! We’d open up the door to let the dogs out, and they’d often run in – much to my shrieking. It’s actually a blessing in disguise – my “knight” grew tired of killing multiple spiders every evening with this situation and so I grew a bit more tolerant – meaning I was able to kill them with my shoe. But I totally get that irrational fear – if I didn’t see it die, I would be afraid it would totally “get” me when I wasn’t looking!

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Beth in Ohio April 28, 2010 at 10:06 am

@Alta, My phobia is with spiders. I want to start my first SFG, and I shiver just thinking about the spiders that might decide to check it out while I’m tending it!

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Samantha May 4, 2010 at 5:57 pm

LOL. That was a great story!

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Carol Blevins May 23, 2010 at 11:31 am

Toads are very beneficial for your garden. They eat anything that may feast on your plants. Those little ‘tree frogs” you call Sucky: they are delightful and so fragile, soft. Phobia are constricting to the enjoyment and education of life. There is a remedy for phobia when you wish; ah, the freedom I felt losing my fear of parrots!

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Karen Hiebert June 7, 2011 at 4:41 pm

i don’t MIND getting rid of little things(i.e. flies) but I HATE bigger ones-spiders etc. but I figure if they are not going to bother me Im not going to bother them. plus we have geckos that are supposed to do that. and THOSE look nicer than a hairy spider(ew)

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Amy June 7, 2011 at 6:48 pm

Beautiful garden. I didnt read all the comments so this may have already been pointed out but you can plant the peat pots. You dont have to remove the seedlings.

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Diana Vance August 17, 2011 at 11:38 am

I cannot believe I have FINALLY found someone else who has a fear of frogs! I am paralyzingly afraid of the vile hoppy things. I’m a Master Gardener, for pity’s sake!And we live on a FARM! I know they can’t hurt me, but it’s a deep seated thing. I scream, frozen in place. My husband and children are so well trained; they come flying to remove them. They tell me my “frog scream” is completely different than any other sound I’ve ever made. I just can’t stand the ‘Hop” not knowing where they are going to land. *body shudder*

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