Garden of Sadness

There are two things I’m working on in my life. (Okay, there are more than two things. But these are the most important things.)
First, I’m working on my back squat form. Currently, I’m stuck in what I call a “stripper dancer back squat,” which is not something I feel comfortable trying to illustrate with a photo; so I’ll call it my “stretching kitten” back squat so you can better visualize the problem.

Rather than driving up through my heels and lifting as one bodily unit, all hinges operating in synch, I tend to first slightly elevate the booty and then kind of ratchet the rest of my upper body into place as I ascend with the bar. It’s subtle, but it’s also stupid, and it needs to be fixed.
(It doesn’t “need fixed.” It needs to be fixed. Your clothes don’t “need washed;” they need to be washed. My lawn doesn’t “need mowed;” it needs to be mowed.)
The second thing I’m working on is our family garden. And by “working on,” I mean “sucking at.” We planted a range of heirloom veggies – some from seedlings, some directly planted – and, if you’d like to know just how it’s all going, I shall refer you back to my post title.
So far, I’ve gotten one salad’s worth of arugula (that was weeks back) and…this tiny little beet. The avocado is for size comparison.

I’ll have you know that I carefully peeled, sliced, and ate that tiny thumb-sized beet. It was delicious. I savored it. And then I googled “Viagra for Vegetables,” because my garden is in dire need of some enhancement. (Know what popped up?* Monsanto. Just kidding.)
I’ll keep working until I get this garden thing right, but this is yet another reminder that vegetables are almost an extravagance. The produce section at Whole Foods and the local Farm Market are most definitely luxuries. If we wanted to feed ourselves all by ourselves, I can’t imagine most of us could do it effectively on plants alone, both because gardens are difficult and vegetables aren’t calorie-dense.
Yet I imagine it’d be fairly hard to screw up a cow on grass, and it’d provide far more calories. (Especially if you made long-term use of it by drinking its milk instead of slaughtering it for the meat. But that’s a whole ‘nother can o’ non-Paleo worms.) No, my assertions aren’t fully developed. But I have a hunch.
By the way – I wrote a little about dairy in this post.
At this point, I think my (garden) problem is threefold: lack of bees to pollinate my Garden of Sadness, a pronounced green thumb deficiency, and perhaps nutrient-poor backyard soil. Anybody want to come over and fix me my garden?
*Bad male enhancement joke.

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23 Responses

  1. Chicken poo. Or rabbit poo. Chicken poo needs to be cured so it doesn’t burn your plants. But rabbit poo can drop directly from the rabbit onto your garden and you are good to go. (YMMV.)
    Have you looked at companion planting. Some plants don’t do well in bed together and some thrive on being bed buddies. Carrots Love Tomatoes is the one book I know.
    Keep on keepin’ on with the garden. You will get the hang of it. 😀

  2. “(It doesn’t “need fixed.” It needs to be fixed. Your clothes don’t “need washed;” they need to be washed. My lawn doesn’t “need mowed;” it needs to be mowed.)”
    YES. That phrasing drives me crazy, too. 🙂

    1. You should try living at my house – you would be certifiable! My husband and in-laws are from Kansas and everything ‘needs’ you-fill-in-the-blank! As a former English teacher, I cringe frequently but keep my mouth shut to preserve the peace! lol They also don’t have ‘Highway 10’… they have ’10 Highway’ – weird, I know!

  3. If I understand the back-squat problem, I have had sort of the same thing going on. When it got heavy, I wasn’t staying upright enough on the ascent out of Squatville. But (butt?)…. enter Greg Everett, who recently answered a question about this very topic on the other Lobo-related podcast and said that the way to get your back squat more upright is to do more front squats for a while and then return to the back squat later. I did this, and, while I am not yet any sort of Squatville royalty, it has helped immensely with getting me more upright on both squats. My back squat now feels strong and steady, as opposed to sort of strong and sort of about to pitch forward in an embarrassing crushing motion. Your mileage may vary, but you may wanna give it a shot.

  4. I am on my third year of attempted gardening so I understand the situation. This year we prepared the soil a little better but i squeezed too many plants into a small area. Who knew tomato plants got so big?!

  5. [MARKED AS SPAM BY ANTISPAM BEE | Server IP]
    while I am still trying to get the knack of this Paleo thang, gardening is the one thing that I do know about. The #1 thing is to have great, wonderfully nutrient dense soil. This means that you may need to add lots of things to your soil at first if it is hard and rocky. Compost, worms, manure from chickens or cows, maybe even a bit of sand to lighten it up. #2 Sun: most veggies don’t like the shade. Unless you have pretty much full sun, things won’t grow so well. #3 Water: veggies need consistent watering or things just don’t grow so well. Hand watering usually just doesn’t cut it. Most veggies like to be watered from below and not on top of their leaves.
    2 books I would recommend for the urban backyard gardener: All New Square Foot Gardening
    Great Garden Companions
    Good luck on your next harvest 🙂

  6. So very talented in the delivery of everything 🙂 I really enjoy reading your posts…now I want to plant a poorly performing garden and work on my squat form.
    Thanks for what you do!

  7. Compost, compost, compost. Build your soil up, be a “soil farmer” and by next year your garden could be putting out huge beets! The important thing is that you KEEP trying. Growing food is about a lot of trials and errors, and it has a hell of a learning curve. It always strikes me as ironic how hard it is to go back to the basics, like growing our own food.
    Don’t forget to that those beet greens are packed with nutrients… So you got more than a finger sized beet when you think about it!

  8. Your beet is not a failure in my book… we actually over-plant our beets and thin them when they are about this size. We scrub the baby beets (no need to peel) and wash their attached greens. Throw them all in a pot and let them cook. Very yummy!!!

  9. Liz,
    Your best bet in terms of raw caloric food production is a modified “Three sisters” plot, that includes some kind of tuber. That would be corn in the middle, with beans (nitrogen fixing) next to it using the stalk for support, and squash and sweet potatoes (providing nice ground cover) around and in-between adjacent plots as well.
    Still, with most farming the production/harvest cycle has to be excruciating, with all of your eggs in one basket so to speak. If you want quick turnover though, stuff like heirloom French Radishes are great. From seed to harvest in three weeks.
    I agree with the comments on compost, I use a worm composting bin and take the castings and mix with water in my water can. It’s like rocket fuel for plants.

    1. I’m so honored you stopped by, David, and took the time to make this comment! I am browsing a local heirloom seed house’s site for more information on the “three sisters” idea and how I can make it work and eke some success outta my little plot.

  10. Hi Liz. I’m a late-comer to this post, but I I can give you help on amending your garden soil if you want. composting is a lot easier than people think it is, and there are great results. And if you are worriied about lack of polinators around you, planting blue, purple, and red flowers will bring in butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds (minor pollinators), which will also leave a trail for bees, ants, and other major polinators to come in.

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