By David Barry
Growing a backyard vegetable garden has turned out to be a little more work than I thought it would be.
Earlier this spring, two friends and I embarked on this endeavor with hopes of a bountiful harvest. We knew there would be some labor involved. You know, the usual: weeding, watering, etc. We greatly underestimated this.
So we plowed down about a half acre and planted our favorite vegetables, tomatoes, squash, zucchini, melons, peppers and a few other leafy treats. The plants, fertilizer and soil set us back about $200, but we thought it was no big deal, since we figured we get the money back in grocery savings. We thought we would sit back and watch the garden grow.
First, let me tell you about rabbits. Theses ridiculous rodents began munching on the new plants almost as soon as they were in the ground. I would go and check the garden each day only to find a new plant had fallen victim to the rabbits. So we chopped onions and garlic to spread around the garden after consulting the Web in a vain attempt to discourage the pests. This nearly cost me a finger thanks to a mishap with a kitchen knife.
How to fix the rabbit problem? I though some poison and a .22 would solve it. But my girlfriend and co-gardener protested, so I built a fence (another $100), but the rabbit problem was solved.
Now on to weeds.
Before planting I sowed the soil with a pre-emergent to stop weeds from growing. This worked to a degree, but it's still about an hour a day chore to keep the garden free of weeds.
After six weeks of labor and fighting nature's pests, the plants are blooming, and the first vegetables are appearing on the vines. It is a great feeling of accomplishment.
Last night, I enjoyed one of the first yellow squash the garden has produced. It was good, but I also had to think how much work and money went into producing it.
I look forward to a summer of homegrown fresh vegetables and would encourage anyone else in this pursuit. Just be prepared. There's a lot more to a garden than just planting some crops in the ground.