Vegetable Patch: Put A Cork In It

My Mother’s Day gift finally got in the ground this weekend, thanks to a tireless crew of schleppers and gardeners.

I thought it looked a tad crowded, but the seedlings were so itty-bitty and I want lots and lots of vegetables.

It was almost the square-foot gardening the gurus at the Urban Oaks Seedling Sale suggested. I started fudging the calculations by not counting things like basil (the gardener said I could just tuck them in corners), zinnias and nasturtium (to keep bugs away from my veggies) and plants that will bear small fruits like mini-peppers or lollipop tomatoes (little fruit must mean little plants, right??).  Then, the kids (and the neighbor’s kids) started planting and we all got a bit carried away.

My neighbor Steve stopped by just as we were wrapping up. It was nearing eight p.m. and my family still needed to eat the dinner that was waiting for us inside (Trader Joe’s falafel to be warmed in the microwave, flatbreads and veggie fixings already chopped), so guess what I was NOT excited to hear from Steve (after a lot of niceties and offers to mind his own business)?

“You’ve got WAY too many plants here. You need like a third of these.”

I have seen Steve’s gardens the last two years and he is not a minimalist gardener.  If he thinks my garden is crowded, its practically Mumbai.

Steve guided me to the maximum my 4 by 8 raised beds could handle, kindly forcing me to make the hard choices of which plants got to stay (his advice: you can never have too much basil, minimize plants that are “one and done” like broccoli and get the herbs out of the beds).

I dug, I pulled, I thinned. As my writing teacher, Lary Bloom would say: “I killed my darlings.” The zucchini went into planters, the herbs to my flowerbed, the potatoes in a sack beside the garden.

At least my Lifehacker-inspired plant markers look cute.

We skewered our corks with bamboo skewers, available at most grocery stores.

Noah loved “planting” the corks.

Ahhh. A little Napa in Connecticut.

Who knows? Maybe I’ll grow wine bottles.

Many thanks to Love U Madly for the corks left over from Kim’s Cork Trivet.

Tune in later this week to see what I did with the rocks left over from Kim’s amazing Rock Runner, featured today on Love U Madly.

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  1. Emily Baffaro says:

    great minds think alike….I just put a cork in my garden this weekend 🙂

  2. bonnie says:

    I’m inspired…..I want a garden!

  3. Ali says:

    Great idea with the corks. Oh, and the garden too!

  4. Karen says:

    OMG!!! I am so sorry I am so late to the party with this post. I am laughing so hard Jodie. So well written and as “Farmer Steve” is my husband I know what a buzz kill it is when he comes in at the 9th hour when you are so tired you can not even speak with a useful suggestion!!! I am so glad it all went well. Hopefully your garden will grow well if not from all your hard work at least from love!!! xoxoxo

  5. At this time I am going to do my breakfast, once having my breakfast coming over again to read more

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  8. Brandon Dole says:

    cool idea!

    please take a look at my custom wine cork art:



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