Greenest Thumb Entry: Megan's Accidental Garden

Greenest Thumb Entry: Megan's Accidental Garden

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Janel Laban
Jun 23, 2006
Welcome to Megan who sent in photos of her garden that she didn't really intend to grow - she was just after some decent tomatoes! "I didn't start out wanting a "garden." I wanted tomatoes. I don't know who's in charge of growing tomatoes nowadays, but the ones in the store consistently suck, even the ones from Whole Foods - mealy and tasteless, all of them." The whole story and more pictures are below the jump. Check it all out before casting your vote...

"My tomato experient of 2005 ended poorly, with 3 out of 5 plants dying, slumped over the edge of their faux terra cotta pots. The other two plants grew so leggy and tall and hardly produced any fruit. It was a sad sight all around, but I chalked it up to bad luck. I consulted with some "experts" (parents), and they muttered something about plants "needing sun." Apparently, the large trees and surrounding buildings only allow my 10 sq. foot porch about 3 hours of directly sunlight a day. Stupid sun hogs...

Spring of 2006 founding me slighty leary of vegetable gardening on my porch, but not desperate enough to acquiesce to buying flowers. They die at the end of the season. I don't get it. I want a plant that will Yield Things - practical Things that I Can Eat. So, I loaded up my cart with tomato plants and herbs. Enough with this "sun" they keep talking about. I'm going to grow me some edibles. I admit, as a plan B, I did sulk over into the section marked "shade-loving plants," and threw 2 impatiens and 2 ivy things into the cart. Whatever.

In the end, I was having flashbacks to the bad fortune of last season, and something fortunate arose. I was able to get a half bed at a community garden at Chicago & Larrabee. Nice folks provided a home for 4 tomato plants and four brussel sprouts (before you say "ew," try them roasted. You will eat them like candy). Built on top of old tennis courts, the gardens get nothing but full-on sun.

So, my little porch ended up this year with herbs that are struggling their way along and the flowers, which I'm warming to. Not to give up entirely, I still have a tomato plant in a hanging basket that is the most gangly thing you've ever seen. But it already has two budding tomatoes, which will leave me feeling entirely vindicated because I'm confident they will beat anything I could get in a store." Thanks Megan. We are happy you entered and wish you the most delicious tomatoes in town! If Megan's garden inspires you, motivates you, or reminds you how green your thumbs actually are, then send us your entry! We are looking forward to seeing all of your Chicago gardens. Deadline for entries is 6pm, Monday June 26.

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