Market Matters Blog
Katie Micik DTN Markets Editor

Wednesday 05/28/14

How Does Your Garden Grow?

The closest I've ever been to being a farmer is a 13' x 7' garden plot in my back yard. Up until three years ago, I'd never attempted to grow edible plants. My mother was always into flowers -- roses and impatiens in particular -- and I started growing houseplants in college. One of them is still alive eight years later. I'm proud of that.

I'm even more proud of my vegetables. The perils of raising an edible crop, whether it's feed corn or cherry tomatoes, make the harvest more rewarding. I may be a newbie vegetable gardener, but 2012 showed me how tomatoes react to drought and searing heat. In 2013, I fought the Battle of the Squash Bug, and lost. I face a constant marketing challenge: how do I convince the picky eater at home to help me eat it all before it spoils?

I know my garden concerns pale in comparison to the scale of these issues on the modern American farm. Regardless of the scale, the farmer and gardener worry about the same things. Will Mother Nature do the watering for me? Will another pest eat my veggies for lunch? How will I ever control that darn velvetleaf weed?

So far my growing season is off to a good start. Broccoli is just starting to put on crowns. Lettuces are finally large enough to pick. My onions will bloom soon. The tomatoes and peppers seem to like their new homes, especially the habanero. The basil battered by the Mother's Day tornado is standing up tall and putting on new leaves.

I spent much of the holiday weekend weeding and mulching my garden, but like a good Midwesterner, I made plenty of time for the barbeques. One of my friends' children is into nursery rhymes at the moment, and asked me which rhyme I liked most. I said:

Katie, Katie, what a daisy,

How does your garden grow?

With fertile soil, and lots of toil,

And gentle rains all in a row.

She promptly reminded me that's not how it goes, so I gave her bubbles and sent her away to play with the other kids. She's not quite old enough for wordplay, I guess.

So tell me, how does your garden grow? Is your corn in the ground? Standing yet? Has it overcome this year's cool, damp start? What about your soybeans? Have any emerged yet? What's your biggest concern about this growing season?

Posted at 12:28PM CDT 05/28/14 by Katie Micik
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