So do you remember the barren piece of dirt from the garden plot from my last post?
I went to work on it like a crazed garden lady, and by June I had conquered some of the hurdles and seed was in the ground. I also managed to plant a few things, like tomatoes, cucumbers, beans and peppers.
Day after day during the drought, I showed up. I dragged gallon after gallon of water onto the tomatoes the lettuces, the kales, the flowers.
I weeded. I got out the hula hoe and I worked it, baby.
Here is what I managed to eke out of it by mid-June.
I harvested young lettuces, and kale. Delicious.
Then the rains came. And came. And came. A small pond formed in the garden at one end. Rivers flowed from the tomatoes to the dahlias on down to the peppers and just kept flowing.
I couldn’t walk in the garden even a little. My shoes sank down into squishy mud, and I could barely pull them out. If I managed to pull out a weed, it took out a pound of dirt with it. The waters didn’t recede, but I did.
I’ll give it a couple of days, I thought.
In the meantime, I started feeling pain on the ball of my right foot. It felt like a balled up sock was there. I had to stop walking on it. I started to see doctors…what’s happening with my foot? Well, they said…could be overuse, could be neuroma. Try rest.
So while the garden dried out, I rested my quirky foot. On a day when it didn’t feel too bad, I ventured back to the plot.
Wait. This is not my nice little plot. This is some overgrown parcel of wildness with random plants. I made a feeble attempt to catch up on the madness.
Now let me just say that while the weeds are taking over, and Mother Earth is returning this site to its natural meadowland, I am getting an astounding amount of harvest. Despite the chaos, every day, I am able to harvest at least a pint of cherry tomatoes. (They are in the far left in the back) The zinnias, by the way, are prolific. They are producing like nobody’s business, and tolerated both drought and biblical flooding without the tiniest interruption in growth.
The dahlias (one shown above) on the other hand, are like precious fragile blown glass figurines. They wilt when it’s hot. They rot when they sit in moist soil around the tubers. They take forever to start growing and bloom late in the season. And mine? I have no idea if they will ever bloom. But for now, they are still alive. The grass growing in there? I can’t pull it, because if I do, the whole tuber will come up. Sigh.
All is not lost. My peppers and beans, tomatoes and cucumbers are producing well, despite my ping-ponging from doting obsession to negligence.
The cosmos and asters are happy as can be. They don’t seem to mind competition from weeds and grass.
A volunteer tomato plant appeared in the back and seems to be happily producing with no encouragement whatsoever. Same for some sort of weed that looks like it might produce either sunflowers or some sort of puffy seed pod.
Someone on social media was lamenting that they worked hard all season only to harvest 5 peas. Someone else recommended “The $64 Tomato: How One Man Nearly Lost His Sanity, Spent a Fortune, and Endured an Existential Crisis in the Quest for the Perfect Garden.”
I can relate.
Still. The first bite of that homegrown tomato was worth it all. The green beans…simply boiled, were the stuff of heaven. I had forgotten what food is supposed to taste like. Fresh green peppers? Like candy.
If I try this again next year, I’m going to simplify. I really wanted cut flowers. Gonna have to stay with zinnias and cosmos.
Vegetables? Tried and true. Tomatoes, green beans, peppers.
And me? I’m getting too old for this.
But I’m not giving up.