July 27, 2013
What’s going on in my garden, so far this year, seems to echo what’s going on in the wider world. Everything that survived the ravenous rabbits seems to be just sort of hanging in there.
The trash can potato garden produced a couple of pounds of potatoes of decent eating size and enough tiny potatoes to plant a couple of short rows in the part of the garden where I dug up the onions, in hopes of getting one more good batch of potatoes before the first hard frost in mid October.
The pole beans and cucumbers have finally begun to flower and produce, as have the tomatoes and peppers I salvaged from the rabbits. It seems very late in the growing season for that, but it has been such an odd season – with several weeks in the mid to upper nineties and no rain interspersed with a week in the mid eighties and rain. This past week has been one of the cool weeks and yesterday we had a little gulley-washer that lasted the better part of an hour and knocked out the electric for a couple of hours here on our block.
The grapes are coming along, though they don’t seem quite as productive as last year. The rhubarb never came back from the assault by the digging dogs. The corn is up about four feet high and has begun to produce pollen stalks. No sign of the squash, okra or melons. And no sign of the melon-eating skunk, this year. I must confess, I rather miss waking up to its lingering odor on the morning air and knowing that life proceeds apace outside the watchful eyes of the Empire. Maybe the dogs finally scared it out of its routine, or it decided a garden without melons is just not worth the trip. Maybe it died and went to whatever skunk after-life may exist out there. (May there be sweet, ripe melons there. Amen.)
We were expecting an invasion of Japanese beetles. That did not occur, although I did notice a couple of lacy leaves on the pole beans. Perhaps the inconsistent weather disrupted their cycle, too.
What will come of this sluggish activity remains to be seen. But next week – another cool week with intermittent rain – I’ll get out there to turn over the empty spaces and plant the beets, carrots, lettuce, spinach and cabbage for fall in hopes of eking out a few more veggies to store for the winter.
And by the end of August, I want to start some tomato and pepper seeds to transplant into the earth boxes for my indoor garden, this winter. Yes, it will be the fifth try at it, with the last four being unsuccessful, but what else do I have to spend my time on while the world is in this interminable holding pattern?
Sometime in the next month or two, the downstairs tenant will move into his own house and I will move into the downstairs apartment (much to my son’s relief). Although the two flights of stairs to get out to the yard don’t bother me in cool weather, they are a bit much in the summer heat and the outside flight poses an increasing threat in the winter.
I will miss that extra exercise, but with age, hopefully, comes the wisdom to pick your battles. With easier access to the yard and garden, (three steps out the front door, three steps out the back) I’ll be able to work more in both the yard and garden – and there are always those pesky porches needing touch ups.
The big room in the back annex, where I’ve always stored my large gardening tools, has enough room to store the smaller gardening tools, the other household tools that currently take up room in my kitchen cabinets and, with both an east and a south window, room to expand my indoor gardening this winter. An equitable trade off, I think.
Life goes on, even in the midst of collapse. Like all things in nature, we take the risks of adapting or we run the risk of dying off. That’s what is going on in the wider world; that’s what is going on in my own life and that’s what is going on in my garden.