And really, that is how life feels, especially today, as the sun beats down, the wasps begin circling, mosquitoes whining in our ears, birds fighting in midair jays chasing away the loud crows squawking and crying out in fury, the air is full of heat and damp and earth and swirling pollen and after a few hours in the sweaty garden we retreat indoors, to iced coffee and potato salad and air conditioning, our bodies and spirits a little shell shocked after the winter we have endured.
It is summer. Well, not technically, but it is.
The garden is full of new things, popping up daily. We have nearly finished planting, digging a few new boxes in this year, spreading straw to try and help our sandy soil retain more moisture. Seeds planted now around the bean pole teepees, some sunflowers planted along the fence lines for color. A garden must be pretty. Its lots of work, and sure, the food is good, but while we wait a month to enjoy any kind of harvest (maybe a few weeks for some greens!) for now, its got to be a thing of beauty to behold, my requirement for all that work. Zinnias, sunflowers, nasturtiums and marigolds are my necessary garden flowers. I planted a few calendula too this year. Plus a giant gerber daisy right in the middle of the herb bed. Although I’m not sure if I like its placement or not, perhaps a little too ooo la la for my tastes.
We are doing things somewhat differently this year, trying to learn from our past mistakes, as one is supposed to do. I started by making a concerted effort to read plant directions on seed packets. As someone who rarely follows recipes and never sews with a pattern, this is a big deal for me. I’ve even asked about planting the seedlings as I buy them. The lady at the farmers market tells me, yea, you have to plant more than one squash, pumpkin, etc together in a mound, otherwise they won’t pollinate properly to produce fruit. Oh. Really? Huh. THAT might explain why I had beautiful vines last year, and NO SQUASH.
We’ve also planted the tomatoes all in the back of the garden, where they get he most sun, and I plan on dousing with an Epsom salt fertilizer soon. We also planted the watermelon as far away from the cucumber as possible (last year we had terrible tasting “cucumelon” because they cross-pollinate, apparently!) We laid down straw throughout the garden, between boxes, against the fence, hoping we will do less maintenance over the summer because of it.
And then, mostly, more. More onions dotted here and there, more squares of greens, more rows of beans around the teepees, more patches of carrots, more potatoes, more rows of corn in one big patch (last year we had a few scraggly plants in two long rows, yea, says a gardening friend, corn wont pollinate unless you have several rows together, IE, doesn’t everyone know that? Not this “country girl!”)
And so, we wait, and for now, we enjoy the green, the pollen, the bird squawks, the claps of thunder as a storm moves in, windows open to the rain, letting in the breeze at last.
Below is peppermint that survived the winter (hurrah!) we are BOTH brutal winter survivors!
this is cilantro that RESEEDED ITSELF. I was so impressed when I noticed!
Giant grapevine wattled fence potato bed. I’m rather proud of this one. Mad homesteader skillz, I tell you.
Garlic shoots!! Planted last fall! They survived our crazy -50 winter!
Parsnips that wintered over too!
Our newly doubled in size full sun tomato boxes.