I had great plans for this year’s garden. I ordered seeds – far too many seeds but interesting things from placed like Seed Savers and Pinetree Seeds. I was so excited to have actual ground rather than just containers for my garden. Sure I would have to contend with lots of shade and lots of wild visitors (deer, squirrels, raccoons, opossums, woodchucks, rabbits, birds, etc.) but still I could have a proper garden.
I formulated an attractive plan in my mind and then reality took over. A combination of a cold wet spring, waiting on dirt, waiting on a mower to get the grass under control, the realization of how poor the existing soil was all combined for a very slow start to building the garden. In the meantime the cabbage, kale, broccoli, and other cool season crops I had started inside were in desperate need of permanent homes.
Not to be completely blocked, I pulled out the containers and planted lettuce and onion sets for green onions. I transplanted some of the kale seedlings into containers. I also showed a great lack of restraint and common sense and kept buying seedlings and herb plants.
Finally in early May, I managed to assemble two 4X5 square of raised beds though they lacked borders. Into one I starting tucking herbs and flower transplants. Into the second went kale and broccoli seedlings. In late April, I also started a long bed along the driveway where I essentially dropped seed potatoes onto the ground and covered them with dirt. A slow start but things seem to be headed in the right direction. Or so I thought.
In mid-May a call came to respond to a disaster relief operation in Kentucky. Thanks to friends most of my seedlings survived but when I arrived home two weeks later I was way behind again. Since then I have been plugging away at building beds and transplanting peppers, tomatoes, and herbs into larger and larger pots. As of mid-July I have finally made a “make do” home on the ground for most of those things. However, all the seeds for squash, beans, corn, cucumbers and other warm season and direct seeded crops are still right there in the packages.
Despite the failure on my part and the strange growing season (cold and wet early then a blistering week then back to cooler than normal but not as wet), the garden has given me tasty treats. Of course the lettuce, spinach, and green onion container crops are long finished but they were tasty during May and June. I have dug about half of the potatoes and though the crop is small as a result of not hilling them appropriately they have been tasty. The pepper plants are small but they are loaded. I look forward to comparing the different types I am growing. The tomatoes are just beginning to ripen. I picked the first one, a small Mexican Midget, this past week. The tomato vines have nearly buried most of the basil and pepper plants which keep growing happily beneath their thuggish neighbors. The dozen or so broccoli plants are coming to an end but have given me plenty of meals in the last month. The kale (all 8 kinds of it) is doing wonderfully. I hope to dry a good deal of it before I leave town again on Monday.
In the herb department, multiple kinds of basil, 4 kinds of sage (5 counting pineapple sage), several kinds of mint (in pots), lemon balm, borage, 4 kinds of thyme, 3 types of lavender, summer savory, chives, oregano, marjoram, rosemary, and more keep growing merrily. Only the parsley and cilantro have bolted or otherwise faded.
I am doing my best to enjoy and celebrate what is rather than beating myself up about what might have been. There is still time for some fall garden planting and gardeners must often say, there is always next year. In the meantime, I have enjoyed healthy and tasty food that I have grown myself supplemented by that grown by other local producers and learned some lessons to improve garden version 2010.