Thursday, September 13, 2012

Seeds from the slacker: End of summer

The garden didn't do all that I'd hoped it would do, but it did a lot of things I didn't expect. I should have planted more tomatoes and put up an electrified barbed-wire fence, dug a moat then filled it with piranhas to keep out the fucking deer (They got my peppers. Oh, yes they did --except, amusingly enough, the ghost peppers which can raise a blister on bare skin. I have pleasant dreams of the deer biting into one of those then doing elaborate ballet in the backyard, unable to quench the fire that is consuming their wicked tongues).

I am not a vindictive man. Seriously.

There were many failures. My eggplant never came in. It barely even tried. The zucchinis performed well then were wiped out by a creepy looking white grub that looked like something out of "Alien." I still managed to get plenty of them before that happened, however.

We will not discuss the okra again.

The watermelons came in late, while the pumpkins arrived so early. I'm still looking at different ways to use the latter and the kids who said they loved the watermelon won't eat it now.

And now, the garden is about done. The tomatoes wither and I do not think my peppers will last much longer. I planted a couple of things that are supposed to do well in cooler seasons, but I'm not optimistic I'll see any spinach or lettuce before the real cold sets in. I'm too late.
The main thing is, I think, was this year was a building year, a learning year. I knew, not a lot about gardening, and now I know a little more. I learned that you need to keep better track of where your plants are and what they are. I could have used the sun better, controlled the space, fertilized and watered with something like regularity.

Still, it was a good year to try something new and stick with it for once. In the past, I'd put in little gardens then given up on them because of distractions, boredom or just because the work seemed too arduous.

And while I didn't get as much food out of the garden as I wanted, the work bore fruit in other ways. It gave me something to do with my hands when I didn't know what I was supposed to do. It gave me a place to go, to meditate and focus my attention back to the world of the here and now and not whatever my current aggravation was.

The garden also gave me something to share with people. I made pumpkin butter, which delighted my son, and I brought it for my friends at work. I gave the 80-something man I work with at the radio station zucchini for he and his wife after he told me the stuff was big in Mexico. His wife is Mexican. I shared tomatoes and a few peppers and talked gardening with whoever would let me bend their ear.

It gave me something to share with my father and I loved that.

With my meager tomato supply, I made the best marinara sauce I've ever eaten and shared it with my girlfriend. I shared the joy of getting filthy dirty with the dog and we bonded over a mutual distrust of rabbits.

It has been a grand garden and already I can't wait to start all over again bigger and better in the hopes of making new mistakes. 

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