An inaugural year but not enough to yet designate me a gardener. I planted a garden. Initially I planted seeds. I was ambitious or rather, I planned for contingencies. I planned for a sizable percentage of failure. Instead, everything sprouted and I was looking at having enough seedlings for a acre garden.
I didn’t plan for a hard freeze killing everything.
Predictably, I restarted and replanted but I only had the lesser preferred seeds. I planted things too close and the crowding led to pests. I didn’t spray for the pests quickly enough and so I lost much of what grew to aphids. Then the rains started and I lost much to cracking and splitting. The white cucumbers were prolific but I lost all the green miniature cukes. I made lime pickles with what I grew and they’re tasty.
I planted calliope eggplants and I’ve had a nice outcome. They’re still producing. Next year I think six plants will be enough. I even ate the eggplant, which was a first. I’ve always declined eggplant because of the texture, but finely chopped baby eggplants are indiscernible when added to spaghetti sauce. As I watch and learn from the local gardeners, they are all pulling down their gardens. I still have tons of tomatoes on my bushes, so I delay. But, thoughts shift to the fall and what and when I should start seeds for the fall. What can I grow? I should get my soil tested and see what amendments need to be made.
I’ll fertilize the fruit trees and wait to see if the figs yield enough for a small batch of pure Biddan Ridge jam. I am thinking mostly about flowers and my bees. What flowers shall I plant and where so as to maximize their happiness and honey production? They seem to like the cosmos, zinnias and the oregano that has bolted. I want to trim it back, but the bees and butterflies are having a hay day. I have two large seed packets of dill, which I’ll plant just to please the swallowtail caterpillars. And I’ll spend the off season relocating and trying to domesticate the blackberry volunteers that keep returning to my flower bed around the river birches. I promised to ship some of my blackberries to a friend in Texas so she can give them a try in her yard. She has a much greener thumb than I have; I’m sure she’ll do well. I must admit that summer gardening is hard due to the heat. I weeded a flower bed this morning between 9 and 12 in full shade and I sweat like a prize fighter. But the bed is cleared and the irrigation fixed and all the drip lines are functioning. All that’s left to deep weed is the back daylily bed and the river birches. I’ll tackle them this week while I am off. Keep the body busy to keep the mind distracted.