Hi all. What a lovely day for an infrequent blog post!
Since school's been out, my days are spent outside in the yard. Almost every morning I'm out there raking, pruning, weeding, and the hundred other things that one does when one enjoys this type of thing. Despite my efforts, however, the vegetable garden is not doing the best. Early on, I battled (and this is no exaggeration) thousands of elm tree seedlings which sprang up overnight in almost every square inch of my flower and vegetable gardens. I have pulled out them out by hand and still do not have them all.
Asparagus was a bust this year. What little grew, I ate, and most of it right out there in the garden. The green beans came up, but some sort of insect devoured the leaves and left stems. I pulled them out. The beets didn't come up very well, I have 5 beet plants. The garden table my brother made for me which was supposed to support early veggies like lettuce and spinach - hardly anything came up and what did was stunted and shriveled. I'm treating the tomatoes for fungus and the cucumbers for an insect infestation which has damaged lots of leaves.
My zucchini plant has all male flowers, so no zucchinis from it. From the internet which is *never* confusing, I learned that: It's because the soil is too dry. It's because the soil is too wet. It's because there's not enough sun. It's because the plant always produces males first, then females. Who knows.
On the upside - I have tiny yellow summer squash. Strawberries continue to produce, enough for me to eat some every day. The watermelon plants are doing ok, and I found a tiny tiny watermelon on one vine. I have enjoyed several grape tomatoes, and the pepper plants have produced. Early in the spring, the peas did pretty well. Potato plants did well and I'm getting ready to dig the rest of them up. The container corn is getting ready to stalk. One set of cucumber plants are flowering mightily.
The flower bed is looking pretty good. A volunteer mammoth sunflower came up and it is as tall as me now. My Peace Rose is steadily blooming. The shasta daisies are looking well, as are the other perennial daisies I planted.
I told someone the other day that I don't garden because it saves money. On the contrary, it costs me lots of time, energy, some cash, and frustration. But on the other hand, if I want to grow tomatoes and stand out in the yard and eat them right off the stalk, or sit in the yard swing and eat the strawberries I've just picked, or shell a pea pod and consume those 5 peas raw right out of the shell - I'd almost rather do that than anything in the world.
And here's how I know it's something I don't want to live without: I'm planning for next year. I'm going to plant a blackberry bramble along the fence and I'm going to try two rows of regular sized corn and see what happens. Also, I'm going to keep the second bale of straw that Jay brings over for me!
My puny little garden is not a showstopper, but it's mine and I derive great joy from the work and sweat it takes. My working gardening clothes are a white t shirt and a pair of shorts and I've got my hair pulled up in a ponytail - but who cares? A little dirt under the fingernails never hurt anyone.
The big joy was having my grandson discover a ripe strawberry growing there just for him! As he looked at me with one strawberry in each hand and juice running down his chin, this grandma was filled with a deep sense of peace and gratitude. The garden makes the world right, one fruit at a time.