Remember way back in the beginning of gardening season when I showed you my garden and said it’s good to spend a few minutes in it each day? Yeah, well I’m going to be blunt and tell you that I didn’t follow my own advice this year.
Last year it was so easy because I constantly needed to be out there to water it. While watering, it was so simple to harvest what was ready, be vigilant with weeds, and just keep tabs on everything. This year, much like the Milli Vanilli song, I “blame it on the rain.” (Oh yes, I did just reference Milli Vanilli.)
This summer it rained so much, that unless I had another motive to check on my veg, I wouldn’t even venture out to my garden. I didn’t water it at all besides right at the beginning when I put in my transplants. Seriously…not one time!
All the rain also meant more weeds and plants that grew out of control. I laid down old coffee bean sacks between the rows as weed control and the little buggers just grew right through them. My tomato plants grew so tall and heavy, they toppled the rabbit fencing they are attached to. When the rain ceased, the mosquitos were so vicious I could only run out and finish what needed to be done in short bursts.
I had so much stuff I would give it away when I would go down to roller derby meetings and practices. I gave some away at food swaps and also to my neighbors. I even tried to sell some from a card table set out on my front lawn. One lady stopped and paid me $7! It was fantastic.
Even after Irene blew through, and the rains just kept on coming, the garden just kept on producing. It’s kind of amazing actually. I love that if you set the conditions right, nature chugs right along, doing what it wants to do, with no human help.
I will say though, that in the past few weeks, things are looking more bleak out there. Certain plants are looking pretty pathetic. The tomato plants are truly a depressing sight. Some of the stems and leaves are brown and crinkly, and even the red fruits that still hang have weird, leathery, brown spots on them. Everything has grown together like some giant tomato jungle that I may need a machete to get through.
Soon those plants will come down and go into the compost heap. I’ll also rip out the long-dead cucumber vines, and some of the neglected basil. Broccoli is soon to follow, then the green peppers. All that will be left are the radishes and greens that will do just fine with the cooler weather. I’m also hoping to get one last burst of late-planted peas.
Before the month is out garlic will go in. Before the snow I’ll put down seed for a cover crop. Chris is still working on our cold frame, which will go next to our house and be filled with winter greens.
It never ceases to amaze me, this garden schedule. Spring planning and seed starting seems so far away, but before I know it I’ll be mapping out next summer’s garden and flipping through seed catalogues.
Hopefully next summer just won’t be as damp.