Look, my mama’s garden is made of pure magic. (Pardon the photo overload, but its worth it, I promise)
Coming home from the jungle that it is, helped me see the possibilities in my own little (big) patch. The perennials around here are plentiful but very much untamed and the sketches and dreams are now in the works. Of course, my mothers expertise is greatly influencing, and her hard work even more so. Each time she comes up she spends time weeding and arranging and discussing grand plans with me, which I love so very much. I perused her magazines and she assisted me in my very first bulb order, which I can see them popping up through a long snow already. The boys and I trimmed back all we could see yesterday, hoping to make the spring clean up less intense when those little crocuses show their faces. I also trimmed back a shrub till it looked like a topiaried doctor suess tree, and it left me yelping for my mama to come back. These skills take time. Yes they do.
There is nothing quite like grandparents. Both for the mama’s and the papa’s and of course for the little ones around us.
Having help both there and then here is immensely refreshing and so very relazing, but after a few weeks out of our normal life, it feels good to be back to us.
The garden is over run with weeds, leaves are powdery mildew speckled, and well the whole of it is absolutely out of control. I have only stepped into the garden the last few weeks to attempt to snag out the beans and cucs and squash, or some herbs and such. There has been little to no actual “work”, and I expected that. I did. But, the dreaming for next year has begun already. I envision decking out the entire perimeter of the garden with pole beans and following suit with a circular set up for the rest. And because we desperately need to fell some trees to allow some more sunshine in, I am thinking of placing some of the more sun thirsty of the vegetables, and the more space consuming ones too… (for example the pumpkins that are literally dripping form our fence) in the pasture below. But for now, it is neat to watch things going to seed, looking like Dr. Suess illustrations, and its wonderful to see the excitement on the boys faces when I tell them to go harvest ALL THE THINGS! Those purple cosmic carrots they have carted in, dragging dirt all over the place, have made some pretty out of this world soup too let me tell you… (oh please laugh at my lame pun). And the boys eat it like its ice cream, so that alone is worth the work.
The only real task we have accomplished is to harvest and ferment all the cabbage then replace it with some late crop lettuce and spinach. When the little sprouts showed their squiggly faces the excitement of spring jumped all around me again. There is something very magical about seeing seeds turn into plants.
Oh the garden… it is hard to believe I am figuring out the proper way to close up shop already. The nights and mornings have dipped into the forties, we have been hunting down wood through out the forest to drag up to the woodpile, and I even had to take out socks to warm my little boys toes this morning… autumn is surely approaching. How is your garden?
Gaggles of cucumbers, beans (of the rattlesnake pole and purple bushing varieties), sweet pea flowers, yellow patty pan squash, a mountain of purple cabbage, a few measly zucchini, a handful of daikon radish, and herbs out my ears… yes indeed, it turns out our garden produced after all. While surely next year with the addition of some compost and minus a few trees giving half the garden far too much shade we will see even more yield, we can all say with pride that our garden was successful and made us quite happy for our first year. Though it is stacked high with weeds, the pumpkin, zucchini and butternut squash are so tangled I can’t tell one from the other, and both successions of my radishes were attacked by nasty maggots, over all there were more successes than failures.
My boys and I planted some lettuce and spinach this morning. Hopefully there will be enough time for them to thrive before the days get too cool. The mornings lately have given us a reminder that fall is indeed nigh. So grow you little greens, give us one last taste of summer!
The rain has been consistent since last night. Consistently dripping, at times pouring, but mostly misting, keeping the air very heavy and wet. I am quite sure this is just the weather vegetable plants adore. Pregnant women on the other hand? Well, we have to take solace in the idea that this weather produces delicious meals to satisfy us because surely, surely, wading through our kitchen to pour a cup of coffee is not ideal.
We pulled our first zucchini from the garden yesterday. It was short, sweet, smooth, and crunchy. I can’t help but be reminded this time of year that all this, (minus our tomatoes and brocolli), started off in egg cartons when the ground was still frozen and the air was crisp and dry. I don’t miss those days right now, despite my previous thoughts. The most magical piece of art in our garden, and the most spectacularly grown in size, must be the cabbage. It looks like a giant purple rose to me, baffling me with the fact that her seeds were no bigger than a poppy seed at the start. I truly look forward to those thick leaves being tamped down into some jars to be fermented and stored for the winter. I had to pull up a few dozen watermelon radishes this week, handing them over to a neighbors piglets to enjoy, for they were stunted and nawed on by some sort of maggot or worm. I started a new, this time with french radishes, the little two toned oval-shaped classics that you can envision with butter, or on a tray of fresh raw vegetables. I hope this comes to fruition. I have heard the worm bothering me so is a springtime pest so I shouldn’t have to worry for the rest of the growing season.
In the land surrounding my beautiful fence built with love everything is coming together as well. Black raspberries have blackened, the juiciest star cherries off of our newly discovered cherry tree have dripped down our chins, at least the ones the birds havent carried away, and little apples are beginning their life way up our of our reach. Everything is thick and thorny and damp and mysterious. We spend a lot of time just wandering. Slowly mind you, but when you are 3 or 4, slowly is preferable anyways. So we get along just fine most of the time. Yesterday, one of these slow stops allowed us to investigate a flitting bird traveling in and out of a brambly berry bush. It was a lovely find. Piles of ripened berries are always toted around but mostly enjoyed at the time of picking. So many interesting insects are plucked up and thoroughly examined.
This is a lively, lively time of year.
Brocoli greens, baby kale, lettuces, scallions, and the occasional radish thrown in for good measure; That is what I am taking out of the garden right now. While I am surely reminded every Wednesday afternoon when picking up my CSA share what an amateur I am, my garden still looks big and full and lively to me. This is what I dreamed of those early days in May when we tilled the land and charted out our agenda. And if all goes well our baskets will be filling with more produce in the near future. I decided I had enough of hilling potatoes, I am just far too big and tired and hot and clumsy for all that shoveling, and am going to pile it with some hay sometime this week. But otherwise things are looking up!
The perennial beds are stunning these days too. Overgrown and out of control though they are, there is proof in their abundance with the constant supply of color in every corner of our house. But thanks to those same visitors mentioned above, I have a very, very good feeling there will lots of welcomed assitance and guidance in the arrangement of said beds over the next few days. I am starting the drying process of what I can gather up. Yarrow and bee balm and whatever else weaves its way out of this jungle is being strung and dried. I need to clear a spot in the basement that will keep them crisp and colorful until the job is done. I’d like to savor some of this beauty in the stark days of winter.
It is a breezy, beautiful day. I am so excited for it! We have some of our favorite visitors arriving this afternoon, and my dear, dear friend is welcoming her sweet baby into this world this morning… It will be odd to be pregnant without her! With my knitting hands in full force, an eerily clean house, and the sunshine on my cheeks nothing can get in my way. Today will be grand.