Monday, November 22, 2010

The Harvest

Thoughts of Harvest

I am happy that my family did not have to rely on my garden’s harvest for Thanksgiving or for any meal for that matter. I will post a picture of what was surely one of the most pitiful returns for what seemed like a ton of labor or at least a ton of Black Cow manure and other bags of “good” garden soil.

I had many false starts with all of my plantings. I had to move my blueberry bushes because I planted them too early and didn’t realize that they would be shrouded by the surrounding trees after their leaves fully exposed themselves. After I moved them, some beasties found the dominant bush and ate all of the leaves off of just that one and not the other. I am not sure if the other bush felt relieved or offended that it was not worthy of the furry one’s meal. I had to shift the cucumbers I planted in pots but at least that was an easy move - even though it was ultimately not successful either. I had visions of them climbing up a trellis I have in the yard. It’s a good thing we have imaginations...

As the last of the frost finally faded into the arms of what had been a very cold winter for us I was eager to dig my bare hands into some soil and grow some delicious food. I bought a fine, untreated lumber, square garden corral. I painted it with linseed oil that I was supposed to be using in my oil painting and I wasn’t using it at all on painting so why not put it to great use preserving the garden’s woody walls? I staulked the sides and back of the house to find where I thought the sun would be the best. The perfect spot would be at the side of the house at the top of the hill next to the OF COURSE I didn’t put the garden there, I put it at the bottom of the hill where it was a bit less Clampety for the neighborhood and unfortunately a good bit more in shade. This and a few other factors would prove to be fatal mistakes.

I when to the garden store (lowe’s!) and hauled by myself three sacks of cow manure (do you know how heavy that stuff is??) and eight bags of soil. I schlepped the whole mess into my lined, linseeded, garden plot that was planted too much in the shade. I planted tomatoes, squash, peppers and carrots. I planted herbs in pots and shuffled them around until I found good spots for them. The purple basil was my best crop of the year. The down side of that is that I am the only one in my family that likes pesto!!

I had a tree trimmer come make a little more sunshine for me by giving one of our giants a long overdue limb cut. I watered. I swatted mosquitos. The sun shone. The earth shifted. I swatted more mosquitos. (I swear I fed the mosquitos heartily on a daily basis...) The squash and peppers and tomatoes bloomed and I was happy. But alas, the peppers did not come from the flowers. No squash came for the squashblossoms (who in the &!## can’t grow a zucchini??). Turns out we had no bees. Ah, that will really screw up a garden. I was not so happy. And the mosquitos kept biting as I kept trying to get something to happen. I guess if I ever do another garden (not blinkin’ likely...) I’ll have to have an apiary nearby or learn how to pollinate.

So, feast your eyes on the bountiless bounty of my labors. I did get a handful of tiny tomatoes that were tasty morsels, but I am not sure that made it all worth it. I guess it got me outside and taught me a few things:

I am more grateful than ever for the veggies in my house that someone else grew and grew so well, for the tired and labored hands that planted all of it and for the even more tired hands that picked it and cleaned it and got to my little or not-so-little grocer.

Plant gardens in really sunny places.

Watch for and encourage bees to come by any means.

Wear long pants and long sleeves even when it is 100 degrees outside so you don’t get 40 bites a day... (20 on each leg..)

Take pictures of the kids when they are excited about pulling even the most disgusting looking carrot out of the soil..

Sometimes gardens are a victim of circumstance (bunnies, drought - we had both!).

Happy Thanksgiving! I am thankful for you!

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