Sunday, September 06, 2009

Garden Consent

The big garden -- over at the home of the Southern Belle and the Absent-Minded Professor -- has suffered from benign neglect for at least a month, due to mutual agreement.

Several factors contributed to this laissez-faire attitude: increased work for the Absent-Minded Professor, increased activity with Local Roots and food preservation for me, and the arrival of Adorable Nephew #3 in mid-August, thus keeping the Southern Belle more than busy. And as much as I've tried to teach Beaker and Scooter about how to take care of the garden, they're still too young to give it much attention.


So when I finally managed to return for a substantial visit today, I found -- not unexpectedly -- a tangle of vines and weeds waiting for me.

The zucchini, struggling with powdery mildew a few weeks ago, had nearly succumbed and needed some serious pulling. The volunteer tomatoes in the upper bed needed thinning, too, though I don't expect much production from them anyway.


The beans I had planted in hopes of a fall crop suffered from the limitless appetites of the local rabbit and/or groundhog population. (None of my beans did well there this year.)


And in the lower bed, the weeds and the volunteer amaranth managed to blanket the plot with their woven, stubborn stalks.

Clearly, a firm hand was needed. And all too clearly, that hand would have to be mine as it was the only one free.

After a walk around each bed, meditating on what was still growing and what needed to be harvested or pulled, I got down to work. The boys toted large armfuls of weeds and pulled plants to the compost pile for me before dashing off to their playset again, and then I began working my way into the crops.


By the time I had finished, I had gathered a large bunch of carrots, a couple of Chioggia beets, half a dozen scallions, a gallon bag overflowing with golden chard, another such bag full of pac choi, yet another full of nettles, a big bunch of basil, a handful of nasturtium leaves and blossoms, one lonely little zucchini (with blossom attached), three small tomatoes (and one green one), as well as many branches of seed pods for pac choi and several dill seed heads.


The garden work is by no means done for the fall: more cleaning awaits, and other crops continue to require harvesting. The favas I planted are now blossoming, and I have other beets, chard, and pac choi coming up as well as the remaining carrots and parsnips.

And I think you'll agree, that's worth the effort!

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