Thursday, July 13, 2017

Garden update

One of my Nana's ways of saying "How are you?" was to ask "How does your garden grow?" 

Of course, I rarely had a literal garden. Now, I wish Nana were able to see these photos and witness my development as a gardener. I am still pretty small potatoes, but rather proud of myself and happy with the way things are going. 

Of course, gardens are a fine metaphor for life (as my Nana well knew), and so, results are mixed. 

My tomatoes and beans are doing really well:

Tomatoes, marigolds and sweet williams (I don't have a flower garden, but love having some flowers scattered in with my veggies. The marigolds are there for their pest-deterring properties; the sweet williams are there because I love them.)

A flourish of beans (I have a hummingbird who comes around to whirr at the stained glass in my window. I hope it will soon discover my scarlet runner beans – much more satisfying)
Of course, some things haven't gone so well. The slugs decimated my bok choy. 

Bok choy boneyard
But that made room for the herbs that had been sitting in their little pots for 4 weeks (or more) since I brought them home from market...

Bok choy boneyard converted to herb garden
And the bok choy's sacrifice may have preserved the lives of the less-favoured-by-slugs arugula and kale. 

My peas were a flop and my brussell sprouts are completely static. I think they may be the leeks of 2017. (I didn't bother to plant leeks this year: although they did not die last year, they also did not grow). 

My potato patch is thriving and the potato bugs don't seem to have found us yet. 

Potatoes and some teeny, tiny beet plants
Last night, on my way home from a music show at the West Dublin Hall, I remembered that I had my headlamp in the car and so I finally took the time to stop and gather up a bit of seaweed to hill these beauties with.
Potatoes hilled with seaweed
I could stand to get a little more seaweed. I hope it won't take me another month to find an opportune moment. And I hope I don't remember at 11 pm again. Although it was kind of fun feeling clandestine on the dark beach, disturbing the sand flies was not pleasant.

Best of all is the daily-ness of the garden for me. Every morning, I have some mindful, undistracted garden time. I go out and hunt for slugs, I water if it's going to be sunny (and if I have any water in my rain barrel), I check on the progress of things, see if anything is ready to harvest and graze on a few greens.

Items on my to-do list like "hill potatoes", "stake and tie tomatoes", "netting for beans" inject some more grounded and less stressful activities into my daily, peri-menopausal life. And happily, weeding is limited. Gardening in the forest, most of my weeds are ferns and baby trees. I don't have many of the typical, super-annoying garden weeds, at least not yet.

And almost always, there is this guy in the garden. On the hot days he sits under the ferns to keep cool, and deters the mice and squirrels. Now, if only I could teach him to hunt slugs...

My garden helper/familiar (the hugelkultur beds are great at deterring Sal from sleeping on top of the gardens themselves – too lumpy!


  1. We also have a garden again this year . . and the weeds are terrible! The squash and pumpkins are being eaten by cucumber beetles and another bug, so hubby is doing what he can to deter them. Of the many beans planted only 5 actually sprouted! Tomatoes are doing very well again this year, so far and we have some lovely radishes already . . . now to get out there and actually try to make a dent in the weeds . . the worst weed is the trailing vine that chokes everything . . might be morning glory. Nasty! Happy gardening, Alex!

    1. Yes, mixed results seem to be always the way. My squash are struggling, too. I meant to plant some "watermelon radishes" but I forgot! Sounds like you might have some of what my family calls "bind weed". I'm afraid I may have introduced a little through some free horse manure, but it doesn't seem like it's taken hold – yet. Happy gardening to you, too!

  2. You'll soon welcome weeds as a sign that your soil is developing. I got excited to find purslane in my garden (it's delicious), and the size of the wood sorrel tells me how good the soil is in that spot. But yeah....

    1. Hmm, I hadn't thought of it that way, Heather. That's a good attitude to have toward weeds!

  3. Sal scared me yesterday! He must have been sitting on a stump, because when I looked up, there he was, he looked so big!!

    1. I'm sorry that he gave you a turn! He is a big fella – though not as big as he is in the winter when he is more sedentary...