Monday, July 26, 2010
I have an admission to make. While I show images of colorful flowers and abundant fruit from the garden there is a seamy underside. No, not aphids or slugs (yet), but instead benign neglect. Yes, it is utter jungle chaos out there. My back went 'out' right at that exact time that the heat and rain came to spur the big summer growth, and I would have normally been out there daily weeding, pinching off, tying up or down. But all I could do for several weeks there was...water. And now it is just too late. By the time my back improved enough to do more, it was over! Overgrown, that is. There is no untangling what nature has accomplished. And she has accomplished.
It isn't as though my neglect means that the garden isn't growing - that things are wilting or dying off. In fact, with all of this heat and record rain, well, it is growing really well on its own. Without my pinching and tying off it has developed impenetrable areas of mass growth. Vines and leaves, flowers and fruit. Cucumbers and beans are growing up the paste tomato teepee. Or, in another spot the cucumbers are growing right up the bush 7' in the air along with malabar spinach. Tomato plants are the size of European cars. Beans are up into the bushes. It is a jungle out there - a beautiful jungle.
I don't know if I will get a record crop this year - while some things are benefiting, some probably are not. While I planted things with height/sun/shade/space in mind, it has gone a bit beyond that. ;) While some things may be slower going with all the extra greenery, I am still getting greens and peas in July with all of the cover they are getting. And I may very well have a bumper crop of tomatoes and cucumbers (if I can reach them!). But the squash is probably not getting the sun I intended when I planted it among the beds, thinking that growth would be more tamed and controlled, allowing more sunlight to penetrate. And some of my interspersed herbs are just plain covered by rampant growth from the plants above. But I do still have many growing fine - lovage, parsley, stevia, dill, parsley, lemon bee balm, fenugreek, borage and many others. I also have many volunteer plants that I would have pulled had I been able to get out a few weeks back. I have ground cherries and wonderberries! I think the red raspberries are poised to take over the entire alley side of our yard. The peppers have been loving this heat and have plenty of sun on the low-height side. And of course there are flowers - lots of colorful wonderful flowers.
So while I am doing much better back-wise and can wander the garden again, I do so at the edge, peeking in and under, swatting at the mosquitoes, plucking beetles, watering when it doesn't rain -- a bit at a loss to what more I can do at this point, but in wonder at what it has done without me.
So, I admit it. The garden is a luscious chaotic jungle. And I'm OK with that.