Summertime, Heat Waves, and that old Dirty Hose

August P-Patch Bounty

This year my garden has been thirsty, likely even a little parched. It’s been a bee-yoo-tiful summer. Hot, sunny, even a bit humid. At one point I wondered whether I was living on the west or the east coast. (Though I imagine those who’ve lived on that other coast wouldn’t confuse the two)

I hiked and camped and kayaked and swam and adventured to my heart’s content.  I watched sword ferns unfurl their deep-green fronds,  trilliums bloom and die back and devoured tangy, red huckleberries. I’ve been back and forth a great deal to Seattle (Emerald City I heart you). And in all of this rushing around, my community garden patch has not received the amount of water it should.

Let me rephrase that, as someone who’s been growing vegetables for over sixteen years, I can tell you most definitely that my garden did not get enough water throughout July and August.

AugustCollage

Tending a garden not located near your home, can be a challenge at times. However, gardening is a solitary activity for the most part. You’re at home, with your trowel and other tools playing in the dirt. Very relaxing.

But… gardening in a community patch I imagine is akin to how it felt living in a village 200 years ago. That friendly, spontaneous chat that happens just by running into your neighbors.

So I will be back at my garden this fall, kicking around, listening in and trading theories as to why my parsnips were remarkably forky or how my neighbor’s broccoli could have gone to seed so quickly. The best part of this summer’s mad rush to the garden to water and then bus back home for work or to put the cat out and such….is that my garden has been remarkably forgiving. As though it acknowledged the work we put in this spring and early summer. The double-dug compost, the seaweed, the re-seeding and sturdy fencing of tender vegetables.

The kale, artichokes, radicchio, peas, beets and generally bountiful harvest that we’ve reaped this summer, it’s as though my garden was saying, “Hey, I’ve missed you too. Let’s hang out more“.

And that’s the best part of gardening. Despite the bolted spring lettuce that really should have been harvested sooner (At least we got most of it in time), the beans that got overtaken by sweet peas, the strawberries struggling for air between great swathes of chickweed….despite the less than diligent care…every season is a learning experience and a new opportunity.

So, Hey Garden- thanks for sticking it out with me this summer. And thanks for the tasty carrots!

P-Patch at Dusk

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hello Garden: Late May

I trundled over to the garden after work the other evening. My car smelled of soil, there were muddy tools piled up in my backseat, jumbled up with empty oil bottles and old napkins. It had rained most of the day, but after dinner the skies cleared and I wanted to shore up my defenses against the recent onslaught of slugs. The warm, damp weather has been perfect for them, but also for seed germination.

radishes

 

In the cool rains of April, it can be weeks before you even see the tip of a sprout. What a difference to May. Just last week I planted some buttercrunch lettuce and broccoli seeds. You can see below that they were up, and looking sturdy.

lettuceseedlings

 

What’s more, seeds that I had given up on had suddenly decided to sprout after all. Including some leek seeds that were several years old. The dahlia tubers that I bought at NWFGS had transformed from tiny sprouts to thick clusters of new growth.

dahlias

 

With the sun and the rain and the warm soil, this is the time of year when plants really start to grow with a capital G. And it’s so much fun for vampire gardeners like us. That’s what my better half and I call ourselves. Our presence at our community garden is so often at twilight, after work…just taking a little time to weed and care for things. Weekends we like to catch up with friends and family.

buttercrunch

 

But as the old farmers say, “the best fertilizer is the gardener’s shadow”. So while we’re not at our garden for large chunks of time. We are there for bits at a time. And right now it all becomes worth it

Dreaming of Spring

Barrows

Today I want to share a few pictures of our new community garden patch. We went over the other day to clear weeds and put bark down on the paths. Given that the soil has a great deal of clay, we were lucky to inherit some raised beds.

We’ve recently moved to Bellingham, and many planting dates for vegetables are later than Seattle. So I am biding my time and dreaming about all the things we will grow there this year. It’s hard to be patient! I would definitely like to grow some carrots and maybe some parsnips if I can find the seeds.

What are you planning to grow in your garden this year?

PatchPic

 

Patch

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