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.


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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4 thoughts on “Summertime, Heat Waves, and that old Dirty Hose

  1. I signed up for a community garden plot closer to my house and I’ve been placed on the wait list. As a homeowner I feel greedy asking for one but my garden is pretty shady with large Doug firs. In Portland the wait lists are so long! I think I may end up waiting years to get into the nearest garden so I may have change my plan next year if I hope to grow more food. We will see…

    • Thanks for reading Ann! We used to have a p-patch in Ballard when we lived in Seattle. Lots of folks who had shady yards would grow vegetables there. I think that’s quite reasonable. The lists are quite long in Seattle too, so we were very surprised to get a community garden plot our first year in Bellingham, but happy! Hope you move up the list…I volunteered at my p-patch in their food bank gardens before I was given a plot…I think that may have helped…

  2. Hi, Erin! Congrats on committing to more garden-writing – I noticed your post on 🙂 I am trying to do the same out here in Colorado, and I started at week 11. I also garden at a community plot, as well as at my house, and it is a time commitment! It is so rewarding, though – trading stories and learning new techniques. I so agree with you that every season is a learning opportunity and new experience – that is what keeps us coming back each year! …your carrots look great, by the way!

    • Hey Jayme- Thanks for reading! I just started with Week 11 as well. I am pretty proud of our carrots, we’ve been gardening for awhile and just now feeling like we are getting good at carrots. I love that all the different vegetable families have different growing requirements and quirks. It is certainly never boring, and so satisfying to eat something you grew yourself.

      Your site is so pretty! The “Chasing Basil” cocktail looks yummy. I’m curious how many different versions of this did you make, before you settled on a recipe? Do you think one could you add rosemary to this or would it just kill the flavors? (I really like rosemary).

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