Salad Days

I tend to garden by trial and error. I don’t get too fussy but I like to grow things and especially love having a vegetable garden. It continues to impress me that I can put this small unassuming seed into the dirt and in return will bestow pounds of food for me to eat. Incredible. Notably plants like the cucumber, chard and beans, I mean you pick and pick and it keeps forthcoming! What kind of food fountain magic is this? Makes me question this ongoing issue of global food shortages.

And to eat a home-grown tomato is still a high point of summer bliss. Ok one point. Summer has many.

Some things I plant don’t always pan out, like artichoke. I LOVE artichokes, and they’re expensive to buy so I have planted one each year but they never make it, like the one I planted this year, but I’ll try again next spring. I included Brussel Sprouts for the first time this year too, can’t wait to see how they turn out.

I have a variety of squashes, things that will keep during winter and am especially happy to finally see  butternuts growing, another vegetable tried several times but without success. If you want the most delicious pumpkin pie, don’t use pumpkin. Use butternut. It’s transforming. Next year I want to expand on winter crops, see how long we can eat off these humble patches of dirt.

The other night we had forgotten to close our front gate and a deer wandered through and dined heavily on the beans, but I didn’t mind- this time- I had already harvested several pounds, there was enough to share.

And deer are fickle. They never ate the potato plant. Ever. Until last year, again coming through a forgotten open gate, and literally cleared out all the potato plants to sticks. Didn’t touch a bean. I have planted potatoes for twenty-six years, and not once ! My three rows of potatoes this time suffered only a very light graze on a couple of plants.

In my early days of gardening here we had no fence and would lose much of the garden each year before it could produce any food. I even had Hostas planted for years that I never witnessed flowering because they were continually eaten down to mere stalks, ditto for any roses, and tulips I just stopped planting them.

I have used straw to mulch these last two years and that’s helped to keep things moist enough, but I need to walk my beach and collect seaweed to add to the soil , a resource that’s readily accessible and super beneficial.  I’ve also been reading up on No Tilling and Layer gardening to try next year. It’s a process, gardening, see what works and it’s forgiving. Good thing for my bumbling attempts.