We’ve waited and waited. Weeks on end without rain and with record high temperatures, close to or in the 90’s, and dry as a bone. Then finally this weekend, some rain!
A time or two now, I believe I’ve mentioned that our property is mostly shaded. And by this I mean we practically live in a forest of 80-year-old and 100-foot-tall pine trees, with an understory of dogwood trees, Japanese maples, shade-hearty shrubs, and various perennial plants and ferns.
From the get-go, I knew my desire to have a vegetable garden of any type was an exercise in futility, but I pursued it anyway. And this spring, on top of having no sun in my yard, we’ve struggled with having very little rain at a time when we usually get the bulk of rainfall we’re going to for the next few months. The clouds tease, the forecasters make promises and all the moisture goes right around us. I’ve watered, only just enough to keep everything going and within our watering restrictions, but city water with all that chlorine just isn’t what the plants want. Then Friday rolls around, and what’s this? We have moisture coming from the sky…ta da! Suddenly everything is growing again.
The transformation that Mother Nature can inspire, and particularly where plants are concerned, is endlessly fascinating to me. Just a day or two before, there were no beans and only the beginnings of a few blossoms showing, but no signs of seedlings from what I’d direct-seeded into pots and into the ground. And now, with just half an inch of rain, the French filet beans are growing rapidly on the bushes and tomato and basil seedlings are popping up, soon to have their second leaves. Hoo ya!
And so, my little and mostly sunless garden is still plugging along, I’m happy to report. Further proof that plants can adapt and fool you, surviving on very little of what they need. I probably still can’t grow tomatoes in my little bed…at least not until about September, and by then it’s a bit too late. Therefore, my seedlings will stay in pots on the deck where we get the most sun. But below in the garden, greens and beans do very well in this limited light space. My collards were signaling me that it was time to do a harvest, so I snipped and clipped and used them to make this great pasta dish again, my Penne with Kale, Roasted Tomatoes and Sausage, for which you can see the previously posted recipe here, substituting the collards for the kale. I may get one more round of collards, or I may pull them up for compost and start some zucchini seed…another thing I haven’t had much success with, but I just must…try, try again.
Our deck is the best option for year round gardening, and all these herbs that you see wintered over in their pots. The amazing catnip plant above left was started from seed two years ago in the garden bed, I pulled it out in February and plopped it in a pot, and now it’s thriving on the deck where my garden “assistants” can get to it. They still prefer their catnip dried so it mellows out a bit, but they do enjoy the oat grass we grow for them to nibble on.
These two are most excellent diggers, so you can see how I’ve had to cat proof my garden bed by using my own “pick up stick” design, and getting to the plants is now quite a trick, even for me!
Yes, this weekend, life is good and thriving. We’re eating from our garden and have high hopes of some more eats to come. And while I still pine (not the trees) for the ability to truly feed ourselves from what we can grow, and which will not happen while we live in this house, at least we are able to enjoy some small fruits of my garden labor. Always so much better than anything we can purchase.
Ah, look, here comes the rain again! Happy Sunday!
(A brief note as has been posted from fellow bloggers. We all LOVE comments to our posts, but I don’t think anyone wants to have their email box filled with every single comment someone makes on a post. To avoid this, you must uncheck the “Notify me of all comments made on this post” box just below the comment area when you start to comment…before you comment. WordPress is currently auto-checking this box as a default, and if you don’t uncheck it, the consequences are very annoying, but can be worked around. Let me know if you get stuck! 🙂 )