Into each life, some rain must fall…hopefully!

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!

Our house in the forest, by artist Jeanie Holland.

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.

We’re going to have some French filet beans on the table here pretty soon!

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!

My young collards before harvesting.

The seedlings coming up…tomatoes around the outside and a tiny basil plant in the middle!

Collards in the pasta dish…really wonderful this way!

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.

Catnip, sage, Greek and Italian oregano, marjoram, thyme and kitty grass wintered over in their pots…if you could actually say that we had winter here this year!

Gardening is such hard work, isn’t it Cin-cin?

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.

My garden assistants surveying the property and deciding where we need to dig next.

The “pick-up stick” garden design, quite an ornate “kitty intervention” device. It’s being copyrighted right now.

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!

Guess who likes to dig in my garden the most? Need I say more?

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! 🙂  )

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42 thoughts on “Into each life, some rain must fall…hopefully!

  1. Envious of your rain. It seems to get to the mountains and fall apart; we’re dry, too. Usually zucchini is a bumper crop–keep trying!

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    • I’ve tried zucchini and squash in my garden before, had beautiful plants and blossoms along with baby veg, only to have borers come along and cut through the vines, or have too much rain and not enough sun to dry off the feet of the plant. But, I shall try again. It’s been three years so hopefully all the bad stuff for squash has come and gone! Hope you guys get some rain, soon. We need more!

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  2. I am so glad the rain is back for you! Australia’s having a wet season so we would like some of your sun 🙂
    Beautiful pictures and I love! Eurythmics 🙂

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

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  3. Are those unripe blueberries in the top photo, Betsy? Your green beans look great! We haven’t had any yet. We got our first installment of snow peas in our farm box, but they aren’t sweet, so I’m pondering what to do with them.

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    • Yes they are unripe blueberries, Sharyn. I have 3 small bushes at the back of our property that used to get some sun when a tree came down. I meant to move them up towards the house so I could see if they would grow more, and if the two of the three that have never made berries would pollenate. I forgot this fall, so I just have the one which is full of berries. I’m hoping I beat the birds to them when they get ripe!

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  4. Hi Betsy, I replanted my seedlings this weekend – I can’t wait for them to grow up. Can you tell me what it is in the first photo? Sharyn mentioned whether they were unripe blueberries or not?

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  5. i remember that you have a shady property, and I am so glad that you got some rain, especially where you are, your pot garden looks great and i might just nick that stick garden idea, we have some problems with .. um.. digging cats in the raised beds!.. have a lovely sunday evening betsy.. c

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  6. I’m so glad you’ve finally had some rain. But back here, our dams are over-flowing we’ve had so much. Weird isn’t it! I love how you grow your own vegetables and herbs and then you’ve had a little harvest and been able to turn that into a yummy pasta. Well done! I hope the sun shines on your vegetables and that the rain occurs more regularly. xx

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    • I’m so sorry that you’re having such flooding in your part of the world. We’ve been through that, too, and it certainly is no more fun than having no rain at all. Wishing you some sunshine and clear, blue skies, Charlie Louie!

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    • I think everyone has had the strangest weather this year, Yudith. Too much of a good thing of any kind is tough! You’re poor baby dog, thunder and dogs surely don’t go together. One of our cats is scared of it, too!

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  7. Enjoyed the tour of your garden and meeting your assistants! Can’t wait to see what else you make as you harvest your veggies and herbs this summer. You’ve introduced me to collards on a few occasions now, so I really must try them Betsy!

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    • The young collards have a completely different taste from the older and larger ones, Barb. They’re similar to some kales with a texture like a cabbage. I never knew how much I could like a collard until I started playing with them! I sure hope I have some harvest to blog about this summer. Summertime is when it starts to get dicey in my garden…so much heat, so little sun and moisture. We shall see!

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  8. Great to see your garden and your assistant diggers (we have two canine versions!). It´s all looking great and it´s wonderful to get amix of sun and rain. The recipe looks wonderful too – we could substitute chard for collards/kale…yum!

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    • My assistant diggers have assisted with such fervor that they assisted some plants right out of the garden! But we love them anyway, of course! I’ve definitely made this recipe with chard, rainbow chard in fact and I think posted about it…but it works equally well with chard, kale and collards, or a mix of the 3, so it’s a great way to use your greens. 🙂

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  9. Glad to hear that rain came your way finally. I know that your part of Georgia is surprisingly drier than most would assume. It is a challenge trying to create a garden in a shaded yard but it seems like you’ve managed to do it. WIth or without the garden, though, I bet your wooded property looks wonderful.

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    • As you said, it is fairly dry here and south Georgia, especially, has been drought ridden recently, but we sure haven’t had much rain here in central Georgia either. Today is typical, overcast like it will rain, and we may not see a drop. We do love our wooded property, I must say. Our lot is about 50 x 200, but seems much larger and is so private when everything leafs in that you don’t see your neighbors and you forget you’re in the heart of a big city. It’s like a vacation on our deck, so I’ll put up with shaded gardens and count my blessings! 😉

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    • Thank you, Brydie, and my assistants thank you, too! And oh yes, they are SO helpful. 😉 I guess wordpress thought this change might create more traffic and drive more folks to visit and revisit blogs, but I think it has the opposite effect, unfortunately.

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  10. I was wondering why you had all those stakes and wire among your collard, thought may be you were into square foot gardening until I saw the photos of your garden assistants and the comments. For a shaded garden you sure get a great harvest

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    • I started off with just wire and a few stakes to mark where I’d planted seed, and the assistants came along and scratched up all my seed, so I replanted and put in more deterrents…and more and more, until finally now they can’t squeeze in between to do their thing! This late spring time is when I get the best harvest, as the trees are still filling in and we usually do get some moisture. Summer, which is the best veggie time for most folks, is when I get the least harvest, then around September I can re-seed greens and will start getting more as the sun shifts in the sky, the temps cool down and the leaves thin again. It’s better than nothing for sure! 🙂

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  11. Your garden looks lie absolute heaven – I would love one day to live somewhere surrounded by greenery… Though I’d probably miss the city. Two homes it is! 😉

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  12. I’m with you on how wonderous nature is, no matter how much you water the plants nothing beats the affect of rain on plants, you can almost see and hear them grow when it rains.
    Oh and I’m loving the pick-up-stick invention! But the last photo of one of your garden assistants is just too cute and innocent! Hope you have a great gardening week 🙂

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    • For sure you can pretty much hear the plants sigh when it rains after being so dry! Yes, it’s hard to be angry with such cute assistants…even when they throw the plants OUT of the garden instead of helping put them in! 😉

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  13. Annoying WordPress. We should all get together and write to them!
    I haven’t been able to plant our pots just yet as there may still be a threat of frost. Usually this threat is until what we call the May 2-4 weekend (this year it’s the May 19-21 weekend) queen Victoria’s birthday! But I think I’ll take a chance and start my herbes next weekend. The tomatoes on the roof of the garage will need to wait a bit!

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    • At least we know how to stop the emails, but yes, I wish WP would work out the kinks a little better before making these helpful changes! We’re having a cool snap this week with temps going down to the high 70’s low 80’s…don’t think we’ll have any chance of frost this far south! Planting your herbes sounds like a great way to celebrate Queen Victoria’s birthday and spring, to me, Eva. 🙂

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  14. What a beautiful property you have! And thanks for the heads-up about WordPress. I was wondering why I was suddenly getting so many follow-up emails!

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    • Thank you, Beth, and you’re welcome for the heads up. Some fellow bloggers clued me in on what was happening and how to fix, so I thought each of us needed to pass along that info so we don’t all go crazy! 😉

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  15. I think it is so funny…I thought your pick up stick garden design was square foot gardening that had just gotten a little messed up. Cat avoidance makes sense. I hope you have a great growing season.

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    • That is funny, Karen, and you’re not the only one to think it! 🙂 So far, it’s working well for cat avoidance, though doesn’t seem to deter bunnies and squirrels one iota! Thanks for your good wishes on the growing season and I hope you have a great one, too!

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  16. Pingback: Betsy, Betsy, Quite Contrary, How Does Your Garden Grow? | bits and breadcrumbs

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