never had any other desire so that one which I have had always, that I might be master at last of a small house and a large Garden.

-A. Cowley, The Garden, 1666

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

back in action

Bad news after hiatus: the first garden has sadly succumbed under the combined forces of a small marauding army of hungry groundhogs, a prolonged drought, and a hectic schedule calling me elsewhere. It took me awhile before I felt like dwelling on this defeat here on the blog mainly dedicated to gushing on about how well my new garden was going. Things learned:

1. groundhogs are NOT cute, even the tiny ones. They are pillagers and destroyers. They waited for the weekend we were away for the fourth of july and swept through all of our nascent spaghetti squashes, the summer squashes, the green tomatoes, the kohlrabi, the cucumbers, and even all of the pumpkin flowers so they never did set fruit. I am generally a tree-hugging spca-card-carrying laid-back nature-lover, but with the groundhogs it wounded me and I took it personally. I now think of them as rascally varmint.
Lesson learned: we need a garden fence ala farmer mcgregor.

2. it seemed like for all of july and august it only rained twice, at the most inconveinent times; once when I was attempting to host 20 people at a bridal shower and once when we were at the amusement park with my visiting brother. The lawn browned and turned crunchy. Yet I still persisted in watering the garden....right up to the day our lame 1920s 30 foot well ran dry while watering the tomatoes. I had spent the morning weeding in 100 degree weather. I neither looked nor smelled socially respectable. And I was supposed to be in Williamburg to visit my parents in a few hours.
Lesson learned: need to make and install water barrels off the gutters of the little house for garden irrigation. and if we win the lottery we should sink a new modern deep well, preferably away from giant thirsty trees like the one the current well is parked under.

3. Even with all the natural disasters and my neglect due to time restraints, there are still some bright spots to the overrun garden. 3 in fact. We are still getting more eggplant from those stalwart 3 plants than we know what to do with. It is evidentially the only vegetable on earth that the groundhogs don't care for. Yet the plants have seen only minisule amounts of rain since mid-july, the flea beetles still occasionally range over the leaves, and weeds surround the bed. But still they grow and put out fruit in obstinate cheerfulness, as if in denial.
Lesson learned: nothing seems to daunt eggplants. I will adopt an eggplant mentality and get to planning the Fabulous Fall garden and starting seedlings of dark leafy greens and oriental cabbages.

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