Tending Tuesday: What is going on in my garden?

3 08 2010

I miss it like crazy.  It is like another little baby, only this one is much more forgiving, sleeps through the night, every night (until frost that is) and well… I can eat it. 🙂

I sit here wondering: has the downy mildew that showed up on my cucumbers taken over, or was the reiki successful at helping it overcome the fungus?  Have the squash finally sprouted both male and female flowers at the same time so I can have squash this year? Are the potatoes dried up and shriveled in their bright blue containers?  Is anyone picking the calendula?

Honestly, I love my garden SO much.  It has given me so much abundance this year and will continue to do so into the fall.  It has taught me a lot about what to do, and what not to do and when to do nothing.  These are important lessons.

Currently, I have three 4′ x 10′ raised beds, an herb spiral, two containers of potatoes and a fig tree with calendula friends in it.

In the first bed that I planted I decided to try a permaculture technique of polyculture and dense plantings.  The idea is that planting densely allows for a living mulch and you get to have continuous harvest of deliciousness, as you harvest young plants.

Here is a picture of what my polyculture could, theoretically, look like, so you’re not so bored.  I would post one of mine, but I’m not there. And, this one has way more vegetables than mine.  😉

I planted assorted greens, beets, herbs and, as a strange inspiration, edible flowers (sunflower, borage, caledula and coriander).  The polyculture has been working really well, except for the fact that I didn’t recall that calendula was actually such a huge plant and it has totally taken over the garden.  I don’t have the heart to pull the plants, so I am allowing them to flower and some of them to go to seed.

In that bed, on the edge, I also did a planting of peas, which I thought were shelling peas, but ended up being snap peas.  I just pulled them out and replaced them with a row of carrots and one of beets.

On the far end there is a pickling cucumber patch, which, until the day we left (sunday) was doing wonderfully.  Sunday morning, we awake to downy mildew, which I had just learned about the day before at the farmer’s market, spreading its brown, spotty sickness through the sap of my delicious pickling cucumbers.

I am not a pickle kinda girl in the traditional sense.  Vinegar pickles are, in my books, a travesty of culinary expression.  The truth about preserving cucumbers lies in the fermentation process. These pickles are, in fact, the best thing I’ve ever tasted in the pickle vein of existence.  Even staunch anti-pickle advocates will eat my fermented pickles.  And, luckily for you, you will learn all about them this week, in foodie fridays. Wait for it.

So, it was with great sadness that little A and I discovered the downy mildew.  We harvested what we thought might be our last cucumber harvest, prayed, offered reiki and love over them and then left them to their own devices as we left for the great North.

There is a part of me that wants to call my neighbours.  “How are my cucumbers?” I would ask. And, I’m sure, the response would be greatly unsatisfying.  Something like “Pretty good.” or “I haven’t really checked them lately.”  Which would both be perfectly understandable answers, but not nearly the in depth communication with my cucumber plants that I am looking for.

The other bed, closest to the road, is full of butternut squash and a zucchini plant.  I would add that there is also a few fennel plants and some pepper plants and even a dash of chard and nasturtiums in there, but they are really overshadowed, in every sense, by the girth of our squash plants.  Cucurbit family is a very prolific family, something like a settler’s Catholic family, shooting out runners like babies like that was the only thing it had a purpose in doing. Wait, that is it’s only purpose…

However, the one squash that we had, we accidentally harvested when cutting back some of runners so they didn’t take over the road. And so far, no other male and female flowers have existed together on the plant, and so, no babies.  I WANT BABIES! (not ones that I grow in my belly though.  Not right now.  OK?  OK.)

I want to see my darling squash as they birth their little babies.  I want to see the beautiful male flowers right along side of the female plants.  I want to know the difference in  what they look like.

So, I sit here.  In my mother’s livingroom.  I wonder about all these things, and more.  I wonder about whether the carrot seeds have enough moisture to germinate.  What about the bush peas? But it will all have to wait, as will pictures, until next week, when I am back in my little haven of urban abundance.

Until then, if you happen to be passing by, give my plants a little hello, some love and a maybe even harvest a zucchini or two. If you let me know about it, I can live vicariously through you.





5 responses

3 08 2010
Mama Jedi

I think of my garden as a nursery also. I love each and every one of the babies i spent so much time doting over while they were sprouting!

4 08 2010

I’ll go over and check it if you want….

4 08 2010

that would be the best bday present ever!!

5 08 2010

i was biking in that area with the kids this weekend…i thought to go check but felt funny about poking around your ‘den with you not present.(hadn’t read this yet) i may swing by this weekend then…

5 08 2010

you can poke around in my garden any time you like. 🙂 let me know how happy everything is, OK?

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