Over the course of this little blog, I have written often about the love affair I have with my garden and working in it. With every good love affair, degrees of un-love seem to inhabit the same story. This year, the amount of rain we have had has not only doused the earth upon which it has fallen but also doused my love affair with the garden. So much, that I might now want to call it a love/hate… affair. The weeds have proliferated this year more than any other that I can remember and they even have a bed all to themselves. A whole raised garden bed of lush, green, thickly planted… weeds. We just could not keep up with them so we sacrificed a bed to them when the pumpkins we set out from last year rotted in the wet soil and did not take. The lettuce either bolted quickly this year or came up not at all when the seeds were again overladen with the rain. The tops of the bolted lettuce sure look pretty don’t they though? Mixed with some asparagus fronds and purple beans, they make a pretty composition.
With every negative comes a positive and the positive in this scenario is while some crops have not done as well this year for the overabundance of water, some have thrived and it really is a lush sea of green when you walk through the vegetable garden interspersed with pops of color.
The petite purple flowers of the borage plant give another shade of the color purple when grown alongside the purple basil. Tomato plants love to have borage and basil as neighbors so they are all growing profusely and mixing in with each other in this bed.
The beans and the peas have entirely covered their tee-pee supports of bamboo.
Hidden underneath all of that green foliage you can find the beans in yellow, green and purple!
You can also find the dang thistle weed… a relentless and unwelcome neighbor.
Interspersed with the vegetables, I always plant flowers and let them self sow year after year. This year, after seeing how beautiful the bean and pea pods looked in the garden,
I decided to use some of the bean shoots and leaves with the beans still on them in the floral arrangements I did for our Family Reunion last weekend. (More tips from that reunion will be posted in a future blog soon.) I rarely purchase fresh flowers in the summer months for I use whatever I can cut from the garden or the woods. If I have to do an arrangement of a certain hue, then I will cave and purchase flowers, otherwise I scavenge and use what I can find.
These squash tendrils and vines would be super fun in an arrangement!
To keep them off the ground this year, we built an arbor that spanned the walk way out of the shipping pallets we get on a continuous basis. If you need any for your projects, you now know where to find them for we are giving them away for free if you want to come pick them up!
Every year the gourds and pumpkins run wild and grow over everything in their path. I wanted to build something inexpensive that would bring them up and over the walkway in the garden instead of across it and that would help the situation. We screwed two pallets into the wood from the raised garden beds on either side of the pathway so they would stand upright.
We then stapled wire on the tops of the pallets and put a support board in on each side to keep the wire upright to a height that would enable you to walk underneath of it. Planting the gourds and squash on either side of the pallets in the dirt was the easy part. (You can also purchase heavier gauge wire that would stand alone and you would not need the support of the boards but we were using what we had on hand)
Training the vines to go up and over the arbor should be done on an every-other-day basis when the squash are in their periods of vigorous growth, such as when it rains every day!
Once established to grow in the right direction, they will continue to do so on their own and in no time they will cover the wire and its frame.
The peppers have taken awhile to produce given that they love sunshine and heat. We have had the heat but with very little sunshine!
The view down a garden path is a site that brings both satisfaction and rewards from the fruits of your labor and admiration for it’s beauty. You can peruse its paths and pick its bounty to be used in a variety of ways.
Coming up this week is a post giving you my favorite recipes and uses for what the earth gives you… along with a little nudging and elbow grease. It’s worth it!
“The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just on the body, but the soul.”
Alfred… I wholeheartedly agree!