August 27, 2012
Worms killed the cucumber vines. The okra isn't growing. Production from the pepper plants has slowed to a near halt. And the squash and watermelon came down with a bad case of blossom end rot.
Seems like a good time to plan for new beginnings.
The garden I planted in May—my first ever attempt at growing veggies—seems to be on its last leg. The only exception are my tomato plants, which through some act of God, survived a thorough ravaging by squirrels (see previous blog).
Through the feasting habits of critters, both big and small, I've learned many lessons as I've watched green, carbon-based wonders emerge from the soil, sprout leaves, bear fruit, and begin to wilt as the end of summer arrives.
With the changing of the seasons, that first brisk bite of autumn air, our minds move in new directions. September and October bring new possibilities for produce to thrive in the thirsty soil.
My wife and I took a trip to the garden center this weekend, where we perused hundreds of seed packets in search of quintessential cool season crops.
Now, seeing endless rows of seed packets can send the amateur gardener in a feral frenzy: a Great White in chummed waters.
But, mindful of the mistakes of my warm season garden, I told Joy we had to keep it simple.
We'd made a list before we left for the store. We decided to buy four packets of seeds, and four packets only. She chose two. I chose two.
See, the problem with my warm season garden was, I wanted a little bit of everything. In that tiny little plot I planted eight different veggies and herbs. I can see all you experienced, green-thumbed seed sowers shaking your heads.
As you can imagine, too much variety and not enough space means you don't have enough of one thing to really go around.
Take for example, my most recent yield of garden beans:
When I plucked them off the vine and brought them inside, placing them on the counter, my wife just shook her head.
"That's not even worth dirtying a pan for," she said.
So, in coming weeks, as the heat gives way to fall breeze, and as I clear the remnants of warm season crops, spread a couple bags of compost and break out the tiller, I await a wholly new season of successes, failures and lessons learned the hard way.