September 05, 2011

When we lost Aurora, I stopped watering the garden and for sixteen days my vegetable garden burned in the sun.  I thought about it a time or two, but then I turned away.  I didn’t want to nurture a bunch of plants; I wanted to nurture my baby.

On the seventeenth day, I visited my garden.

Our sweet corn had ripened a week or two earlier, but we were so busy surviving that we overlooked it.  The stalks were yellow and withered.  The kernels were hard and dry.  A second variety of corn we were growing had been stressed by the sudden drought, had stopped growing and tassled early.

The sweet pepper plants had been overrun by weeds.  We’d lost nearly 2/3 of our tomato plants to heat, weeds, and gophers.  Every last one of our bean plants had been taken down by gophers.  Our squash plants were devastated, our cucumbers were going to seed, and our zucchini each weighed more than Charlotte.

Our pea plants had withered and died.  My native onions had been crushed, presumably by some critter who had made its nest on top of them.  The sweet potato plant had been taken by gophers.  The asparagus peas had mysteriously vanished.  Our gourds and pumpkins were taken by gophers.

None of my herb seeds germinated.  My licorice basil plant dried out and bent over, half-dead, and its leaves yellowed and its blooms darkened.  Our carrot greens fell over.

The only thing I had any time for at all was the apple tree.

This week is about mending the garden.  Planting new herb seeds.  Reviving that poor, unfortunate basil plant.  Laying out our winter vegetable garden plot.  Tying our corn stalks together to dry.  Harvesting the sorghum.  Removing dying zucchini and squash plants to the compost pile.  Watering the carrots.  Showing Charlotte how to pick an oversized watermelon.

I have been gardening long enough now to have seen that when my garden thrives, I feel more positive about my life.  As it is, I’m one of those irritating optimists who thinks her dogs fart sunshine, so it’s not like I’m ordinarily in dire need of more positivity…but I also believe in trusting my instincts and right now my instincts are telling me that this will help.  That turning this garden around, that watching new things grow again, that nurturing the plants that will provide sustenance to my family will help.

So outside we go, Charlotte and me, my grey gumboots beside her blue ones, my red trowel beside her pink one, both of us with our hands in the earth, to make this garden grow.

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  1. By Sarah on September 05, 2011

    sounds like a good plan to me

  2. By on September 05, 2011

    Just as I had given up on the couple of plants that seemed to make it in the ground this year, Fall hit early and the rain came. Now things are beginning to ripen just as I’ve lost hope on getting anything out of the garden this year. But Jude seems to be eating the tomatoes as they come off the vine… so the chances of using any of it beyond that is pretty impossible.

    Good luck with your winter garden. I’m already looking forward to starting fresh next spring and making plans for how I can actually get this garden to do something.

  3. By on September 06, 2011

    Getting dirty and nurturing helps almost every time and as my good friend Sharyn would say to us, “It can’t hurt, Girls.” And so we do, we go on, we redo, replant, fertilize.

    As the world spins on her axis and hurtles through space one day follows another.

  4. By Alicia S. on September 06, 2011

    I thought that nothing in the world would come between me and my plants when we first got into it this year. But nursing the plants back to health obviously fell to the wayside for us after Scarlett‘s stay in the hospital. I swore that nothing, not even the plants would pry me away from the kids. Then Spencer was hit by a car on his motorcycle Sunday morning; He’s been in intensive care, recovering from brain surgery for the past two days. I’m almost afraid to say that nothing will pry me away from him.





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