Saturday, July 8, 2017

one more charge

I try hard every year to grow as much of my own organic vegetable supply as possible. It is literally a hard row to hoe, and my success rate is never going to result in Piper's picture on the cover of a magazine, sitting proudly beside a picturesque basket of vegetables. But good food is important, and growing it is important to me, and I try.

This year, every gardener I know is in the same situation: say the word "garden" and we sigh and shake our heads. The more demonstrative among us throw our hands into the air while sighing and shaking our heads.

It's been driving me a little bit batty that between May and June's rainy days, only one planting of pole beans had gone in. Nothing more. Even the beans aren't growing well, but have been hanging on.

Meanwhile, here's the rest of the garden:

This riotous jungle obscured even the rows that my Occasional Helper had rough-dug back in May. I knew that if I couldn't reclaim at least those rows and take the stones out and get something planted right away, I might be buying all my vegetables for the next year. So on my task list this past week - when the forecast included three days in a row with a less than 50% chance of rain - was this:

Item 1: Veg Garden. One more charge. Rescue or surrender.

As we surveyed the situation while standing knee-deep in a sea of green, my Occasional Helper said, "Well, a weed-whacker could do it." This had not occurred to me. I know nothing about motorized weed-whacking. And as I was pondering this exciting news, he added, "I have a weed-whacker."

We quickly identified exclusion zones:
the pole beans, a large patch of violets and a small clump of milkweed.

Let the whacking commence!

I began raking up the greenery while it was still fresh, and carrying it up to the herd, although it seemed unlikely they would eat such a mixed slaw. Goats, as long-time Comptonia readers know, are very particular about their food.

And sure enough, although all the goats investigated their salads, not one just reached in for mouthfuls, as a horse or cow might. They nosed it all carefully, then pulled out individual stems or leaves. Much was left uneaten and quickly wilting, so after lugging a couple of big totes up from the garden to the barn paddocks, I decided to leave the rest in place as mulch. I moved on to another task while the whacking continued.

And then, all was quiet.

I walked back down the slope and saw this:

Readers, if I work hard and stick to short-season vegetables, I might just have a garden this year. In with a chance, I call it. And while I was in the garden musing about how rarely in life we have the chance to press the Reset button, my Occasional Helper was up by the house, weed-whacking the Very Raised Bed. And then a little path by the goat barn where I get soaked first thing every morning, walking through wet vegetation. Weed whackers! Who knew? My Occasional Helper, that's who.

So, that was Thursday afternoon.

By Friday morning I had planted:
Suyo cucumbers.
Egyptian onions.
Candy roaster squash.

It has already rained twice in less than two days since those seeds were planted. In fact, it's raining right now. But hopefully enough to help seeds germinate; not enough to wash them away or rot them.

And the forecast looks fair for Sunday and Monday,
so I will try to get more seeds in the ground.

Here's hoping!