June 1 ~
What is normally a typical, yearly task has seemed Herculean this Spring. Family obligations, extreme weather and many other things proved unusually disruptive to an already stressful period....... my annual May panic X 10!!!
But today, after 2 days of working non-stop (except for the needed re-hydration breaks), the veggie garden is done. We can sit back (perhaps with a basil/ginger/fruit cocktail) and look at it with pride and great relief and pleasure for a week or so...before the weeds take over and demand more intense attention. The heat and humidity have been unbearable to us--especiall since we left the DC area years ago to escape humidity---which had been a success until 5 years ago. I do not DO humidity!!!!!!
Planting the garden is like visiting an old friend---you visit because of the familiarity, like to hear about what's new and it just feels comfortable. There have been some years when we really made big changes in the garden--like when I planted all the salad area in a spiral. But, generally, the layout is similar because it has proven to be an easy way to weed, get the garden cart around.....and it is familiar. We try new (read: old heirloom) varieties, but we know, after 34 years of gardening what we really like and will eat. So, a small change here and there, but when we are done planting, it seems like no time has passed at all since the previous year--just like friendships. We are so familiar with our garden and our tools (some we have had so long as they were wedding gifts and still use), that we even recognize certain garden stakes and where they usually go! Our long gone doggie, Zackie, had a favorite bone she kept burying---we still use it in the salad bed in the row we plant chard. What is really cool is that I do not pull up the bone at the end of the garden year like the wooden ones, because it is small, but we find it each spring after tilling. There are even a few old sticks that I remain familiar with year after year. Even more nostalgiac---if you look at the above picture, you will note the ornate garden stakes and the ugly plastic fencing.
When our grandson, who is now 7 1/2, was beginning to outgrow his crib (the same crib that had been used by our two daughters), he bounced and jumped so hard that the side rails came apart--but I decided to keep the slats because the were just the right size for garden stakes--and had pointy ends, making them easy to push into the dirt. What I now use for my cukes to trellis, is his old play fence.... not at all attractive, but it folds in such a way as to stand on its own. I think about a lot of the past when I am in the garden. Both of my maternal grandparents and great granparents were farmers and I have had a garden every year since I left home. My kids gardened and were 4-Hers who entered their veggies in the Fair every year and now, our grandson, who today planted string beans and potatoes, carries on the family tradition. I expect those old crib slats will still be around when he is grown. He can tell the story of their origin to his kids and all the rich memories while gardening will continue.