Fear of the Garden


For the past couple weeks I’ve had this horrible fear of my garden hanging over my head, because between the sprained ankle and very long work weeks, it had been almost exactly a month since I had even seen my garden. That means it was before the huge storm that knocked out our electricity for almost 4 days, and before the torrential rainstorm a week later (we received almost no rain with the “electricity” storm). I was afraid because I knew I would either find everything I’d planted dead (this mostly brought on from 5 years of Texas summers…any plant neglected for a month, outside, unprotected, will be nothing but dust when you get back to it), or find everything growing like gangbusters but competing with weeds as big or bigger as the plants themselves.

That’s right. We live in Virginia now. Neglected gardens don’t turn into dust, they turn into jungles! Honestly though, that’s alright with me. I was braced for either possibility, but this is far and away my preference. All I have to do is clear away the weeds and…

I have tomato plants again! Er…monster tomato plants. It’s like they’ve grown about 5 or 6 thick, long legs each. And they’re loaded, can you see? I’m seriously kicking myself for not taking the time to add either a cage or a stake when I transplanted them (kept thinking I’d get to it when they grew a little more), and I may still stake them. I hate them all lying over on the ground like that, and it can make the fruit get spotty. Now it will take 2 stakes per plant though, to support them in the way they’ve grown so misshapen. At any rate, I should have tomatoes in a week or so!

I also still have peppers, one cucumber plant (nearly smothered, but still alive…if it survives me accidentally breaking a portion of it during weeding), calendula, dill, zinnia, and cosmos. Oh, and lots of onions. LOTS of onions. Sadly today I only got about half of the garden weeded before it just became far too hot – and the grass around the lot still needed mowed, so I needed to do that. It looks better but it needs another day of work, and soon.

I also would like to most sincerely thank the person who had this plot last year, for planting potatoes and apparently only taking the big ones. When I turned the ground early this spring, I kept finding tiny potatoes and would throw them out, but guess what most of my “weeds” are? The 3 foot high, use-both-hands-and-heave-and-curse-till-you-fall-over-backwards kind? They’re freaking potatoes.

On the other hand, if I have this spot next year, I think I will plant potatoes in June. My family always had horrible trouble with potato bugs eating our plants, which were always set in March or April. What do you know…these unwanted volunteers – all of which came up in late June or early July – are showstoppers, with nary a bug to be seen. Most of them are nearly fully size already as well. I suppose the lack of bugs could be the onions I planted through the entire garden, but still. I might try it.

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