Monday, July 18, 2011

june 25 - july 16: a gorgeous mess

The garden has run riot the last few weeks. If a large group of us could throw a couple of hours each day into the garden, we could keep up with all of its maintenance: tying up unruly tomato vines; keeping the collards from bolting; pulling up purslane and pigweed. As we all have day jobs, we spend what time we can give harvesting and watering.

We have arrived at an uneasy truce with the garden, in which we focus our attentions on the young vegetables in our raised beds and turn a mostly blind eye to the encroachments of chamomile and Queen Anne’s Lace elsewhere, ignoring the weeds and volunteer plants that pop up in unexpected places.

We struggle even with that limited purview: the beds are becoming unruly. The tomato plants stretch languidly, pushing forth side shoots faster than we can train them to stakes with twine, threatening to go horizontal under the influence of burgeoning fruit. The tendrils of pole beans seek support from anything within reach, incrementally threading through the chicken wire fencing that protects their bed. A patch of self-seeded Swiss chard at one end of a bed cheerily menaces the young pepper plants that we intended to grow there. The bed of collard seeds that we had sown directly waited to germinate until two weeks after we, frustrated, replanted with kale starts. The dodecahedron bed is a cage match of squash vines, tomato plants, and sunflowers, all swinging herbaceous equivalents of folding chairs at each other. The flower beds are a study in confusion. The black raspberry plants are climbing the walls of the condo next door, and sweet pea plants are showing up all along the fence line.

The garden is a mess, but a gorgeous mess--like the character of Baya in Le noms de gens.

Although I’ve not written much recently, and my memories of the last few work days have blurred into one sweaty and tomato vine-stained bunch of impressions, I did take a number of photographs on those three Saturdays. The next few posts will be thematic, focusing on one or two of our crops as they grew over the last few weeks.