Thursday, July 23, 2009

July is breakdown time in the garden

July is when morale is at its lowest in the Greenish Thumb potager. All my plants, all heirloom, all organic, all beginning with such promise as seeds, treated to only tender loving care since way back in early March, are all currently under stress out in the garden. They are hot, uncomfortably large and crowded, dehydrated, suffering under the insidiousness of the bugs, under attack by fungal organisms, and they all call for my help, but alas, I don't know how to help.

I think one factor here is that I tend to have periods of neglecting my vegetable garden. Here's how it usually goes: early spring, I start seeds. During this stage, I obsess over these babies so much that I begin to neglect my human children. Later in early summer, the veggies are tucked in the garden, and once I see that they are established, I start focusing on my perennials - weeding, new planting, mulching, etc. At this point I begin neglecting my vegetables. Well, now we're into July when the perennials are self-sufficient and I turn my focus back to the vegetables. To my dismay, the lettuce has bolted, and the basil has begun flowering. The tomatoes should have been staked properly, but are now so huge they're pulling their cages over. The strawberry patch has turned into the strawberry/pigweed/clover patch. The tomatillo has gone crazy. It has grown straight up, then split, calloused over, and reminds me of Sigmond the Sea Monster because it's so large and all over the place, with hundreds of tiny tomatillos hanging off of it.

In a few weeks, my vegetables will face their ultimate test as they are every August. While we're away, they will not only be neglected, but will not even get a regular watering. Only the strong will survive. Stay posted to hear how this story ends...

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