The Best Laid Plans
For most of our marriage, and particularly over the last 14 years or so, my wife and I have kept a garden. The majority of it falls into the vegetable category, but with an assortment of berries, melons, grapes and apples, fruit has been well represented, too.
Prior to this summer, we were able to keep up with it even though my wife had been working for four years and I was gone the better part of a summer and all of the fall at school during one of those. When I was home, I would spend time out there, and so would she.
Since mid-June, though, both of us have been working. That meant I was around when it came time in May to get the garden going, but wasn't around as much except for Saturdays to tend to the garden. When she didn't work, we often did something else. When it was just me, I opted for other things, too, including trying to catch up on STEEM.
So, weeds that would normally be rooted out of a bed so the intended plants could grow unencumbered were pretty much allowed to grow along side the ones my wife planted. One bed never really got anything in it, even though I actually tilled it. And on it goes.
So Now It's October
And here I am, talking about the garden.
I probably wouldn't have bothered, but I noticed some peculiarities while I was out in it feeling sorry for it and kind of lamenting what might have been. I thought I would share these oddities.
The first has to do with this cantaloupe plant. You will notice that it is growing out of the corner along the fence line. What's strange about it is, the cantaloupe was not planted there. In fact, I'm not even sure where it was meant to be planted, or even if it was planted. My wife seemed surprised to find it there in late August and the two or three cantaloupes she got off of it probably reflect the fact that it was not intended to grow there.
They were pretty much spoiled by the time she got to them. I found another one, about the size of a softball still attached to the vine. I'm not sure what's going to happen to it. We haven't hit a frost yet, but the temperatures have dropped significantly over the last 10 days, so who knows where they'll be in another ten. Maybe I'll go out and rescue it.
Towards the end of August, I saw that the leaves on the grapevines were making a comeback after my wife essentially dismantled the earlier growth back in July. I can't remember why, but I was surprised, since we've let them grow every year. So, what do I discover, but some baby grapes taking form, despite the whacking the vines got and in spite of the lateness of the start and downturn in temperatures.
It was somewhere back in late February, maybe even early March, on a day where the sun had come out and it was a little warmer that I pruned this apple tree. Prior to that, the branches were all of varying length and heading in all kinds of directions, including over the fence. My wife wanted it chopped earlier, as in the year before, but I never got around to it and didn't particularly want to do it when I did, thinking it might be too late.
Well, that didn't stop the tree. The leaves came in sometime in April, and the apples began falling off sometime in June, just like they always do. The apples aren't the best for straight up eating, but they do make a decent pie filling or applesauce. Like a lot of everything else, we never got around to using the apples.
In the foreground are tomatillos, which are still trying to grow, even with less sun and cooler weather. That isn't so much the oddity as it is the fact that it seems to be growing from out from underneath the zucchini plant, which sits in the background. Again, a plant where it wasn't supposed to be. We had plenty of zucchini again, but I don't remember seeing much of the tomatillos. I think I know why. They were hiding until a couple of weeks or so ago.
These are the raspberries. Ones that my wife wiped out last year, down to the starter sticks. They decided they'd come back, too. It hasn't been a bountiful harvest, but she has brought in a couple small containers worth of ripe but baby-sized raspberries over the last two months. They don't usually last this long, either, but here they are.
There Is A Season
The plants just aren't ready to die off yet. Which is interesting since a lot of the garden we wanted didn't quite get anywhere. Our tomato plants did poorly, we didn't get a whole lot of chilies, maybe a handful of potatoes, and the strawberries are still trying to grow back from a couple of years ago when my wife got to them.
Recurring theme? Yes, definitely.
I can't really blame her, though. Every time she's cut something down or rooted it up, it's been for the good of the garden. Some of it is just taking longer than others to recuperate.
I'm not quite sure what to make of any of this, other than Man has his plans and then Nature pretty much does what she wants. Especially if said man is busy with other things. It takes work to bend nature to man's will, or at least to find some harmony. A little more nurture, a little more time spent, a little more attention, who knows what could have been.
Yes, there's always next year.
Or it could be that the garden doesn't get put in at all. I don't know if I like the sound of that, even if I am kind of slow and hard to motivate when it comes time to getting out there. Too many other things I'd rather be doing. Until it comes time to partaking of the fruits of one's labor. Without the work, there's not much eating. Some wayward cantaloupes, some late blooming tomatillos, a handful of raspberries and some immature grapes.
Maybe I'll appreciate it more when April rolls around and we're deciding what we're doing. I'd like to think so. My parents had a garden growing up, which instilled in me a desire to have one. While the harvests my wife and I have experienced have never been huge, they've helped to offset some of the food bill, especially fresh vegetables. I think it's worth the effort. It's just a matter of having the time and taking it.
All images courtesy of Glen Anthony Albrethsen. All were taken on an iPhone 6s.