Monday, July 27, 2015

Spider Season

Oh, my goodness.

This evening I picked a good half-gallon or more of beans (Northeaster and Golden Gate Wax), two large and lovely heads of broccoli (compliments of my Dad), my first stout cucumber of the season (with a couple more nearly ready), another zucchini, and a handful (or mouthful) or two of sweet peas and raspberries, along with a couple bright cherry tomatoes, and maybe a leaf of something here and there. A nice light dinner.

All the hugely sprawling tomatoes are now neatly staked and tied, after being flattened by rains and wind last weekend (and after weeks of neglect), the basil is growing in for a second cutting (half-pints of pesto already in the freezer for pizza and what-not), and there's room yet to plant more, for the fall season...kale and chard and winter greens, short-season broccoli, whatever else I can squeeze in...

My raised beds are a beautiful thing, and have far exceeded my expectations. A dear friend (aka "batman") was inspired/crazy enough to build them for me last Spring, and they are not only gorgeous but deliciously productive, due (no doubt) in part to their being filled to the brim with free composted horse manure, acquired via craigslist from a couple of friendly ladies and their farms, located out to the West of here. Everything grows like mad in those beds, and not only are they perfectly solidly square (including the exceedingly handy 2x6 top rail/shelf/stand/bench which I adore) but also perfectly lovely, with their corrugated metal sides that catch the sunlight and the houselight and the moonlight, from time to time. I totally dig them.

The rest of the gardens are coming along, too...they've been a bit of a mess this year, with as much rain as we've had until recently, and everything growing tall and flopping over onto its neighbors. I made an effort this year and last to fill all the space, and succeeded to a large extent, but there's (always) more left to do and I've realize that some of my choices about what to plant where may have been less than ideal. The blackberries I transplanted from the tiny shaded strip on the north side of my house over to the NW corner have thrived, in a way, but have already become unruly and so ambitiously large that I cut them back by half and they're still overrunning everything next to them.  The lovage I transplanted to a more central location was quite lovely this Spring, until it shot up to seven feet and fell over, heavy with seed. The borage I let go everywhere is a feast for all the bees and pollinators that grace my garden, but it gets all over everywhere and smothers what's around it, as does its cousin comfrey, which I've spread from place to place... I finally cut it back over the weekend and ended up with a good three big brown bags of cuttings, if not more. The marshmallow, too, grew tall and then flattened itself and its sweet pink blossoms, leaning onto the asparagus which finally seems to be recovering its vitality...they're now propped up again, though looking awkward. There's chamomile and catnip and sorrel and arugula and feverfew and more, all of them leggy and stretching out every which way, which is not what I had in mind when I put them in. I may have to rethink and replant, in order to create a more sustainable architecture. I'm willing to cut back and prop up to some extent, but ideally I'd like to let things mostly go on their own, and minimize the maintenance. There's so much else that needs maintaining...

The peach and plum are covered in fruit this year, and both are ripening to gorgeous shades of, well, peach and plum... though I fear the ruthless rodents will set upon them soon, and it may be time to experiment with that whole rubber snake idea. Anything to keep them away, and unfortunately shooting them is less of an option in the city, seeing as how I don't have a pellet gun and it's not really legal to use one here.

It truly amazes me how bountiful this little yard of mine is... I've got more than I can keep up with, and more vegetables this year than I can eat. There are bees and butterflies and bats and birds of all sorts, and more insects and spiders (suddenly it seems) than I can count. There's something about having things growing and alive all around you, that keeps things real...

Ah, so, that's really all I've got this evening. I'd hoped to share a little about my recent and wonderful trip to the Lake with my family, and to wax philosophical about various things, and I know I've left out about a zillion things going on in the garden...but I'm past ready for bed at this early hour, so this will just have to do. Things could be better, but they could be worse. Gratitude for all the things that keep growing, and much love.

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