This year’s growing season has been the most challenging to date, partially due to the increased square footage, but also due to events outside of my control. Thus far: deer have devoured the tops off some of my strawberries and bush beans. The native soil in the Sebastopol is so chock-full of grass and clover seed that the only way the beets have had a chance has been to tediously hand-weed the bed. When transplants should have been soaking up sun to kick-start growth, the weather turned and stalled growth with sporadic days of rain. Once, it hailed in the west crop.
It has been rough.
Despite the frustrating sight of powdery mildew affecting some zucchini plants, I try to remind myself that our run of sugar snap peas (~15ft) produced 9.5lbs of crunchy sugar snaps. Despite the poor location I selected for the pumpkin (too much shade) I try to remind myself that I already harvested two seedings of radishes (~20ft). Despite disappointment at the plot of carrots becoming so overrun with grass and clover, such that it was more time-effective to hoe it all away and transplant some summer squash, I try to remind myself that there are 18ft of my first ever potatoes maturing in the ground.
Most frustrating of all, my tomatoes. Many of their leaves curled, expressing their displeasure with my soil, my watering, or something else altogether. The first season I kept records, I harvested almost 100lbs of tomatoes from 6 highly productive plants. This year, I have no idea what to expect, if anything.
Despite all of that, I try to remind myself that: I have stood in the garden bemused as dozens of bees enjoyed the bounty of our pomegranate tree, heavy with flowers. I have quietly watered an adjacent bed, while robins poked around in the straw mulch, dining on all the creepy crawlies who inhabit those little ecosystems. I have walked outside every morning, greeted by warm sun, taller stems, and ever-broadening leaves.
Cultivating seed and soil is a non-stop roller-coaster of “failures” and “successes.” It is a humbling experience; it is not a dictation from man to the earth but rather a collaboration of countless artists that makes for “success.”
And while they don’t always grow right, or how you expect them to, so long as they’re growing, there’s something in the process to savor and enjoy.
(those deer however, can go straight to hell).