Saturday, July 10, 2010
In a way, this heat and drought has been an opportunity in the garden. This environment has forced plants to really fight for it and has made choosing which plants to save seed from far easier than it might be under more accommodating circumstances. For example, shortly after the first bean planting was up and looking good, some critter (bunnies, I suspect) went through the entire bed nibbling off all the leaves and chewing the stems to nubs. Only three plants were left with leaves on them. Fortunately, two of those were the Golden Rod Bush Beans I had planted the last of and hope to save seed from. A burst a hopefullness and the inability to force myself to look at the carnage again combined to result in me leaving that bed alone to see what would happen. Maybe some of the nubs would come back?
Miraculously, most of the nubs came back. Some of those plants have done ridiculously well and are now sporting beans. Those plants have been marked for seed saving because, honestly, a gardener can't ask for more from a plant than to survive and produce through bunny attacks, neglect, extreme heat and drought. Similarly, in the new garden some of the tomatoes are really taking off while others, like the Romas, are struggling. Same thing with the peppers, all of which I nearly lost to insect damage early on. So, while it is a worry and a pain to garden through a summer like this one has been so far, it is also a blessing to be able to select for seed from plants that are really outdoing themselves under these circumstances. And the best thing about it is the seeds are free, and no lab is required to produce them.