Saturday, July 10, 2010


Sometime very early this morning, the sound of the storm beginning worked its way into my still sleeping mind. By the time I got out of bed, it had been raining for perhaps a few hours. I was so relieved to look out the window and see my garden completely soaked. As I drank my coffee I thought about what a precarious life it is to depend upon rain arriving in a timely fashion for one's food crops to survive- the kind of existence the settlers lived, but also which many people around the world still live today. I feel fortunate to have the ability to turn a knob and water my garden when it needs it. But I also feel a responsibility not to abuse that ability. I've lost a lot of plants this year because I have refused to water that which I cannot eat.

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.


  1. I can so relate to what you are saying here. We always have a dry spell during the summer and this year I'm kicking myself for not getting the garden mulched this spring. Of course there were reasons, but I've vowed that next year I need to make a better effort at it. I agree that it's a good time to evaluate plants and types that do well in this kind of weather. Saving the seeds of the strongest survivors too, makes sense.

  2. I love your garden sensibility and sensitivity. Read back through old posts, laughed, smiled, nodded my head, yes, I think we have very similar likes and dislikes.

    Wonderful dropping into your world,

    Sharon Lovejoy Writes from Sunflower House and a Little Green Island

  3. Leigh, I didn't mulch the new garden, so I can relate to the problems you're having there. We had so much rain in the spring- which means slugs here- that I just didn't want to give the darn slugs any additional cover. Now I'm paying for it. One day I will learn how to balance these things out! I hope.

    Sharon, Wow! Thanks so much for such a wonderful compliment. I have been a fan of your work for some time, so it's really quite an honor to me for you to stop by.