Ok, not actually a valley, more like a 10 ft by 2 ft stretch of dirt and a few odd containers. And, yes, I am very nauseated this morning, been happenning too often of late. If there was a womb at the Inn, I would think I was pregnant. But I am not, so lets talk about my garden instead.
At the beginning of the season I started seeds for Daikon, Red Winter Kale, Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Swiss Chard, Summer Squash, Winter Squash (Spaghetti Squash) , Cantaloupe, Yellow Dandelion, Cucumbers, Basil, Mint, and Arugula. (I also planted a bunch of sunflower seeds directly in the left side of my garden and wild flower mix on the right from which one one sunflower actually grew and is now thriving.LOL)
I mixed 1/3 compost with 2/3 organic potting soil and carefully placed one to two seeds in each little starter pot, watered every third day and waited and watched them sprout. Then I watched my mint get invaded by spider mites and die, and my Dandelion just never really take off and grow, but all the rest got pretty and green and ready for a real garden.
When it came time to plant them in my purchased community garden, my plot was already planted with someone else’s plants, I could get no answer form the garden custodian, so I took them back home and I decided to try them (again) in the raised dirt garden section at the back of my yard. I had tried my first gardening experiment there last year. The dirt was so dead there weren’t even any bugs and I bought some organic fertilizer but my brown thumb and the dead dirt won out and everything died within a week of transplant.
Well, almost everything, my aloe although not thriving did come back and one plant actually bloomed this year.
So, back to this year. I reviewed my desert gardening book, the stuff I’d learned in class and I carefully spaced and transplanted everything into the left side of the garden. I planted on the left because over the course of the fall and winter I had been cutting in my compost as it ripened and I knew it was working, life was returning to this dead, dead soil because I would see the occasional worm when I played in the dirt. I was really proud of all my work and the plants that survived the transplant looked pretty good. (Um, Citified Brown Thumb struck here as well, my broccoli and brussel sprouts just withered up and died.)
Then a roadrunner AND a local feral kitty (both of whom have not been back for three weeks, hopefully due to heat not predators) both decided it was their duty to tease my dogs.
First came the cat, strutting back and forth along the back wall just out of dog reach. I am sure he was taunting them in a voice only dogs can hear, or maybe it was hte message of his staccato tail swish. The dogs could not resist and gave chase, back and forth, both 110 lb dogs. They had made two complete trips through the middle of the muddy plants (of course I had just watered) before I could get them out of the garden and back on the lawn. I tried to set things up and hoped for the best. Some of the plants were gonna make it when the road runner stopped by.
My garden was destroyed. Every plant was broken and dug up. Partly the devastation was my fault because the whole coyote, roadrunner skit happening in my back yard had me rolling on the ground laughing too hard to sound to serious about the dogs stopping. And believe me, that bird was never in any danger.
I accepted my gardening defeat at this point, leveled the soil again and consoled myself with harvesting my first real crop ever from my Arugula which I container garden, so was unaffected.
The once upon a time garden continued to be watered because I use an old fashioned circular style sprinkler which waters some places by accident as well as the intended target, plus it was still spring and raining occasionally.
Well, what do you know right after one of the good storms I noticed things started to grow. Maybe they were seeds that didn’t germinate, or maybe they were the old root systems just hanging in and re-establishing growth. Funny thing was, now I didn’t know what any of the plants were, because my Lab and Retriever had truly rearranged all the dirt and plants. I pulled the ones I knew were weeds and waited to see what would happen.
Funny it is that my accidental garden seems to be my most successful to date. When the serious heat hit, my friend Regina helped me lay down a small drip circuit and currently at least one cantaloupe, a half dozen summer squash, and a winter squash or two are growing and ripening in my little garden. A million little bugs and I are sorting out which ones help and which one hurt, the ground squirrels have feasted regularly on all but the squash leaves but I have still harvested Chard, Collard, Arugula and radish twice. I have even shared a salad of the Arugula and a harvest of greens.
The chard and collards are done for the season I think, but what do I know.
Nothing when it comes to gardening, obviously. Like most things in my life, the best stuff happens when I show up, follow directions and release the result.
My arugula was just thinned and sprayed for the spider mite/flies that love my inside plants and I am starting my pumpkins inside now for transplant in a month so they are nice and ready in Oct, November.
I keep taking pictures of my melon, knowing a lot can happen between now and the table but enjoying the process.
And learning, ever so slowly by failing forward to become a successful suburban Homesteader.