Our potager has had me underwhelmed this season. I like the challenge of trying new things and wondering whether it's going to work for me or not. So far, this growing season proves to not be working for me. However, I am trying to take this experience in full to learn something from it. As Bean and I began, we had to learn how to coordinate our schedules for watering and weeding. The heat quickly escalated, growing more intense every day and we floundered a bit. This showed in our garden, surprise, surprise.
In terms of planting seeds properly, we did do a better job than I did last year. Last year, I simply threw seeds in the ground, watered every day and waited for something, anything, to sprout--this proved to be extremely fruitful despite my complete lack of knowledge and experience. Unfortunately, this year, any plants that did sprout soon wilted and died due to heat exhaustion, the number one weather-related killer in the United Sates. Disappointment followed. So, while I was away for a weekend in June, Bean attemped to replant. Mannie, who I'd consider to be the most experienced gardner in our Sandoval DUG community, was keeping an eye on Bean as she was replanting. He approached her, hunched over, digging in the dirt and asked, "What are you trying to do?"
I laughed when Bean told me this as he might as well have said, "Novice, much?" He ended up helping us out quite a bit. I returned to the garden to find walkways and more clear distinctions of what was planted where. Out of everything we'd initially planted, the sunflowers, cilantro, beets, rainbow chard, radishes, carrots and jalepenos are growing. Bean planted more beets, and put a tomato plant in a neighboring pot. But, nothing is flourishing near as much as it did last year. To compare, by this time last year, I had so many beets and carrots I didn't know what to do with them. Right now, I can count on two hands how many beets and carrots are in the ground, and they don't even look good enough to take a picture of.
A cantaloupe plant, perhaps? Eggplant? We just don't know. Occasionally this summer, in watchfulness, the thought has crossed my mind, "Is this more work than it's worth? Am I even going to gain anything from this growing season?" Watering and wondering this morning, something brought an immediate smile to my face: a bright green jalepeno.
I was reminded me of a quote my Mom used to tell me, a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson. "Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience." Although it's been months, and only a few jalepeno's and tomatoes have been eaten, I've learned each year in the garden is surprisingly different and growing pains can be painful.