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It’s been a while since I’ve updated the goings on in my garden. To be honest, I became quite disheartened. The drought combined with knee pain made it difficult to hand water the plot to extent that I should have; hence, most things failed to thrive. Even the seemingly robust zucchini’s flowers failed to do anything vegetative.The peppers survived and grew, however, and I plan to pick the veg soon.

The herbs were dogged, but dried out. I’ll find some pots and see if I can get them going at home over the winter.

I learned a lot with this experiment. Gardening is similar to child rearing in that everyone has an opinion on how it ought to be done. People are also willing to give you theirs! Charlie, my regular customer, showed up one day with a bag FULL of lovely tomatoes, zuchinis, peppers and herbs. (I really do love bookselling.)

She was also brimming with encouragement that next year would be different. I’m hopeful it will, but it depends a great deal on water. As I’ve recently been diagnosed with arthritis, I’m less willing to haul water upstairs to make up for the lack of rain. The irrigation problem must be solved before I invest time and money next year. That said, I’m thinking more peppers and container flowers.

We shall see.


Nip and Tuck

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As much as I love the rainy weather of late, it seems that late is the operative word. Out of the approximately eight tomato plants, I’m left with barely three (one is on life support). Charlie, one of my regular customers, took a look at the garden and gave me some tips. She picked the yellowing stems off the hardiest tomato plant, looked askance at the weaker two, and pronounced the rest dead or dying. We’re hopeful that this act of horticultural triage will bear fruit.

I’ve reused the stakes to prop up the flourishing pepper plants. Lots of flowers there, so I’m hoping to see some green and red veg. The carrots and leeks seem to be just leaves, but that’s their nature: the prize is underground. The grasshopper must have patience. The zucchini plant is growing by leaps and bounds, but no actual zucchini. Again with the patience.

I pulled one of the thyme plants. The rest of the herbs are limping along with the basil in the lead. They boast some flowers, which isn’t always what you want, but I’ll take it.

As for the the floral part of the garden, I think it’s safe to say it’s done. The marigolds are hardy, but they will have to be pulled and potted. The petunias have been reduced to one plant. Sigh.

There’s always next year, right?


A Little Addition

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Future tomatoesAs you may have noticed, parts of sourthern Ontario are going through a prolonged dry spell. Most gardeners can overcome this by simply watering with a hose. For me, however, it’s a little more labour intensive as I must fill a watering can from the basement tap and lug it up to the garden. It takes about five to seven cans to water everything I’ve planted, which doesn’t include the foliage that was already there. The first few times were okay. But trying to do this every day or even every other day has proven difficult not just logistically but also physically. My knee isn’t happy nor are my back, shoulder, and arm; hence, the slow or lack of horticultural results for which I feel stupidly guilty. Fortunately a solution is in the works. I did manage to get out today and found two little flowers on my tallest tomato plant as well as a couple on my zucchini. Fingers crossed for fruit.Future zucchinis

In the meantime, I’ve been entrusted with an Arabica coffee plant. My coworker, John, was given the plant by a customer to whom he returned a missing cellphone. A lovely gesture, but John has a bit of a brown thumb. So I offered to take the little sprout in. From what I can see, it’s an indoor plant that requires a quite a bit of attention: Sun, but not a lot. Water, but drain excess. Fertilize, but moderately. A drama queen in a pot. And you can’t consume the results. What the hell? What’s the point of a coffee plant if you can’t drink the coffee? That’s like decaf or dealcoholized beer! I hope it’s aromatic . . . or produces flowers at the very least. Time to do some research.

Growing Up

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Stakes well-done

My little plants need stakes now! At least the tomatoes do. Soon they’ll be growing up and reproducing. Yikes! Does this mean I have to tell them about the birds and the bees? I mean, I talk to them anyway (“C’mon, little guy, you can do it!), but not about (ahem) sex. That could be embarrasing. How does one explain pollen or proboscis? Hmm. Bet there’s a book in the shop about that.

See? Not just Brits like Brussels.

Meanwhile, they need water during this dry summer. And some pest control. Apparently, some green larvae thought the leaves of my sprouts were tasty. Sorry, lavae, no one but me gets to eat my Brussels (not true, but you get my meaning). I plan to follow Ed Lawrence’s recipe on bug-icide. He is the gardening expert on the CBC’s Ontario Today .

Squint and you’ll see a bud.

Also, on Sunday I saw a flower on one green pepper and buds on the others! I’m thrilled to bits about this. Such a tiny thing brings such joy. I just wish my herbs would grow bushier. We shall see. I’ve scheduled to check in on them every day for next few weeks to make up for the lack of rain.

One of the fun side effects of the garden is the interest my co-workers are showing. Stacey gives me updates each time he sees me: “The carrots look good. When do you know they’re ready?” It’s really encouraging. He was duly impressed with the the flower on the pepper plant, as he should be.

And So . . . We Wait

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Gardening is a game of patience as Mother Nature will not be hurried. Each time I poke my head out to monitor my plants’ progess, I’m rewarded with what they haven’t done: died, wilted, given up. Ok, silver lining, I guess. But when I see the little fellas acutally perk up and stand tall (as tall as a few inches of green could at this point), I have hope that all is not lost. The Brussel sprout plants seem to be getting bigger. The tomatoes have stood their ground. Even the zucchini have risen up to prove that they may still yield . . . something. Even my marigolds and petunias may prove me wrong. Where I figured they had drowned, I now see little buds. And what’s more? The plot is largely weed-free! Sure the odd little thing pokes up and there are a couple of stubborn fixtures, but over all, the only thing TLC that my garden needs is for me to stand back and wait. And so . . . we wait.



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