There are cottage gardens and English gardens and xeriscaped gardens and children’s gardens and on and on and on. Ever been in The Garden of Whatever? This post was originally released last year but, in case you’re feeling the gardening blues, I’m re-releasing it in honor of all us garden nerds! The perfect gardens really only live in our heads – come be with me in the garden of whatever and feel better about your own garden…
What happens in the garden, stays in the garden
See if you recognize yourself in these words from Sharon Astyk, author of What did I do when we needed a path through a wall of vines and plastic trellis panels for our ducks and their people to waddle through? Duh, I got the Sawsall and we made a doorway. Whatever. It totally looks like we were being artsy fartsy with an archway of vines.
What about the carrots that went to seed? Forget about it, I totally remembered they were there and let them go to seed on purpose. Biennials require planning, you know.
What’s that about the Purslane growing in amongst the artichokes? Of course, I meant for it to grow there; it will all be out and fed to the animals before the artichokes get too much bigger. I grow Purslane whenever I can because it has the highest protein count of any land plant. I’m smart about plants.
So smart, in fact, that I decided to let the radish and lettuce go to seed last year and then let that seed drop or fly where it would so that I could deliberately grow lettuce in the rows between my vegetable beds. Some plants are just born free, man; let it be.
Last year’s potatoes were a test, an exercise in the name of horticulture, to see if we could get them to grow in layers of straw. We didn’t fail miserably, we simply found a way not to grow potatoes. The chicken wire that held all that useless straw in place was still there around the old potato bed and, lo and behold, there were leftover potatoes leafing out so we just stuck some cardboard and feed bags between the wire and the soil and started piling it up over the stalks to encourage tuber growth. Whatever. It’s sound science to run trials with similar variables but different parameters. Right?!
As Miss Sharon says, “Am I panicked? Nope. Guilty? Nope. But only because I’ve been here so often that I’ve gotten pretty comfortable with the reality. All the perfect gardens live in my head, and the truth is, every year’s garden is totally messed up. The thing is, I end up eating a lot of food from that messed up garden, and it does get better every year. Or at least every year without sheep in the front yard.”
Amen, Sister. Did I ever mention I’m a Master Gardener. Bwa haa haa!
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