“Growing food, we forget, comprises the original solar technology: calories produced by means of photosynthesis.” Michael Pollan,“Why bother?” (2008)
Our tiny backyard is perfect for relaxing in on a summer afternoon. Our tall majestic maple keeps the hot sun away. But it is too shady to grow veggies. So we got a plot at one of our village’s community gardens instead.
Last summer was dry and the tomato plants were a bust. This summer they all burst into ripeness at once.
I had been taking an approach of benign neglect to our small plot.
Each year, I find myself doing a bit more weeding. Peer pressure works.
This summer the plots next to us were now fully subscribed and neatly planted. I could not have our patch looking like we didn’t care!
I also discovered that bringing lots of compost from our home to our garden plot invites volunteer cantaloupe, squash and zucchini vines to sprout…everywhere. Our compost must not have cooked enough last winter. I let the mystery vines grow to displace the weeds…and to find out what they were.
But, in just one week, those vines jumped out of my plot and invaded the neighbor’s. Yikes! Now, I always garden with an sharp knife!
When I harvested rhubarb stalks, I’d cut off the rhubarb leaves and lay them between the tomatoes to knock down the weeds. This tactic is limited by how much rhubarb you plant. I ran out of rhubarb in week 4 with 8 weeks of growing season left. Oops.
Our big success in 2018 was introducing nine square feet of wild flowers in an empty corner of the plot. I got the Plan It Wild pollinator kit with ten native wild flower plants. I followed Amanda’s excellent instructions. By early November, I had eight robust wild flowers-80% survival rate is a new high for me! Each one looks very determined to come back next spring. Don’t you think so?