Fall is a busy time of year for me. Let me say that again, just to make sure I remember it. Fall is a busy time of year.
Every October, I tell myself to start preparing my vegetable boxes for the cool season. But here in southeast Texas, it’s still hot in October. Whatever plants survived August are still fruiting away and it seems a shame to yank them. And then we get busy or go out of town.
And then bam! It’s November and truly lovely weather finally arrives. And where are my sweet little seedlings? In my head, of course, since I haven’t sown any seeds yet. And I have such a wonderful selection this year.
Our weekend looks busy, as it so often does. But maybe I’ll manage to get in a little gardening time. Sow my radishes – lovely, French radishes – or purple dragon carrots. Or leeks. Something. Anything!
I plot and I plan. I work under dangerous conditions. I am frequently under assault. At times, I might drop everything and run for cover. I strive to work towards the greater good.
Gardening in southeast Texas can be brutal. Heat, humidity, and potentially disease-carrying mosquitoes are problems for more than half the year and a dangerous combination in summer. That’s to say nothing of fire ants and other biting, stinging insects. Snakes, too, although they only make a rare appearance in my little garden. Poison ivy and oak are common and birds sow both generously.
Despite some uncomfortable conditions, I feel very protective of the wild in my garden. It’s important to know friend from foe, for example, venomous from nonvenomous snakes and even then, it’s often not necessary to engage. As for the bugs, it is not fine with us to hurt the good with the bad. Pesticides are banned. So are herbicides. Our beds, whether food or ornamental, are organic. And while our garden isn’t entirely native, we do have plenty of native plants that please the local wildlife as well as ourselves.
While every garden is different, they all offer challenges, pleasures, time with nature. Much like people, they have their good days and bad days, high seasons and low; and they can all be fun and beautiful if you love them enough.