I noticed a FB post from one of my favorite nurseries. They have tomatoes, hot peppers, and other warm season vegetables for sale. I understand that lots of people like to get an early start on the spring season. It works, especially around here, and probably especially if you put them in pots (since we often get that singular, late, killing frost). But given the current state of my vegetable garden, it annoyed me.
Where are my lettuces? I sowed so many! I suppose it’s possible – dare I say, likely -- that I raked the seedlings out with the weeds, even though I tried to be careful. There were just so many weeds. They were practically popping up over night.
It’s not that early tomatoes don’t sound nice. They do. But the days are still cool. I’m just not ready to give up on beautiful salad greens.
So, in a fit of rebellion, I pulled out all stops. That is to say, I pulled out all of my seed packets. Decided to throw caution to the wind. What does it matter? I’d might as well try a little of everything. I sowed seeds I didn’t sow last year, some not since 2016, when my little garden was new. I sowed generously – endive, mesclun, romaine, oakleaf lettuces. I planted fava beans where cabbage failed to grow. I sowed more sweet little radishes. And what happened to the kale, which I certainly did sow in late fall? I scattered a different variety. And my leeks didn’t come up, so I sowed more of them. Now, I curiously wait to see what will happen with both the garden and the weather.
And I do have the one happy veggie bed.
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. 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.