Thursday, August 14, 2008

In spite of weeds, some vegetables survived!

Seriously, I brought the secateurs, warned by the humor with which my friend the Duchess of 78A had queried just *how long* it had been since I'd succeeded in getting some garden time...I should have brought a machete. I kid you not, the weeds - in particular the 'fat hen,' milkweed, and yellow foxtail grass were as tall as I am. Sadly, I am not one of the more diminutive examples of my gender, so those grasses were tall. I should have taken photos, but I was on a mission {"...Must. Clear. Weeds..."}, and honestly although I am willing to admit that the sad state to which my garden has fallen is due solely to my neglect, I don't particularly wish to immortalize the image. It's just rather sad. Daunting, actually.

So, I hacked at quite a bit for quite a while, first to just clear a path to the compost bin, hoping to dump my compost, at least, before the purple-grey rumbling cloud of doom looming over the treeline let loose its load of rain and lightning. I managed to drop off the compost, at last, and then did an inventory of the remaining, surviving plants that had at least tolerated the unfair competition from the weeds. The herb garden soldiered on, bravely, considering their relative size. I got a nice bouquet garni from there to take home. The raspberries? "Weeds? What weeds. We have thorns and big canes and big leaves. Pah!" So I ate a few raspberries and moved on.

The potato plants presented a mystery: where'd those beautiful plants go? Damrosch talks about "beautiful flowers" - clearly I had not only missed the blooming (must have happened pretty quickly) but the entire bloom and fade cycle, as not only were there no flowers, there were indeed no remaining plants. Really. A meticulous search of the two beds where in the spring I had gathered them revealed not a trace - not even a leant-over faded corpse of a plant. Nothing. In fact there weren't even any obvious places where the stump of, say, an eaten plant had been, leaving a small hole to the root structure.

Puzzled, I got out the gardening fork. I started digging, tentatively at first, to loosen the soil and explore what might have gone on down there. Finally I gave in and started pawing through the earth with my hands. I discovered 3 reassuring things: 1, that the soil is and remains a good velvety black, and loose (not packed); 2, that big fat earthworms have been happily maintaining things under ground (thanks Loly Worm!) and 3, that in spite of the distinct absence of above-ground plants, I have beautiful, glorious purple potatoes. I harvested a bunch from one section, and will go in search of more this weekend. Hooray! They're so shiny and purple, I'll have to include a photo. Later.

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