Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Tuesday, 07 August 2007 - Matters of opinion

Dear God:

Today, I am thankful for matters of opinion.

[Background: I belong to a Yahoo! group that promotes "compacting" - a movement where, in an attempt to reduce senseless consumerism, people consciously choose not to buy anything unless it's used (exempt items include food and medicine). Anyway, it's an interesting group, and I've learned a lot about how to rectify my wasteful ways.]

Everything is relative ... as in "one man's treasure is another man's trash."

On June 2, a compactor asked everyone for garden reports. Compactors love home-grown food.

I initially thought, "Great. It's the beginning of June. We're all beginning the great gardening challenge of 2007 together."

I felt pretty good about my garden, having just planted the young tomato and pepper plants and watermelon seedlings (in Colorado, experienced gardeners don't plant until after May 15 - the last day, theoretically, that we will have a hard frost.) Yes, my garden was definitely a "treasure" in the making.

Then, I read this post.
Re: garden report

This week I've eaten artichokes, raspberries, snap peas and snow peas, strawberries, mint, lemon verbena, kale, collards, broccoli, and garlic from the garden. I harvested my first potatoes yesterday, as well as a green tomato that broke off while I was putting a cage around one plant.

In the past week, the tomato plants have turned into monsters ... The tomatoes I planted in mid-February are dense thickets, though still under 4 ft. high.

The bush beans are coming up, and this weekend I need to plant more pole beans, sunflowers, squash, cucumbers, basil, and maybe even a crop of summer peas.

I cut back the comfrey stems that had bloomed, and used them to mulch some older strawberry plants. I was surprised to find 30 blooming stems on my biggest comfrey plant. Toward the end of the day, I always see hummingbirds visiting the comfrey flowers.
Show-off! She must live in Southern California or a southern state.

I went outside and surveyed my humble garden, embarrassed by the lack thereof. I had serious concerns that we would enjoy even a little harvest this year. I'm sure that, upon seeing my long face, Thoreau would have asked me where I had lost my "faith in a seed."

Days passed. I watered and fed the plants, still muttering under my breath about the other garden. But, as soon as the first tomato blossoms appeared, I forgot about her garden and concentrated on mine. Gardening, after all, is not a competition.

I think that Colorado's gardening challenges will always frustrate me. The clay soil. The short growing season. The intense sunshine and heat. The high altitude. The August monsoons. The pesky deer.

It's been over twenty years since I planted my first garden. In many respects, I am just a novice. Everyday, as I work in my garden, the age-old lessons continue: learn to persevere and translate failure into experience.

As for planting tomatoes in February? I still think it's unfair.

For this blessing, I am grateful.


Photo: Mariachi peppers

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