My head is hung in shame.
My heart aches.
My thumb, once green, is withering on the vine.
Who am I?
Where did I stray?
Look away! I am not the farmer I hoped to be.
Yes, the four tomato plants are toppling over with lush, green, leafy branches, but alas, we have enjoyed five tomatoes this season. Five!? And four of them were the tiny yellow, pear tomatoes. Hardly a mouthful.
I was going to try canning. Ha!
I was going to make sauces, salsas, ketchup, pizzas, sundried tomatoes, tomato soup! I was going to share tomatoes with you, and you.
The beds were amended. I have added organic fertilizer. I hand plucked the aphids and caterpillars. I hand water, talking to the cucumbers, carrots, and beans with loving kindness, growing persuasion. Maybe I should shut up.
Not one pepper. Barely enough basil for two pesto dinners. An anemic sage.
We love Baba Ghanoush so we planted our first eggplants. They are tall, they flower... they will never satisfy our Baba Ghanoush appetite.
For all my tender, loving care, here is the fruit of my labors. I will be grateful if it grows and ripens, but honestly, this is the world's most expensive produce.
We enjoyed one single, solitary, delicious zucchini. The end.
Doesn't that seem impossible? Who ever plants zucchini and ends up with zero, zilch, nada? No endless platters of zucchini dishes, no bags full of giveaway zucchinis. No zucchini bread. No monster sized-overgrown-can't eat another-zucchini crisis. It's so sad.
No pictures of my stunted, withered, sorry zucchini plant. It's too pathetic.
I could cry.
This is a
The bees came. They buzz around still. The flowers on the bean vines see plenty of action, but I couldn't serve one plate of green beans. The corn is as high as
I have kept some kind of garden since about 1977, when a friend and neighbor left me her seeds and cuttings. Genie. Of course my garden love goes back to all the beautiful gardens my mother kept. In a dozen or more homes, condos, apartments, I have tried to grow something. In pots, or barrels, in fields, along fences, in tight quarters, and wide beds... I have planted seeds. And I think of other people's gardens with awe and admiration... Grandma Nancy's flowers and veggies, her concord grapes, Grandma Eunice's geraniums, Abuela's lime tree, her fig tree, Anne's, Karen's, Janice's, Gary and Laura's garden. Time, passion, experience, reverence, books, love... it's all there.
The last six years have been my most challenging gardening years... no space at the TreeHouse, the careless Garage Mahal landlord, and so my eagerness to unleash all of my gardening dreams on this home have been quite potent and full bodied.
And because of all my garden love, garden experience, garden books, garden hopes, garden anticipation, it has been a bit embarrassing, kind of humbling, to finally have a decent opportunity at growing and harvesting, and come up with such sorry results. Even my smaller harvests of years ago, were satisfying and good. But five tomatoes, and three pumpkins are not measuring up to all my hopes, and expectations. Thank goodness we are not actually dependent on this harvest.
I have rarely, if ever, been able to plant more than two years in the same place, so every garden has been a new experience in soil, sun, and seasons. There is a definite disadvantage in this.
This summer has included a total of fourteen sunny days. Only fourteen. It is drizzling now. This is adding up to the greatest summer that never was. I cannot do much for that. Gardens need sun.
This is a new space, with new soil, and new atmospheric indicators to learn and adapt to. One bad growing season is a crushing disappointment, but so it goes, right? I think the beds will improve with more mulch and some help from chica sweepings (aka the "poop deck.") Certainly, we can hope next summer the sun comes out. For sure I would anticipate having a great cool season, when peas and lettuce will thrive, right?
What I am trying to say is: It can't be all my fault. I must have learned something about growing stuff. I have been successful in the past. And it's not that I ever bragged or considered myself a master gardener, but gee wiz... you know? I really would like to dispel my doubts and self disappointment. I would like to believe I wasn't fooling myself, posing as a capable gardener, only a wishful farmer.
That is all.
I return to contemplation.