Merlot Mudpies

Can a blog be about gardening, cancer, family, food and life all at the same time? Oh good.

A Garden Update July 30, 2008


I was a little heartsick about my garden on my return trip from Oklahoma and have been avoiding writing about it as a result. But, time has shown me that my inexperience made things seem worse than they really were, and that I have a lot to learn and look forward to out at dear Ivey Ranch.

I know it sounds strange, given the very reasons I started this blog, to say this but, I’d forgotten that death was a necessary part of the cycle in regards to my garden. I had been so focused on the flourishing, burgeoning, amazing growth I encountered every day in my garden that I mentally shoved away any of the thoughts of what to do when my plants were spent…or even the fact that they would indeed be spent at some point.

We were gone for a full week and when I returned to my plot, I was shocked. My plants, for the most part, were barely alive and many had been infested by aphids and white mold. I did, indeed, lose a few: My sugar pumpkins are gone, though I did harvest 5 ripe pumpkins when I pulled the plants. My corn was so riddled with aphids I had to wear gloves to harvest the ears. We ended up, however, with about 45 ears. I lost my red bells and some potatoes entirely. My lavender is just about done. My tomatoes had begun to die back, but they have responded well to frequent and deep watering since my return. Ryan has been incredibly understanding about my need to go out nearly every day right now. It took me three days and several plot mates taking some of them to catch up on the tomato harvest. I’ve since perfected my salsa and tomatillo salsa verde recipes as a result. I just did NOT know what to do with them all. (My dad, I must say, is a champion tomato help-mate in these cases. He polished off an impressive amount of tomatoes for me with a glimmer and a smile. I have a whole new basket bound his way this weekend…) I was forced to cut back my zucchini and yellow squash quite severely as white mold has set in. I need to get my soil healthy and figure out a fix for white mold before I plant in that particular bed again.

All in all, I did lose things. However, the beauty of it all is that, after a few tears of frustration and surprise (I blame jet lag), my mind immediately leaped forward to renewing soil, planting new seeds, trying new things, and redesigning the set-up of my beds.

We harvested all our corn and distributed what we couldn’t eat to very thankful neighbors and I have some watermelons about to come in within the next week or two, as well.

I’m aware as I write this that it’s not well organized, thought out, or written. But it’s been sitting in my chest, waiting to be explained so that I can begin blogging again without its blocking anything else I wanted to say.

So there it is. You can’t escape the cycle of life. But in the dying back of one thing, the beginning of another is allowed…there is a certain reassurance and beauty in that which makes me smile and I’ll get into more later.

In the meantime, this is my sugarbowl watermelon — the first from my garden and, truly, one of the best watermelons I’ve ever eaten.

Sugar Bowl Watermelon, Grown Organically

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2 Responses to “A Garden Update”

  1. Ani Says:

    Clearly you have not seen the death and destruction i have caused in my gardens sans white mold and aphids. I’m surprised I haven’t been sent to prison for murder.

  2. Melinda Says:

    I’m so sorry you lost so much! I always fear when I leave for even a few days that something horrible will happen to the garden – we get so used to noting the little intimate details and changes every day, and we can react to them before things get out of hand. But to leave for days or weeks – yikes! – it’s difficult. But it sounds like you are beginning to heal. “But in the dying back of one thing, the beginning of another is allowed…there is a certain reassurance and beauty in that which makes me smile” I love that!

    This week’s Growing Challenge post is up – will you come by and share a few words about your garden? Here’s the link.


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