Wednesday, August 8, 2012

A Quiet Spell in the Garden

Other than the routine maintenance and periodic harvesting, it's a surprisingly slow period in the garden the past two weeks. It's an in-between time where I seem to have conquered some of the pest insect populations for the time being, and I'm waiting for more than one tomato to ripen at a time.

There are numerous factors that have contributed to this phenomenon:

  • The plants I chose to grow this year - for example, I grew cabbage (harvested a few weeks ago), broccoli (which produces small amounts of broccoli over the course of a few weeks) and Brussels sprouts (to be harvested in late fall). This breaks up the labor of harvesting over a long period of time.
  • The timing of planting - I planted pole beans, cucumbers and eggplants late, so they are not producing yet.
  • Seed packet mislabeling - I planted "carrot" seeds, but dill came up instead.
  • The quirky nature of plant growth, likely influenced by weather and nutrient availability - the okra loves the heat but not cool weather, lettuce hates hot weather, and I think several of my pepper plants have too much nitrogen to bother with producing flowers. My onions are not doing well, but I'm not sure why that might be.
  • Massive weeding operations two weeks ago. I had fallen behind with weeding and enlisted my husband's help to catch back up. For now, it's easier and less time-consuming to keep up on weeding.

So, what to do when you feel like you can take a break from the garden?

  • Go to the farmstand and purchase produce you don't grow in your own yard. Eat peaches, corn and blueberries while they are in season. Or put these splendid fruits and vegetables into your freezer or pantry. I am trying reusable Tattler lids this year for canning, and I am really pleased with how well they seal.
  • Figure out how to use up the fruits of your labor. I find it difficult to both garden and cook in the summer. So, a break from the garden should allow me to seek out new ways to eat my home-grown fruits, vegetables and herbs, like this tomato fennel pasta sauce.
  • Take time to enjoy the summer! There are other ways to get exercise than pulling weeds in the garden. I spent the weekend with my parents and sister, watching the Olympics and enjoying some down-time.