Finally, a long overdue update on Saucy’s Wee Kitchen Garden. I think this quote may best sum up my experiences to-date:
A garden is always a series of losses set against a few triumphs, like life itself. ~May Sarton
I have learned so much so far with my Wee Kitchen Garden…all of it is good.
Be still, sad heart, and cease repining; Behind the clouds is the sun still shining ~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
So, here’s where I left you last:
The garden was planted, the “fence” was up, the Wee Kitchen Garden Shed was anchored into the ground, the trellises were up…life was grand. I installed my La La Land rock just inside the garden gate. My niece and nephew call me Lala…so it was perfect.
My Happy Wee Kitchen Garden Girl found a wee happy spot to smile upon anyone who came through the gate…she chose a pot of lavender to dance in while she waited:
And I was so excited…because Wee Little Plants started bursting through the soil.
You get the picture…it was all good. I had a 99% germination rate on the seeds I’d planted. I had to water a few times, but not often. There was a very late season frost so I took burlap down and covered all of my tender plants; many people who had their gardens in much sooner than I did had to replant. But the Wee Kitchen Garden was saved.
And then…well, then:
The heavy rain beat down the tender branches of vine and jessamine, and trampled on them in its fury; and when the lightning gleamed, it showed the tearful leaves shivering and cowering together at the window, and tapping at it urgently, as if beseeching to be sheltered from the dismal night. ~Charles Dickens
It rained. And it rained. And it rained some more. We are still over 17 inches above normal rainfall for the year; at one point we were 20+ inches above normal rainfall. It was a real battle to keep my tender plants from being beaten down. In some cases I prevailed, in others I failed. But I always kept this in mind:
There is no failure. Only feedback. ~Robert Allen
On the whole, things were looking pretty good:
I may be the only person in the history of gardening who had to stake dill to keep it upright. I’d go down every day and pull the tender dill shoots out the mud. They are deformed now as a result, but they taste wonderful!
My lavender plant drowned despite me pouring water out of the pot. Several times. But just like me, my Happy Wee Garden Girl kept that smile on her face:
Whether the weather be fine,
Whether the weather be not,
Whether the weather be cold,
Whether the weather be hot,
We’ll weather the weather,
Whatever the whether,
Whether we like it or not
My squash and zucchini didn’t fare well with the rain, and started rotting in the ground. Even though I have a raised bed system, the ground was so saturated that there was simply nowhere for the water to go. I was fortunate that I put gravel down around my beds because that let me get to my garden without slogging in knee-deep mud, which most everyone else had to do.
A bear has knocked over Saucy’s Wee Kitchen Garden Shed three times. It didn’t destroy it and I finally moved it…and removed the bone meal that was stored in it. *fingers crossed*
The crows came and pecked all of my cabbage, broccoli and peas. I DID get to eat one Sweet Alaska Pea before they got them all.
Finally, I bought a garden guard. Bad Ass, the Red-tailed Hawk:
I moved him twice a day to a new spot in the garden. I also hung dvd discs to reflect the light, crows hate that. So, the crows went away. Win!
And even though it rained constantly, I got to harvest:
We’ve eaten squash and zucchini and fried okra; I’ve pickled cucumbers and green tomatoes and dilly beans; I’ve made and frozen pesto and preserved and frozen basil and canned basil jelly. I have cooked and cooked with fresh herbs (basil, dill, cilantro, oregano, thyme and rosemary). We’ve eaten gorgeous summer salads with cucumbers and radishes from the garden.
And the garden is still producing…here are recent blooms:
We’ve had plenty of cucumbers for salads…
I have pickled over 10 gallons of pickles…6 gallons from cucumbers from friends, 4+ gallons from Saucy’s Wee Kitchen Garden.
And my marigolds are working pretty well at keeping the pests at bay. I did battle with stink bugs on my cucumbers, but I won that one too. I pulled them off the leaves and drowned them. I found their eggs and smashed them. I recognized their babies and smushed them. And I found the young adults and crushed them.
Through all of the trials and tribulations so far, I have kept the joy in my heart. And even though I chose the worst weather year in recent history to start my gardening adventures, I have been so, so very happy. Because I love digging in the dirt. Because I love laughter, my laughter every day when I walk through that garden gate. Because I love watching the miracle of growth. Because I am an optimist. Because I love to dance.
Optimist: someone who figures that taking a step backward after taking a step forward is not a disaster, it’s a cha-cha. ~Robert Brault
I have enjoyed every second of it so far.
I’ll be planting a late harvest soon, so I’ll keep you posted.