Behind the Clouds the Sun is Still Shining

Saucy's Wee Kitchen Garden

Saucy’s Wee Kitchen Garden in August

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:

Saucy's Wee Kitchen Garden

Saucy’s Wee Kitchen Garden

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.

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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:

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And I was so excited…because Wee Little Plants started bursting through the soil.

Sweet Alaska Peas

Sweet Alaska Peas

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Brandywine Tomatoes

Slenderette Beans

Slenderette Beans

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Yellow Squash and Gray Zucchini

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Saucy’s Wee Kitchen Garden…Early May

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:

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Saucy’s Wee Kitchen Garden…June 20

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:

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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
~Author Unknown

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.

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Finally, I bought a garden guard. Bad Ass, the Red-tailed Hawk:

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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:

FirstSquash

 

FirstZucchini

 

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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:

Okra - August 6th

Okra – August 6th

Slenderette Beans - August 6th

Slenderette Beans – August 6th

Salad Cucumbers - August 6th

Salad Cucumbers – August 6th

We’ve had plenty of cucumbers for salads…

Pickling Cucumbers - August 6th

Pickling Cucumbers – August 6th

I have pickled over 10 gallons of pickles…6 gallons from cucumbers from friends, 4+ gallons from Saucy’s Wee Kitchen Garden.

Tomatoes - August 6th

Tomatoes – August 6th

Marigolds

Marigolds

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.

P~

About P ~ The Saucy Southerner

I started cooking when I was ten years old. For me, the process of cooking, from inception of a dish, to the execution, to the washing of the pots is sheer delight.

I am now retired from a business I still own, in partnership with my husband. I used to work six days a week and still cook every night. Now, I’m gardening, still cooking, always having fun and hoping to share my joy with you. Thank you for reading…and commenting! P~

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4 Responses to Behind the Clouds the Sun is Still Shining

  1. Andrea says:

    I have a plastic owl and I’ve tried to move him often but the birds are still getting to my tomatoes. I’ve tried to leave them to ripen as long as possible but it looks like I’ll just have to plan to pick them while they are still a bit orange. I wish they’d try out a hot pepper and learn their lesson, but I guess they are too smart for that. Enjoy your harvest, nothing tastes as good as home- grown.

    • P~ says:

      Andrea…thanks so much for commenting! I’m so sorry the birds are being such pests! I have several friends who have the same problem. I wonder if it’s the dvd discs I hung which are acting as the deterrent.

      You’re so right…there is nothing better than homegrown. We’ve really enjoyed our garden bounty! P~

  2. Sarah Myers says:

    Andrea I’ve had that issue as well…turned out that it was not the birds that were getting the tomatoes it was piss ants. After putting a net over mine I realized the ants were the problem. I also had a issue with rot bottom on the tomatoes. I am sure it was from all the rain we’ve had. It has rained so hard so fast it zaps the soil of the nutrients. They would be fine one day and rotting the next. I finally gave up til next year.

    • P~ says:

      I’m already excited for next year, Sarah. I’ve been plotting my anti-garden-pests strategy for next year that I will implement over the winter. 🙂 P~

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