It’s the blooming season now.
Summer flowers have started arriving in the Community Garden, and they are glorious. A few strawberry blooms are peaking through, including a fuchsia one that can only be the illusive pine berry. The lavender alone is waist high and swarming with bee friends. I trimmed some today to keep in a vase along with a few other herbs.
As more spring crops die back – like the delicate snow peas and speckled lettuce – beds have opened up for planting, so the volunteers and I put in some muskmelon today. Despite having a name that makes it sound… unfriendly, muskmelons are actually similar to cantaloupes and love the summer heat. The name “muskmelon” – as I’ve just researched, because I was curious – is actually a reference to a variety of ancestral plants that was traditionally used in perfume making, apparently having a good musky scent, if you’re into that sort of thing. Of course nowadays, people mostly eat muskmelons instead of bottling their aromas.
We also planted what should be a good bolt resistant variety of lettuce to replace the speckled bib (though honestly I’m a bit skeptical about how bolt resistant it’s going to be once it starts getting up to the 90’s next week). Bolting, for those who don’t know, is when lettuce plants go to seed, usually when it gets hot, by shooting up little yellow flowers from the center of the plant, making the edible lettuce decidedly less tasty. We will be having none of that. Fingers crossed, I guess.
We pulled a few of the cosmic purple carrots as well, just enough for a bunch for each volunteer. Hopefully we can keep pulling them for a few weeks. The first tomatoes are starting to come too on the plants that Bellair Farm so graciously donated to the garden. We got several varieties, so tomatoes should be great this year!
I’ve just finished Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver, and enjoyed it just as much as the first time. Although this time around, it’s had a much greater impact in my food choices. I’ve been thinking for the last few days about a passage where she described farming as “part meditation, part biology,” which is so very true. Now, anyone will tell you I’m a hard nosed pragmatist, but I turn to gardening for more than just its practical output. It’s a form of communion, which is a big part of what Kingsolver learned in her year of local food.
Don’t get me wrong, growing food is really hard work. It’s planting, watering, weeding, tilling, shoveling, weeding, bunching, washing, weeding, did I mention weeding? My back is constantly sore, skin burned, hands calloused, and my nail beds will probably never recover at this point. Michelle from Bellair told me on my first day of work that farming is really a masochist’s profession. It’ll hurt you, but you have to love it, which thankfully, I do.
That’s all from the garden this week. Until next time,