Ever since August when Tina at In the Garden suggested that others might like to join her on the 20th of each month in posting an update on our vegetable gardens, I've wanted to join in. No, I don't have any vegetables growing in the garden right now; the last of the green tomatoes froze a few weeks ago. But I did have a post halfway completed before the September Veggie Day, and then my computer crashed with my photos and narrative (saved in my documents, not on Blogger). Finally, many weeks and $$$ later, I have my computer back--well, sort of, but that's another story. So I hope you don't mind a post that's not just a few hours late, but actually two months late.
I mentioned the dismal state of my vegetable garden several times this summer. I confess that I let the weeds get away from me, but the biggest disappointments in that garden were the tomatoes, which fell victim to mildew or blight. Perhaps I could have halted that with a fungicide, but I didn't, and though they did produce quite a few tomatoes for awhile, I didn't get the bounty I expected, as one by one the plants wilted and turned brown. I think I've learned some lessons this year, and next year I plan to take action as soon as I notice something amiss.
The above picture of tomatoes lined up on my front porch to finish ripening was taken on August 30, the last good harvest I had. Please indulge me in a silly little review of this past year, my one and only Veggie post for 2008; I plan to do much better in 2009.
Elegy for a Vegetable Garden
"When in April the sweet showers fall
That pierce March’s drought to the root and all"
Then Chaucer’s pilgrims on pilgrimages long to go,
But I think of gardening and vegetables to grow.
Visions of ripe, red tomatoes and firm zucchinis
Spinach, lettuce, squash and lots of green beanies.
Seeds were purchased, and a new tiller, too
Just waiting for warm days and skies of blue.
At last Spring arrived, and with tiller at the ready,
We turned up the black earth with strides slow and steady.
Two rows of green beans, seeds neatly placed east-west,
Kohlrabis planted at Husband's request.
Spinach, lettuce, and tomatoes--quite a slew
Planted along with squash and a pepper plant, too.
Only one pepper plant? Now that’s a good question—
But eating too many can cause me indigestion.
Then came the rains; the weeds grew out of sight.
The damp may have led to the tomato blight.
The hot summer sun added to the decline,
Towards weeding and hoeing I wasn't inclined.
The spinach and lettuce grew more than we need
After a few pickings I let them go to seed.
The squash blossomed and produced quite a bunch,
That is, till the beetles made them their lunch.
The pepper plant never really grew
Perhaps it was lonely--I should have planted two.
To be truthful, the green beans were quite a success;
Most eaten fresh; some frozen--a few pints, more or less.
But the rest of the garden was another story;
It didn't fulfill my dreams of veggie glory.
Tomato leaves began curling and slowly turned brown,
Eventually I had to cut them all down.
No sauce or juice in the freezer for winter,
It’ll be cans from the store in the chili for dinner.
I've learned from all this and will start over next year.
I must be more diligent; that's very clear.
I’ll mulch and I’ll weed and I’ll stake those tomatoes!
Who knows, I might even plant some potatoes!
I regret all my neglect, dear garden, really I do.
Next year I promise to take much better care of you.
(My apologies to Chaucer who must be turning over in his grave right now.)