Gumshoe Gardening: Season finale

On Tuesday I put on my little close-toed shoes and ventured onto my chilly back porch to do the tragic, necessary task I’ve been putting off:  ruthlessly trashing my dead garden (with the exception of my basil, which is still living(!) and which I am going to attempt to bring inside).  I’m positively shocked my plants held on as long as it did, and even more shocked that a couple of tomatoes apparently continued to ripen this week, although one of them had a weird bug-looking thing on it (yes, bug-looking, but not a bug) so I was afraid to pick it and just said oh well, it is late October after all.  A little life in the foreground, a little death in the background makes the situation seem slightly less grim when I toss entire plants into a dumpster, anyway.  Um, I mean, I composted everything…..

[The bug-looking thing is on the other side of the big tomato… I purposefully did not capture it.]

Yellowy browny leaves, smushy falling fruit, and (oh yeah), the spinach/fuchsia/pepper that died ages ago, all into the trash.  There must be a more environmentally friendly way to dispose of plants — i.e. not taking totally compostable material, shrouding it in white plastic, and putting it in a landfill — but I’ll tackle that when it doesn’t involve putting large, shedding, buggy plants into my sedan and driving them to who knows where.  Let me tell you, it was cumbersome enough walking this through muddy, slurping lawn to the dumpster across the parking lot.

Goodbye, garden.

And now, the Most Important Things I Learned about gardening this summer:

1.  Gardening is a frivolous, mercurial thing.  The weather matters.  The season matters.  The experience of the gardener seems like it should matter (and does) but when I look back on what I did, I think my spinach could have been saved, but the fuchsia and the pepper were kind of duds to begin with.  I’ve spoken with plenty of experienced gardeners whose _________ did not grow for whatever reason, and I can’t help but think that sometimes gardens just do what they want to.  There’s probably a very good reason that you see so much cat paraphernalia in garden stores.  Gardeners are just masochists who enjoy being held at the whim of various fickle creatures they hope to coax into making it worth their while.

2. Eating what I grow, even in small quantities, is extremely rewarding.  Of course my summer yield left something to be desired in the way of peppers (0), spinach (6 leaves) and tomatoes (about 18 total).  But having a stead flow of cilantro for a couple months and not buying basil all summerAwesome. I like flowers, but if I continue down this garden path I think food is definitely the way to go.  (Not to mention my first flower experience was an utter failure.)  I get happy imagining myself as one of those people with horrible problems like what am I going to do with all this zucchini? (*While I’m on the subject, I sincerely hope canning never interests me, because that sounds awful.)

3. I’m not as bad at caring for plants as I thought I would be.  Is this the same girl who killed a cactus and a bamboo plant?  Remembering to water the plants actually wasn’t that difficult once I got into a little rhythm to avoid over and under-watering. Actually, the hardest part was keeping Kieran inside while I did so.

4. This is learn-as-you-go stuff.  I let my cilantro go irreparably to flower, almost did not catch my basil before it suffered the same demise, had no clue how to pinch basil or prune spinach, possibly gave up too early on reviving my flowers, transplanted stuff too much, bought pots that were too small, etc.  But now I know how to do all those things.  And in addition, I totally destroyed a mean hoard of killer slugs and revived my tomato plant after it completely fell over from dehydration.

Thanks for reading my gardening adventures.  You can bet that if there was a promotion from gumshoe that started with a G, I’d be it.  ;)


3 Responses to “Gumshoe Gardening: Season finale”

  1. I think you can be very proud of your first vegetable garden! And your basil is incredible — wish it was mine :)


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