The Unexpected Garden
This year, I had high expectations for my garden.
I spent over $100 in organic seeds, asparagus crowns, and bare root blackberry bushes and strawberry plants. I knew the berries wouldn’t (shouldn’t) come in until next year, but surely all the luscious tomatoes, crunchy beans, sweat peas, and brilliant zinnias would abound. And zucchini. Zucchini always abounds.
I was wrong!
The zucchini didn’t even germinate. In fact, nothing I started from seed indoors made it to transplant stage. Only half of them germinated and I accidentally killed all of those (hardening off on a surprisingly hot day was all it took — cooked seedlings). Goodbye American Flag Leek, Indigo Rose Tomatoes, and Kentucky Blue Beans. Recounting the entire casualty list is too sad.
And then of course, there are the fails based on absenteeism. What of those glorious zinnias destined for my dining room table? Still in the package. Teddy Bear Sunflowers? Unopened. Okra? You guessed it…seal unbroken. My excitement in late winter clearly superseded my ability come late spring. But, that is the beauty of gardening, the excitement it can elicit within.
My overzealous ordering was born of hope. Each year a garden promises to be the best it has ever been, and we can believe it. Before human shortcomings, weather, or too few pollinators can impact production, its bounty is limitless.
Gardening can be Unexpected
Gardening can also provide us with the unexpected, a surprise here and there, a volunteer. This year, we may not have a full seed catalog growing beyond our door, but we do have some sturdy volunteers. We have ground cherries lined up like a full infantry, filling in all the spots our expensive seeds left vacant. An Amish (heirloom) variety of lettuce sprang up unbeckoned, and is now sowing its next crop. And the most cherished and exciting of all, towering over its legion of volunteers, is a sunflower. One animal’s cash (squirrel) is another animal’s (human) spoil.
Sure, a few of our plans succeeded. There are fewer of them than intended, but beans, tomatoes, kale, beets, and chard are laboring to produce in our soil. Yet, it is that magnificent sunflower that beckons to us. The kids race into breakfast just to check on its daily progress. And amazingly, it too offers its own hope. Multiple buds.
It is good to have room for the unexpected.
What have you unexpected gardening adventures have you been on this season?
Tags: gardening, homesteading, the beet bunch, vegetable garden