As I struggle to finish two articles, work through the sudden loss of my beloved cat and a separation from my husband, and ponder a brave new world and perfect my Oregon tan* at the same time, my garden beckons, that heartbreaking seductress. How did we get to mid-July? How did I get here?**
The raspberries are still producing, but slowly. Blackcaps are done. I had no tayberries this year, and that’s probably for the best — the ones in the market were not terrific. Must have been a glitch in the weather, as the loganberries are fine, the boysenberries fanfuckingtastic. Also an almost complete failure of my ‘Poorman’ gooseberries, but the ‘Cherry Red’ currants were finally old enough for a great crop and the rhubarb didn’t wimp out this year. My ‘Benton’ strawberries are throwing out sisters, rather rudely far from their nice contained bed, deep into my herbs and beans.
I packed away the cured garlic yesterday, big juicy heads of ‘Keith Red’ hardneck with mottled purple-brown skin (above), and a braided strand of a dozen or so pearl-white, mostly ‘Silver Rose’ softneck. And the potatoes came out: a bit early, but nevertheless a terrific harvest of ‘Russian Banana’ fingerlings and an improved version of the Yukon Gold called Island something-or-another, I forgot.
Still need to thin my cute little round Dutch carrots and cut some kale, which rebounded beautifully from an aphid infestation. Poppies were a bust in partial shade. Malabar spinach: you disappoint me. But the frisée and celtuse? Big, perhaps bitter. I understand.
My peas are finally through, or at least I finally got tired of them, so I pulled them out, gently extracting around the ‘La Vigneronne’ Swiss pole beans that are so pretty with maroon and green striations. I trained a volunteer ‘Delicata’ squash (or maybe it’s a goddamn gourd) on the far side of the chickenwire fence and thought very hard about more properly netting up my cucumbers. I bought a few rounds this year, and finally a few heirloom seeds and some hybrids took, and then I supplemented with late starts of ‘Mexican Sour Gherkins,’ ‘Salt and Pepper’ yellows, and ‘Poona Kheera’ whites.
Tomatoes are going like gangbusters; peppers are slow and small-leaved, but fruiting. I think the early heat and time in the greenhouse produced leggy plants, so they are still recovering by throwing out leaves.
The squash is a mystery, quite frankly. I planted little hills when garden space freed up: some Open Oak variety of ‘Delicata’ here, a ‘Costata Romanesco’ ribbed zucchini there, some yellow crooknecks over there. A pumpkin volunteer sprang up in the tomato bed. A gourd or two or four are scattered throughout. I cast out seeds. I take my chances. Same as it ever was; same as it ever was; same as it ever was; same as it ever was.
*The slightly pinkish hue that comes from being outside with sunscreen and a hat whilst raspberry picking on a hot day.
**At least I’m no longer obsessively thinking about Dante’s hell in the middle of the road.