The garden yielded our first zucchini of the season the other day -- three 10" ones and a couple of smaller ones which I picked in hopes of avoiding the baseball bat zucchini syndrome. It promises to be a bumper crop again this year, based on these first ones, although with only three plants instead of the nine of two years ago, it shouldn't be all-zucchini-all-the-time.
We also picked a nice mess of green beans -- another crop will go into the soon-to-be-vacant lettuce patch, as the lettuce is well on its way to bolting in this heat. The deer will get those gleanings.
Tomatoes are slower this year -- blossoms on some of the plants, but only a few tiny green orbs. There are volunteers sprouting everywhere, but no way to tell if they're the Romas or the tiny yellow pear ones, so I'm yanking them all up (and trying not to feel guilty for killing a plant). The Romas are wonderful for sauce and freezing; the yellow pear ones are great immediate eating, but unbelievably prolific, and we're a little tired of them.
Basil is ready to be picked for pesto or basil and tomato sandwiches, and the sunflowers grow visible inches daily. Green and red peppers share the zucchini space, and two cucumber plants think the garden is all theirs -- one is a lemon cuke, the other Asian. No fruits yet, but lots of blossoms.
It is gratifying to see what you've planted grow and produce. I feel very connected to the universe when I'm putzing the in garden, pulling the determined weeds, admiring the green beans, encouraging the tomatoes, digging in the dirt. I love watching the garden evolve from freshly churned earth to a lushly green oasis.
My mother told me that my grandmother loved gardening, although what I remember are the flowers she grew -- pansies, especially, and snapdragons and iris and peonies and roses. There are pictures of the Duluth house with flower beds circling the house, abundant and tall. I don't remember vegetables, but she'd pay us 5 cents a gallon to pick currants or raspberries. Currants are sour, but raspberries were rewarding, even scratching our way through the brambles to the fruit. We ate as many as we picked.
The obvious metaphor is gardens and work, or gardens and children, and seeing what you've planted thrive and grow.
It doesn't always work that way, however. Sometimes what you plant doesn't do well, whether it is location, too much of one thing, or not enough of another. Sometimes critters sabotage your efforts.
So you pull it up and start over. Or, I suppose, you can simply walk away. I never do, though. I keep feeding, weeding, tending, watering, talking, encouraging. I hate to lose.
It's that patience thing again, isn't it. You keep on -- you do all you can, where you are, with what you've got. And in the end, you're rewarded: you get zucchini, or green beans, or sometimes a reminder that even when you do all you can, results aren't as expected, and what you have learned in the process is the reward.