Welcome Back, Gardener

Going to Central America and leaving the garden behind for a month in high summer is a bit like living out one of those traveling at the speed of light theoretical paradox deals. You know, like the astronaut who gets sent to Saturn and it feels to her like it only took a couple hours to get there and back, but when she returns, her grandkids are her own age or something.

Well, it's kind of like that.

When I left, I was coaxing some fall seedlings along. Cilantro, radishes, carrots, kale, and beets were newborns. The zinnias were only just beginning to bloom, and everything was tucked into neatly into its assigned, geometrically ordered quadrangular patch. 

And here's what it looks like now:

The fall babies are stout and strong, and need thinning.

The zinnias are in full bloom, and now stand about eye-high in the cutting border.

As for our obedient and orderly July garden, let's take an aerial view tour for old time's sake:

The swing set quadrant. I could go ahead and tell you that the center C is full of monstrous roma tomatoes, and that the outer bed has peppers, potatoes, okra, and cabbage, but would it really help? I live here, and I can't tell the plants apart in this picture. Also, I think there's still a gravel path in there somewhere.

The patio quadrant. This one is tamer, but that's only because most of the strawberries are done for the season, and the tomatoes are starting to succumb to late blight. And most of it is brick. Down in the right corner, you can see that a pumpkin vine has grown all the way across the roses and rhubarb and is going to try to climb up the table in the middle of the patio if we let it. 

Elsewhere, the pumpkin vines have completely breached the brick path and are trying to get into the house via the kitchen door.

The driveway quadrant. This is jam-packed with cabbages and Brussels sprouts in the front. There is also corn, a trellis that is utterly overwhelmed with cucumber vines, and (in the upper right) sweet potatoes vining out onto the paths on both sides of its bed. As in the other quadrants, it's no longer clear where to walk.

The workshop quadrant. Kirk just pulled the onions (everything is still running two or three weeks late this year, thanks to our cold spring) and I harvested the garlic before I left, so this area is the calm spot in the garden. It's also where our still-young fall veggies are planted, so we're still the bosses of this quadrant.

The bean house this year spans two quadrants, and is completely filled in:

From the ground, it's even harder to find where to put your feet to get around:

It looks like we have our work cut out for us this weekend, but with all hands on deck, I'm thinking we can regain a smidge of order by Sunday night. Kirk worked out in the garden most nights while I was gone, but it's too much for one person with a day job. The August garden is always like a rebellious teenager trying to stake out its own territory, so getting it under "control" is a relative concept. 

But a delicious one. I haven't eaten a bite of meat since I got home, because I'm too busy stuffing my face with ripe tomatoes, peaches, peppers, and eggplant. So, yeah — totally worth it.


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