Summer Gardens

15th May 2013

                   Summer Gardens

The summer garden offers a place of quiet meditation like no other. Whether it be a vegetable garden, herb garden or flower garden, there will almost always be little to interfere with one's thoughts while working that precious space.

In the spring, we look at that patch as we till it and remove the weeds and plan it all out. Tomatoes, with marigolds in their midst to keep out the aphids, will occupy the southeast corner. Corn, with its tall, sun-blocking stalks will dominate the north rows of the space. Cucumbers, because they thrive in the shade, can be planted north of the corn if we please.

As the season progresses, we watch the beanstalks climb their trellises, bloom and produce. We keep an eye on the stalks of the squash for those murderous grubs that eat them and try the latest treatment for the victims. The pumpkins and other squash are carefully laid upon boards or bricks to keep them off the ground, giving them a better chance against pests that inhabit the soil.

By the sweat of the brow, we weed out the unwanted grasses and vines from our patch of earth and meditate on the unwanted vices and iniquities we need to weed from our lives. The garden thrives as we nourish it with the fertilizer of our choice, whether it be dung from the chicken coop or a bag from the seed and feed store.

Further, into the season we reap the sweet rewards of our labor. The table is adorned with a centerpiece of fresh cut flowers. Plates of sliced tomatoes, radishes, onions and cucumbers are spread out with the steaming pots of beans or peas.

As the season wears on, the product may become overwhelming, prodding us to visit the couple next door to share the fruits of our labors. Hopefully, we'll find the time to can some of this goodness for winter. Potatoes and carrots we merely put in the cellar for safekeeping.

At season's end, we glean from our patch the last tidbits of our labors. Vines and bushes are pulled up and the dirt shaken from the roots. Into the compost bin, they go to be covered with dung, earth and table scraps where they'll be reduced to black, nutritious compost for next year's garden. We include the patch with leaves and grass clippings like a blanket, to keep until spring.