The Resilient Garden

I don’t know if you’ve heard, but rain was scarce here in the midwest this summer. Another way to phrase that was that we experienced the worst drought since the Dust Bowl days. It’s been a hot, nasty, dry summer. I’ve questioned several times the wisdom of getting ducks, who need to wallow in water, over chickens, who enjoy scratching in dust. Live and learn.

The garden suffered this year; no doubt about it. But it’s been fascinating seeing the resilience of plants and how quickly and fully things sprang back after a bit of rain.

I’m only planting greens in our shady backyard, and had planted six sorrel plants with the plan of having this perennial for years to come. And then all six, despite my watering, shriveled and died. Or so I thought. A couple of weeks ago, after a bit of rain, they reappeared:

Same with some arugula that had withered and refused to grow:

The side garden had been full of garlic and a single row of mums. But the compost apparently had some tomato seeds, because six tomato plants sprung up, and I’ve let them go. These days, it’s a jungle out there:

And I don’t want to speak too soon, but it looks like I’ve possibly broken my zucchini curse. I planted a few seeds in late June, hoping to have planted late enough to avoid the squash borers that always kill my plants while everyone I know complains that they have NO idea what they’re going to do with all that zucchini. Check out this little fella:

Even the kale that the ducks nibbled down to nubs and that had gotten droopy and sad in the 100+ degree weather has bounced back and should be full and giving us greens through the fall and winter:

In the front garden, I’ve pulled up the melons and potatoes and pumpkins (which did nothing — stupid squash borers), and planted the fall garden. We now have tiny radish, beet, collard, mesclan, spinach, and snow pea plants that should be getting into high gear in the next month. When the tomatoes finally go, there’ll be more kale, which loves cold weather.

I always love the (paraphrased) line from the children’s book The Leaf Men and the Brave Good Bugs: “The garden is a miraculous place, and anything can happen on a cool moonlit night.” So true.


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