Anatomy of a Garden – Part 4

2 Sep

Folly, Triumph and Hope Served Fresh

When I began the Anatomy of a Garden agri-series, I expected miracles from the earth: a re-creation of my youthful success of inadvertently turning my family’s suburban front yard into an honest-to-goodness corn field. I expected that a bountiful garden of paradise with enormous fruits and vegetables would spring from the hills o’er Blue Lake… acrid, sandy soil or not. Alas, nature had its own ideas and Dr. Greenthumb’s veggie plot plodded along these past few months with helpings of both victory and failure.

Dr. Greenthumb completed a most clever irrigation rigging and smartly enclosed the tilled area. He even purchased an electric fence, though it was never to be used.  As we saw in Part III, the starter plants were carefully planted and we… well I… sat back and waited for the huge beanstalks to grow. I waited and I waited and I waited some more. Apparently, it takes really long time for things to grow in the Northwoods. The dark, cloudy and cold summer proved a formidable adversary.

Occasionally, armfuls of fresh lettuce leaves would arrive at the dinner table, reaped from a most steady crop. Herbs, too, proved hardy. Plenty a’ meal were garnished with fresh basil and rosemary. But where were the exciting vegetables? The eggplants the size of trumpets and the cucumbers like balloon animals? And then a rare but tasty zucchini would find itself carefully being washed in our sink… enough for a side dish, if no one wanted seconds.

The squash plants grew huge yellow flowers (the male part) but lacked tell-tale signs of little squash nubs (the female part). Plants began to wither. All of the bean plants, which were looking hopeful, were chowed down by a thieving deer one night. We kept waiting for the arrival of the tomatoes – a bountiful mid-atlantic crop – which only teased us with tough, green, gumball-sized fruit. Dr. Greenthumb mused on the faulty p.h. of the soil.

But then, when no one was paying much attention, a flux of warm, moist weather seeped into the ground. And in a blink, the once-despondent plants are looking like they may pull through in the 11th hour. The tomatoes are steadily growing bigger and the squash plants are growing fruit. Peppers, lovers of a moist-dry paradox, are hanging like succulent gummy bears from Willy Wonka’s wonderland. Dr. Greenthumb’s stick-to-it-iveness must do the work of an army of oompa-loompas but I have faith.

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2 Responses to “Anatomy of a Garden – Part 4”

  1. shashy September 2, 2009 at 8:58 pm #

    the last couple of posts have been about food – we are concerned that since the Pereira clan has left there are no more scraps for you to eat and you are hungry…..

  2. The Provost September 3, 2009 at 1:17 pm #

    I was just thinking the other day about all the delicious meals that I had with the Pereiras. Luckily, my Italian granny is in town so this Provost will continue to be well-fed. I think the past few posts are an homage to the delicious feasts of summer, one last hurrah before the winter canned goods come into effect.

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