Gardening reminds me that partnership with the earth and the management of its resources are always weighted in favor of nature. This gardening season is a good example of how the cards nature plays are known to no one but her.
This, of course, is the year I chose to create a garden plot in the Mariemont community garden. The 25×50 plot I chose was in overgrowth that, fortunately for me, was periodically mowed by my gardener-neighbor.
My son, KC, has the gift of mobilizing friends that Tom Sawyer had when he had a fence to whitewash. One day they showed up with a tiller, and away we went. I was so encouraged. KC’s girlfriend, Tricia, even worked with me to stake and fence the garden. (Deer, raccoon, rabbit and coyote are equally interested in gardening, for different reasons.)
The next time I arrived with plants in tow, the weeds, and most maliciously the Johnson grass, had lept out of the ground. So, I was determined to weed and plant, weed and plant. My plants went in a month late.
The rain never came. I can’t honestly remember the last time we had rain enough to sustain the plants in the garden for even a day. My plants were very young, and toting water is a requisite of community gardening unless you’ve constructed a rain containment system, which hadn’t happened yet.
Temperatures shot into the stratosphere. The ground is still so hard I can’t even stake the heirlooms, and I had to pull the herbs and peppers and pot them because of the intensity of the heat. Every morning before the heat became unbearable and before I started my work day, I carried water and weeded.
This morning I realized my maturing tomato plants can survive without rain for three days, and they’re producing fruit.
I still have 80% of the garden in heavy weeds, which I’ll chip away at a bit at a time. A community garden plot is an evolving system, unlike the refined, convenient gardens I had created previously in my own back yard. I’ve decided to continue getting my feet wet with community gardening, even given the challenges of the 2012 season. Fingers are crossed.
So, I’m still in the card game with Mother Nature. She has the cards. I’m playing the hand I’ve been dealt.