Green madness

Three weeks on holiday and I come back to a garden that is totally unrecognizable. Did someone put crack in the water? The large planter out back had some small, tidy tomato plants, some herbs, greens and beans. I came back to a forest of green broken only by the smattering of tomato blossoms and the occasional marigold peeking through. I have enough epazote to supply Rick Bayless' restaurants until year end. (In fact, I whacked a bunch of it out and took it to my favorite local restaurant where it's in their walk in until the chef can figure out how to use it).

Who knew what three weeks could do??

I went over to my community garden plot prepared for the worst, or so I thought. I literally couldn't recognize my plot when I arrived. Nor could I figure out what had happened to all of the vegetables. I couldn't see them for the weeds. This is the challenge of the first year in the plot that was previously abandoned. Three weeks of rain and untamed growth made it scary enough that I considered giving up then and there.

But salvation came in the form of little boys (and their mom!). The garden leader's boys to be more specific. Just my luck that they wanted to start a weeding business to suppliment their allowance. I became their first customer right there on the spot. It's got to be the best $12 I've ever spent. Those kids should be charging more; it must have taken them all weekend!

Once they were done, I was able to see what was going on underneath and it's all very exciting. Winter squashes, eggplant, loads of different (still green) tomatoes, herbs, greens and beans galore. And the bees are busy pollinating everything, bless them. I even found a few errant strawberries and popped them in my mouth, dirt and all. There's nothing better than a sun warmed strawberry straight off of the vine! So I'll need to go back to weeding every few days. Also, being mid-July, it's time to plant my fall crops of lettuces, onions and cruciferous veg. Heaven knows I could use the distraction after coming home from a really great vacation and being faced with sitting behind a desk for 10 hours a day.

Here's to the joys and challenges of nurturing plants. And eating them!

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