I have never had a vegetable garden. I dreamed of being the kind of woman who trips out just before dinner to see what’s ripe, and tailors her menu accordingly. Before this year though, our property failed to deliver a spot with enough direct sun to ensure success. To appease myself, each year I plant window boxes with herbs and a few containers of tomatoes. If it’s a dry summer, my herbs do fine, but during a damp season, the basil and parsley rot. As the summer wanes, I’m forced to lug the tomato containers around the yard chasing the relocating sun. Desperate for light, the tomato vines crawl thin and high. They do bear fruit, but by late August, my bushes, if you can call them that, weaken into a tangled, yellowing mess, powdered with mildew.
This year however, hope sprang up in March. As we cleaned up from our early winter wind calamity, I grasped that the loss of fourteen trees on our property at the end of January (five via natural circumstances and the rest as a preventative measure) meant a whole lot more sun. Once again I contemplated strolling out to my garden to pick fresh tomatoes, maybe a cucumber, some lettuce, and zucchini. In the spirit of making lemonade out of bitter fruit, I etched lines in the dirt plotting the brightest locale where towering pines used to block the sun. I Googled gardening supply companies and rubbing my hands together, investigated zucchini recipes that will disguise the ingredient my husband abhors.
Then May came and the foliage leafed out and I learned I’d been…optimistic.
A few hours of direct sunlight do warm the part of our yard once harboring dense shade, but the key word is “few.” When the shadows darkened my coveted spot after less than three hours, I whined a bit—until I noticed one small patch on the other side of the house, far away from the tree disaster, now bathes in direct sunlight. So what if my husband has visions of those twisted, yellowing vines I grow in pots each year advertising themselves to the neighbors. So what that he’s afraid I won’t weed, and everyone driving by will see an overgrown jumble. He loves me. Together, we pulled up an 8’ by 4’ rectangle of grass he’d seeded and reseeded over the last 21 years. Then he built me a raised garden bed.
I will not discuss the fact that since I planted the garden last week, we’ve had about one ounce of sunlight in total.
It’s all about positive thinking here. In that vein, does anyone know a recipe to magically transform zucchini?
Wishing you all a wonderful Memorial Day weekend, and offer my gratitude for those who have given of themselves in honor of our country.