Veggie Love (or a Garden Update, Aug 2017)

Remember when I started that vegetable garden in June, thereby crossing an item off my bucket list? Let's do a progress shot, just to brag: One month in didn't look too shabby, if I say so myself. My expectations were low, so keeping plants alive and growing seemed like a miracle.

And then...

Once I stopped being able to fit the whole garden into one frame, I stopped taking these pictures. To be honest, I don't think I can take all that much credit...it's been a wet summer (so my inconsistent watering wasn't too destructive) and the bed gets plenty of sunshine (courtesy of my husband's decision to put it there).

It hasn't all been smooth sailing. Our carrots didn't fare well; they got all clumpy and misshapen. And the swiss chard started out like gangbusters but started getting what looked the measles and then started turning this sad shade of brown. We pulled that out in July, and I chalked it up to a learning experience.

But, oh my, the rest of the garden is beyond my wildest imaginings.

The tomatoes are prolific little buggers, but I was starting to panic because everything was still green. A quick stop by my local farm stand last week made me feel better (theirs are still green, too!), and then yesterday we spotted a few cherry tomatoes just starting to turn.

The tomato plants got so boisterous that they started to choke out my eggplant; I thinned them out and added in more stakes...and lo and behold, we've got a lovely eggplant babe growing and another just starting to peek out of its helmet.

I had no idea how much I would love gardening. I hoped it would make me feel at least semi-competent and save some moolah on grocery bills. But it's something else entirely. Almost spiritual. I feel almost absurdly connected to the earth; these plants are my little vegetable babies.

Interestingly, my favorite plants to grow are the ones I wasn't sure would work out. The zucchini and cucumbers have been consistent and productive with little input from me; it feels too easy. On the other hand, the eggplant was almost strangled and then didn't show many signs that it would produce, but I feel enormous satisfaction at its progress. My tomato plants reached up toward the sky but didn't have any fruit, and then the fruit resolutely remained green for weeks; but their color is turning now, and I want to do a dance.

When I spotted the first little eggplant starting to emerge from its little green cap, I ran inside to report this to my husband, who was lounging in bed (it was pretty early on a Saturday morning). I whispered, "We have a baby eggplant!" "Why on earth are we whispering," he asked, also sotto voce. "I don't know," I whispered back, because I didn't think he'd appreciate my need to respect the vegetative miracle taking place in our back yard.

Every time he says anything about the eggplants now, he whispers. I don't even care that he's mocking me.