Mammality Imbued

June 28, 2019

What a fun and enlightening week in the garden. My view is clearing, the heart - the being - of the thing, at first invisible in its muddiness (everything is always clouded in beginnings), is starting to take form.

My plants live in a community garden. I am never alone with them, never truly sharing solitude with beings that do not feel or speak, even when the sun is still starting her ascent and I am the only mammal to disturb the squirrels in their daily plunderings. The other sixty-some plots are there, too, the humanity and mammality of the gardeners imbued in their corn, beans, tomatoes, taro, melons, peppers, yes, especially in the managu, chinsaga, and mkunde.

Look at all that life! And think of the lives behind the life, the living, loving, hurting, and healing that must be done so this can happen. No, my plants and I, we are not alone, not even a little bit.

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Thanks to the kind attention of my fellow gardener, the allotment fared beautifully while I was gone. The dill was bolted, but it had been flowering anyway, so I guess it was that time. I pulled it up and planted a couple lantanas. I got a bee visitor while I was putting them in the ground, which I’m going to take as a good omen.

I also direct sowed marigolds in several blank spaces throughout the garden because 1) I’ve read that marigolds are good companion plants for tomatoes and 2) I just really like marigolds. I sowed these Monday and am already seeing lots of little shoots!

Also, I feel it is important to note how utterly adorable wee little matchstick marigold seeds are.

Adorable.

But what about the onions? you may ask. Well, my friend, I forgot about them, also I sowed them directly on top of untilled soil like a dweeb, so those seeds are all gonners. No onions for us this year.

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Some kind of vermin stole the two sad unripe tomatoes from my Beefsteak while I was away, BUT! we have gained our first San Marzanos and Cherries!


The plants are still leggy as hell, and both San Marzanos have lots of tiny holes in their leaves. A quick Google search tells me San Marzanos are sensitive snowflakes, so I’m wondering if they have some sort of bacterial something. The other two plants are looking much better. I gave everyone a good branch trimming near the base in the hopes of preventing disease spread and also maybe more energy will go to fruit production? I have no idea how any of this works.

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I’m unsure what self-deluding somersaults my brain was doing when I planted two vining plants on the same trellis, but let me tell you, it didn’t work. The nasturtium I planted inside the structure of the cucumber teepee got no light once the cucs took off and grew sad and leggy. I transplanted them to the outside of the teepee where they can, you know, photosynthesize and am hoping they will perk up.

The plants at the north end are smaller but much fuller with a better color.

All the flowers I sowed from seed have taught me that these bitches need to get in the ground waywayway earlier than the veggie transplants if they are going to be good companions. The Cosmos are also looking fine, but aren’t anywhere near blooming. The Zinnia are getting there, though.

I have two new blooms on my transplanted Zinnia, and some buds starting on direct sows. They’re all suffering from spotted leaf bacteria and I have no idea why, but the south end is worse than the north end.

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Anyone who has spoken to me the past two weeks is already weary of my cucumbers. They are precious to me.

I can’t believe these photos were taken exactly one month apart. The four plants are all loaded with flowers, most of them male. The Boston Bests are starting to set some females, and I get tons of bee visitors every day, so I’m not worried about pollination.

AND BIG NEWS there are a couple little tiny baby fruit!

Is it supposed to be that color? I don’t know! But if it can happen once, it can happen twice and then a hundred times until we make enough pickles to last us a thousand ages of man.

I did unfortunately notice (and subsequently murder) several striped cucumber beetles this morning, which is not ideal. Gonna try keeping them in check by hand picking.

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The final note in this weekly update saga is that I had my first harvest! Before I went out of town, I pulled up most of the coriander and left it to dry in my car (and by "left" I mean "forgot about").

I’m really glad I pulled it when I did. The mature coriander I didn't pull turned black, dry, and hollow while I was gone.

Not much, but I’m awful proud of it.

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Here’s hoping the weekend is kind to my little plot, the souls I share it with find rest, and next week we get to do it all over again.

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