I’ve been away on vacation for most of the last few weeks, and as is typically true in August, have returned to ridiculous explosions of food, weeds, and crabgrass.
You’ll notice that one of the explosions, at least, is positive: food. So many tomatoes that sauce-making is the only option. Endless eggplants and pattypan squashes. Tomatillos littering the walkway. Pole beans hanging by the hundreds from their vines like prisms off a big tacky chandelier.
I love the basic self-sufficiency of my summer vegetable garden. Unlike the lawn and the perennial beds, which currently look like hell, the vegetable garden is an attractive riot. Because I mulched heavily with leaves last fall, there aren’t a lot of weeds. Thanks to that mulch, which conserves soil moisture, I can trust the skies to do the watering for me when I’m away. Admittedly, however, I live in the Northeast, where a week with no rain is unusual.
My personal vegetable garden is not the only one I’ve neglected, either. Also receiving no care from me since late July at least are the Lake Avenue Elementary school garden and a community garden plot I took so I could grow more potatoes. But all is nonetheless well.
Vegetable gardens are really a great deal: Work hard to assemble the pieces in May–paths, mulch, crops–and then bestir oneself for the rest of the summer only to harvest a windfall and scatter seed for the fall. Why doesn’t everybody do this?