I remember when I decided to retire I was really looking forward to spending more time in my garden. Well I have had plenty of time to do that, thankfully; and I’ve also learned a few things. Some of these things are simply amazing and wonderful, but some of them are completely antergloanian.
And antergloanian is not a word.
You see, I never expected the parsnips to crowd the eggplants and peppers to the point of near extinction. It’s been several years since I’ve planted parsnips, and for whatever reason, this year the parsnips appear to be eating Super Grow Holy Moly Plant Vitamins. They are growing so well, their leaves have prevented that oh – so necessary sunlight from hitting the peppers and eggplants. Consequently, the eggplant and pepper plants are pretty wimpy and probably won’t do much this year.
I mean, the foliage on these parsnips is simply huge!! I do have distant memories of trying to grow parsnips; but when I planted them, very few actually sprouted. Those that did were rather puny, and the roots were not very large. I seem to remember that they were tasty, but hey if you don’t get much it’s not as much fun. If the foliage on this year’s monsters is any indication, the roots should give us enough enjoyment for Rooftop Salamander Surprise; which is an ancient recipe handed down to me by my Viking ancestors that involves scaling a rope ladder with the guidance of an English speaking salamander (by the name of Loogersnotten) and attempting the deep frying of parsnip tentacles during a raging snowstorm that only occurs during a run-on sentence.
Or perhaps that was a dream (the recipe part I mean).
So there I was, minding my own business, walking near the popcorn and along the fence, admiring my cucumbers, and OH MY GOD MY LOVELY CUCUMBER VINE IS DYING!!! What the HECK-A-MA-HOOKEY is that all about?? Well it’s likely some burrowing animal happily digging its way around looking for grubs. Upon discovering this sad revelation, I knelt down, put my face close to the base of the dying vine, and shouted “YOUSE STINKING DIRT SNORTERS HAVE KILLED MY POOR CUCUMBER VINE!! I will NOT put you on my Holiday Gift List!!! SO THERE!!” Nah, I didn’t do that really. Hey, burrowing animals gotta eat too, right? Well, I may have muttered a few naughty words under my breath.
Thankfully I have two more vines, one of which was a volunteer that I transplanted out of the broccoli / Brussels sprouts / beets / Swiss chard bed. It seems to be doing OK; and has even started to produce. The other one just kinda popped up a few feet away from the dying vine. Probably a result of flinging an oversized cuke in the compost last year. Oh yeah… I get volunteer squash, melons, tomatoes, and even beans from stuff that somehow survived all the creepy crawlies that feed on veggie waste in our compost pile. Wherever I put the compost, there is often a “surprise” seedling or perhaps 19 of them. Some are welcome, most get executed (yanked out by the hair) and tossed back into the compost.
Hey, remember that one time I put a very small catnip plant in the garden? Boy, did I think that would be fun for our feline friends!! And yes!! It really is a lot of fun for the kitties. But guess what?? If you plant catnip in the garden, it spreads. And if you like how the flowers attract all those bees and butterflies and such, and then the flowers make seeds, well, then you get GIGANTIC PATHES OF CATNIP THAT REALLY LIKE MY SOIL. And why shouldn’t they? I’ve spent 39 years turning beach sand into very rich topsoil!!
Oh, and remember that one time I allowed a milkweed to flower in hopes that the Monarch butterflies would start to make babies at my house?? Well now there’s quite the milkweed patch in the southwest corner of the garden. Those things not only spread by those fluffy, featherlike seeds that float around in the air, they also are very good at spreading by roots. The pop up all over the place. Again, some of them are welcome; most get executed and sent to the compost pile. Lots of Monarchs (and many other pollinators) are starting to take notice though!!
So my friends, there’s never a dull moment in the garden. I’ve renamed it “The Garden Of Weeden” due to the large population of uninvited plants that are scattered about. That’s very OK though, because believe it or don’t the biodiversity that’s present when the weeds are visiting actually keeps veggie munching pests at bay. They provide a habitat for predators (like spiders), and their presence also confuses the “radar” of pest insects. Seriously. You see, growing veggies organically means no pesticides or other man made chemicals are allowed in or near the garden; Growing huge fields of one crop basically screams “come get me!!” to pest insects. So mixing it up is an effective way to minimize damage from those veggie munchers. As an added bonus: even when you yank them, there are lots of roots left behind that decompose and therefore build the soil.
Anyway, when I start the parsnip harvest later this year (fall and winter), I’ll make sure to invite all of you over to participate in the preparation for Rooftop Salamander Surprise.
Or maybe we’ll just have potroast.
And no, I DO NOT garden like Mickey Mouse!!