Tending my Garden {July 2020}

in hive-120078 •  5 days ago  (edited)


Hello friends! Today I was taking some photos for my monthly garden update, when it struck me as a good opportunity to reflect on the act of gardening in relation to honoring my feminine side. My dear Natural Medicine community is running a challenge for all of us to express what sacred femininity means to us. Well, we don't call it "Mother Nature" for nothing, but I think sometimes it is easy to forget that connection when we are going about day to day life. In this time of fear and uncertainty, I think we can all use some nurturing and watching things flourish as opposed to being burned to the ground.

Initially I had thought about exploring my thoughts on why I feel my country in particular needs more of a feminine touch in politics and government, but I honestly don't know that I have enough mental energy reserves to go down that particular rabbit hole. I'd rather revel in the beauty of what we have nurtured in our garden this season and in my role as plant mama. It is summer here after all. I'm in the mood for warmth and light! I'll leave the darkness to the depths of winter reflection.

Gardening really does bring out the latent maternal side in my personality. Yes, I adore my time as an auntie to the burgeoning feminine entities I get to call my nieces, but there is something more motherly in growing fruits and vegetables totally from seed. Even though we don't always have luck with every seed sprouting and making it to full maturity, we do really enjoy starting with that small speck of life. Sprouting the seed, watering the seedling and trying to nourish the soil in which we eventually plant our little ones. It is a beautiful process that so many take for granted as the bulk of their food comes from the grocery store, or even a restaurant. There's many trials and tribulations along the way. Oh the hornworms are always a frustrating sight on the tomato plants!

But that is motherhood, isn't it? You don't just spawn a child and it becomes this perfect being. You have to put the time in, but it makes it all the more special to watch it grown and step up to the challenges of life. I still don't have any desire for an actual human baby, but by golly I love watching our plant babies grow each season. I think we all have a bit of Earth Mother in us. My boyfriend even tends to let me do the harvesting despite him being the one that does the bulk of the daily watering and other maintenance (though I do get more hands on every year). I think he knows what joy I find in finally plucking the fine specimens off the vine. I often even weigh the big babies to see how hale and hearty they've become! Then of course the next phase of creation begins in the kitchen--beginning the whole next step of mothering to bring forth a dish worthy of the hard work to bring that fruit to the plate! Which also reminds me I could do a whole separate post on the divinely feminine side of cooking and feeding your loved ones...

Well, let's not keep all this joy to myself. Let the latest garden tour begin!


Cucumbers, More Cucumbers...

As you might have noticed from my latest posts, we have been swimming in cucumbers this season. Though we have had good harvests before, I think the addition of the lemon cukes this year exponentially increased the overall output. I have enjoyed sharing them with friends and family, and we have an entire shelf in the refrigerator full of pickled cucumbers. Along with another batch of fermented ones getting happy for another day or two on the counter. Just when we think they are done, we go out and find a whole handful more!

It's a good thing I have large hands! We really didn't even have that many cucumber plants. I honestly think only four in total, but they were all monster producers. We have plenty of the lemon cuke seeds leftover to grow them again next year, but we'll enjoy what we have while the season carries on.


Squash

Our patty pan squash wilted and died off at the beginning of July, and I thought after harvesting three good-sized Candy Roasters that plant would also wilt and need to be pulled up. The beautiful specimen in my cover photo was my first one for the season, which I believe I showed pictures of in my last garden update while it was still on the vine. That one topped out at four pounds, which is actually not that large for the type of squash. Just this week after cutting back some of the dead leaves and vines we've had about four more squash pop up! The plant does wilt a little in the afternoon heat, when I took my photos, but in the morning and evenings it perks right back up.

We also realized our volunteer squash plant that popped up in one of the beds was actually a Butternut instead of another Candy Roaster. I just pulled the first squash off the vine, though another is almost ready and a few more babies are coming along. That first one was almost four pounds, as well, so we have about 11-12 pounds of orange-fleshed goodness waiting to be enjoyed. My freezer is going to be full soon!


Tomatoes

Given how fantastic our tomato plants were looking once we started the magic of fertilizing with diluted urine, I thought we were going to look forward to a wonderful harvest. Then the caterpillars came. As I mentioned above, the hornworms came first. They do become stunning moths, but in the process they can ravage your tomato plants so we diligently hunted them and re-homed them to the grass in the yard. Then we realized it wasn't just those caterpillars, we also have tons of other black ones meandering through all the leaves and even the tomatoes themselves.

We also seem to have trouble getting our tomatoes to ripen on the vine. Perhaps there is something else we are missing in our nurturing of the plants. As is, we are just starting to pluck the larger green tomatoes before the pests can get to them and add those to our growing pickle collection. Perhaps I'll whip up some more (baked) fried green tomatoes soon, as well. At least my farmers keep me in delicious ripe maters.


White Whippoorwill Cowpeas

After a slow start (we planted them with our string beans) the cowpeas found the cucumber plants particularly helpful in giving them a structure to climb. I believe we did make the mistake of not supporting our beans early enough on, but it was the first year trying to grow them. It has been fun to watch this plant weave in and out of the cucumber vines, and it now climbs out even above the tallest cukes!

With only one plant we won't get a large harvest, but I do plan on letting these dry in the pods and will extract out the individual beans. There are actually a few edamame pods on the sole soybean plant, as well. That was a learning experience this year, but I think we took some good lessons to have an even better harvest next year!


All the rest...

In the bed where the Candy Roaster vine rests (along with some cucumber vines), we found the turmeric finally sprouting up. I think there are at least four popping out of the mulch from pieces of our roots we harvested last year. It will be nice to have more of that fantastically healthy item fresh from the garden soon. I keep meaning to add ginger to the list to grow for a one-two anti-inflammatory punch.

As far as herbs go, the dill has gone to seed, but I found the parsley flourishing in the shade of the cucumber and cowpea plants. The lemon balm is also staging a comeback after a vicious culling when it started to take over the whole garden. We have almost a metric ton dried now, but it might be time to work on a tincture again to add to my growing natural medicine cabinet. The pine catkin and oregano tinctures are being utilized by both of us as needed. With all of the stress of current times, the calming effects of lemon balm would be a welcome addition to rotate in along with the tea and infused water we do more days than not with the lemon balm and mint. Oh, we also dried more oregano for kitchen use, but still have plenty fresh as that plant just keeps on going.

I'll finish off with the view from above surveying most of our little plot. The only thing missing is the new fig clipping we planted in the front that seems to be slowly but surely growing. Hoping we can get at least a few figs as soon as next year if Mother Nature allows. In the bed closest to the bottom of the photo we did start some more fall seedlings to see if we can get a jump start on the next season. When I thought our Candy Roaster plant was a goner I asked for a few more of those plants, so three more plants are happily growing on the left. I have a feeling we may be giving those away soon! But they are hard to find anywhere else, even at the farmers market, so that will be a fun one to share. On the right side we also started some sugar pumpkins, which are perfect for pies. One of my co-workers is a pie fiend, so perhaps I'll get to practice my pie-making skills and keep him happy this fall. We also have some rutabaga (Swedes) seedlings just popping up, and the other two rows will hopefully become cauliflower and celery root.

It will still be hot for quite a while here, so we should have plenty more time left in the growing season. Of course I'm also loving the market offerings every week from the bounty that my farmers bring. Figs have been my favorite new fruit this week, and pears should be coming this Saturday. Apples will also pop up here shortly to fill the void as the berries and peaches are about done until next year. Oh the plums are absolutely divine, as well! We've been saving pits to plant out back to continually add to my hopes of having a suburban food forest. A girl can dream, right?

Thank you to the @naturalmedicine team on Hive for bringing such a lovely challenge this round. Of course a special shoutout to @simplymike for hosting the [Garden Journal](https://peakd.com/homesteading/@simplymike/hive-community-garden-journal-challenge-july) virtual get-together each month, as well. I'll update my post with the link to that challenge once it is up.

I really am even more grateful than ever to have space to grown nourishing food and get my hands in the dirt. To find repose each day, and marvel at pure, organic creation. As someone who thrives on lots of movement in my hobbies and career path, food is the basis for keeping my energy for all the activity I do every day. Having that connection straight from my energy source helps me do my job that much better. Gardening keeps me grounded in more ways than one!

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Damn you HAVE the GREEN GODDESS TOUCH, girl!!! Awesome!! Cukess? Thai people peel and deseed them and cut them into pretty little half-moon shaped slices - added to stir fries with mushrooms, bean sprouts etc. Really good done that way!!!

There is more than 1 way to skin a cuke. 😆

Oooh, I really need to expand my cuke-preparing skills. I don't often think to do them warm, but I'm sure they are delicious in stir fries. My boyfriend has made a warm cucumber soup from his Polish heritage, as well. Luckily we have plenty more to experiment with, haha!

And my screenshot of my Lotus Burn for the entry fee.

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I wish my garden looked like that, it just seems like I wouldn’t know where to start! I wish I could just you know plug my computer into my garden and code the stuff I want lol

Haha, I'm sure that will happen at some point! We really don't know what we're doing half the time, but still have fun regardless. 😂

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Lol you have no idea how comforting that is to hear now j feel more confident digging around in the dirt knowing nothing

I really do think it's like anything else--you just have to get in there and do it to learn how! Especially since what works in one part of the world doesn't always work in another. Though I have learned a lot from the other gardeners on here for tips to try.

I bought some organic cucumber from the supermarket today. But your homegrown cucumber looks more healthy

You really can't beat fresh grown, but organic from the store aren't a bad option if that's what you can get! Any way you can embrace the abundant plants to fuel your body. :)

Demeter - Hera - Artemis - all connected Goddessy Beings who celebrated their connection to earth, gardens and home. Nice of you to join them. And yes, it's arguably the apex of scared-moon worship to get in the garden and nourish the renewal of life. Love those cukes. Pass the pickles, please! 😆

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Well I am honored to be in such good company! I try not to get too sad at how far Western culture has come from those green goddesses, as I know so many of us are trying to return to our roots and get reconnected as much as we can in modern society. I am just thankful for not only the opportunity to garden and connect in my own way, but to have a wonderful worldwide community to share in the journey. 💚

So much going on and so much abundance! Most of my abundance is preferred by the chickens and rabbits, at the moment; grass, clover, soursobs and sow thistle.

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It is definitely an abundant time of year here in Atlanta! Honestly we are quite lucky with our temperate climate that there are things that can grow all throughout the year. We do have a few bunnies who enjoy the clover and grass in the yard, and I have seen a few nibbles in some of the tomatoes that were really close to the ground that I wonder might have been from some bunny teeth...but they're so cute I don't mind sharing a few. ;)

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I guess the wheel has turned. Now I'm the one envying you 😁
You have a nice garden. Congratulations. So many goodies 😍 I guess I'd better move to your place as we're not doing great this year.

Seems that is all too common in gardening and farming--one year is great, the next you can't get anything going! I know this year was particularly hard for you with the lockdowns going on. I hope you can still get at least some things out of the ground to enjoy this year!

You're right, not every year is good but hope dies last. Let's hope next year will be better.

What a beautiful entry to such a divinely beautiful contest, @plantstoplanks! I'm still in awe of your Candy Roasters, but your entire garden (as well as your politic-free thoughts on sacred femininity) is like balm for the soul. Thanks for sharing this magical bit of greenery and I'm sending oodles of good contest juju your way! 💚

Thanks Traci! Happy to spread some positive energy on your special day. I need to make my way around to all the current entries for both challenges as I'm sure there will be some amazing juju to take part in all around!

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Before I comment on the analogy, I suspect, looking at that photo, that the birds are getting to your tomatoes before they ripen. We have the same challenge here, so I know that look! I love your garden - one day, perhaps, I'll get to sit on your porch and look over and/or walk in it with you as you harvest the fruits of your (and Dave's) labours!

I love your analogy of the feminine and the nurturing of the garden: it makes so much sense. Depending on how I'm feeling - I so get your lack of energy in contemplating the need for the feminine in hallowed halls of leadership - I may weigh in over the weekend.

Can you believe that tomorrow's Friday. Again?

The birds might be a good guess for those ones higher up. I wonder if perhaps they are also going after the caterpillars that also enjoy the fruits? Either way, we did pull off one tomato that was starting to ripen yesterday afternoon that I missed. If we can at least enjoy a few here and there I won't consider it a total loss! Dave did pickle some with more cucumbers yesterday, as well.

Of course I would love to have you in my garden. One of these days we can only hope travel will once again be an option! And as much as I would love to write on that other topic (and perhaps will at some point), I was just feeling I needed to put more of the positive out there on this one. Both for myself and to boost the collective earthly energy! Though I know you would also share some amazing insight into women in leadership. I believe the Nat Med challenge runs through the 8th/9th if you want to specifically make it an entry, as I know many of those souls would enjoy your contribution. But as always, no pressure. ;)

Ahh, don't remind me. The final Friday. Another topic for another post...

You know, the birds sit in the bushes...they find the fruit we think are hidden. The buggers! And yes, they could well be after the caterpillers.

As for my contribution, let's see how things pan out this weekend...

One day, we shall share more than a virtual glass of wine, I'm sure 🥂

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Garden is looking lush mate!

Thanks! Definitely lots of the good stuff to fuel some great workouts! ;)

Love the versatility of your garden! It sounds like your plant babies are keeping you well and truly busy there! Hope you're able to make the most of growing season - sounds like it's far more rewarding growing it than buying it, just need some clones to help with all the things I want to do 😃

They definitely do require a good bit of nurturing and upkeep! Though thankfully not as much as an actual baby, haha. It's funny about the time thing. I remember when all the lockdowns first started a lot of people were taking advantage of the time to pick up new hobbies like starting a garden or making bread from scratch. I was lamenting in a somewhat joking manner to a friend that I didn't have any time for new projects and hobbies. She laughed and said I already had them, everyone else was just catching up. Kind of makes sense when she put it that way, haha. Though you might have to consult a very advanced spreadsheet to find anymore time in your day for anything extra... ;)

Yeah your friend makes a good point, I actually found myself even busier with projects that I was already really busy with - there's no spreadsheet that can help me fit in anything more! I've managed to get through those projects now and starting to go the other way with a bit of chill out and down time. Haven't been posting as much any more as I just don't have the mental capacity but can't imagine if I had any babies lol! I guess I have spreadsheet babies 😂

It's evident you're a loving mother to those planties, they look all cheerful and vibrant :D

Thank you @fenngen! I am quite fond of my little guys. 💚

I honestly don't know that I have enough mental energy reserves to go down that particular rabbit hole. I'd rather revel in the beauty of what we have nurtured in our garden this season and in my role as plant mama. It is summer here after all. I'm in the mood for warmth and light! I'll leave the darkness to the depths of winter reflection.

I feel the same way!! And I'm deep in winter. The motherly aspects of myself are definitely out - nurture where I can, ignore the things I can't change lest I go crazy with it!!!! It's a positive way to spend your time and connect to GOOD energies.

And there's yin and yang in all things too - gosh I could write a whole post on this!!! The dark earth (yin, feminine) cracks the seed open (masculine) which sends the green shoots up to be watered and nourished (feminine) and tended, to be raised and then cooked (feminine) - the sun (masculine) aids the growth - it's not that you are 'just' mother, but working in union with all the positive energies that help good things happen.

And only you can weave cucumbers into the sacred feminine!

Those crazy beans - what a name! You've got some great heirlooms there. I got some great seeds the other day - so excited for this ribbed zucchini, wink wink nudge nudge.

Love, love love this earth mother side of you --- what a beautiful, perfect response to this challenge, thanks soooo much for taking part! I hope some men are realising that they too access their 'feminine' side when they tend the earth and bring things forth into the world through such food creation!

working in union with all the positive energies that help good things happen.

I really am trying to do just that! Getting sucked in to the mire some days, but overall I am hoping that more of us, indeed, are focusing on the creative aspect that comes from the ashes.

I've only hit on a few of the posts so far for the challenge (as always wish I could "create" more time), but so many have been inspiring and beautiful in so many ways. Can't wait to see what other ones are birthed into the blockchain in the next week. 😊

That bloody mire!!! We're in Stage 3 again - locked DOWN. At least it's coming into Spring soon.

We can enter the mire, that's allowed, but know it's temporary - we can struggle on up again. xx Love you.

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