Travel companions.

We’re looking at dates now. Perhaps we leave in a month. Perhaps longer. In all the planning there is, planning which plants to try and bring, which to give away, and who, if anyone, is eager to garden-sit… is quite overwhelming.

The three blackberries will go to a friend. The potted plum to my in-laws. Perhaps they’d like the blueberries, too.

Do you think this giant chard would mind two weeks in damp newspapers if I gave it a severe haircut first?

Napoleon will come with us. He first made the voyage here with us seventeen years ago as a little 1” specimen.

I’m tempted to harvest tomatoes green and wrap them in paper. A book I’ve just received discusses the method as a winter storage option. Surely it’s possible for any green tomatoes you might need to pick early.

The onions started falling over, so I’m starting their curing in batches. Trying this, learning that, one group of toppled tops at a time.

And then there are the carrots to pickle and the cucumbers to… pickle. Perhaps some dry beans will dry in time.

But I believe these are the last of my seeds I’ll sow for awhile. And I’ll never eat the sweet potatoes, okra, or melon on their way. I hope the popcorn finish as we’re ready to pack them in, and that the sweet corn make a delicious farewell feast appearance.

I’ll not count the gardens I’ve started and said goodbye to. I’ll remember this one as the best yet and the breeding ground for making home-farm dreams seem achievable. And I’ll miss it dearly, idyllically, forgetting the summer’s blasting heat coming and the bare earth during planting’s “winter” in the dead of July and August.

“It’s just survival”

“Do you want to get away to the garden for a bit?“

It’s a kind question. An offer. The answer is yes (always, always, always yes.) I extract myself from limbs, ceding my space as headrest, blanket, octopus, to him.

I take the dog, who is missing his ‘brother,’ and am ‘caught’ by the dog catcher for not having him on leash before he attempts to elevate his lead butt into the back of the car. I assure her I have the leash and am simply getting him in the car. She is nonplussed. I don’t actually care.

There’s one other gardener when we arrive. Parked where I park. I park by a different gate.

I hear a drill. A hammer. I gather my remembered things, check my mask, and I see him. His plots are across from one of mine, between my two. He’s constructing a gate.

When it’s time to switch plots and we plod by, I comment on the rabbits. “It’s just survival” he says. I nod, agreeing that everything has a stomach. He chortles.

And we’re done. Back to our attempted solitude, shared.

It begins to rain. I haven’t remembered the right tool to cut the Brussels’ trunks. I go about removing sad leaves and harvesting what’s left. The rain increases. Tucked in a ball, low and small, the Brussels sprouts’ canopy shelters me mostly from the angled drops. I continue.

A whine. A soft, slow not-whimper. I look over. My dog is melting. Trying not to, attempted stoicism, but failure.

I pack up, trek my refuse to the compost bin, and load my grateful pooch into the back, with a leash, but with a running start.

Bastards.

No, not those ones.

Not that one either.

The ones that did this:

Buried deep. Hopefully the stem hairs root in time.

Probably the same ones:

A wait and see game.

All this carnage right next to this beaut:

Is it too soon?

To sow beans? And squash? And corn? And and and?

Well… yes… outside.

But inside? Nah…

And I haven’t had a successful second sprouting of peppers yet. The front porch forgotten greenhouse may have me destined for the nursery.

The tomatoes

and sunflowers

are still growing strong, though.

Never mind the extinction of that dinosaur.

I can eat that.

The henbit has been loving this weather. It also has been possibly choking out the brassicae sprouts. But also possibly hiding them from the nibbling critters.

I hedged my bets on preventing choking and risking chomps. We’ll see…

The leeks from Dixondale Farms finally found their earthen homes. All ~120 of them. At least they freeze well.

This was the fingerling potato bed. After digging the whole way over it was discovered that the ~12 we buried grew into…3. Too many freezes without cover took them out. So those three are saved for a few weeks when it’s time to try another sowing.

In tomato and pepper (and flower!) news: I, of course, checked for sprouts again this morning. We’re still about five days from the earliest realistic possible growth. I did borrow the instant read thermometer from the kitchen to check the heating pad transference to the soil. 75 degrees F was the goal and exactly where it was. Huzzah!

Over here, the cabbage is happier than the henbit – hooray!