Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Gardening/Life 101 -- Morning Round

Do you smile the next morning
when my cup and I wander past,
squishing larvae with my fingers,
nodding at the latest casualty –
a cutwormed eggplant seems a waste
of stem and leaves, yet I measure
blackberry diameters as if all is forgiven?

--from Conversations with a Garden, an ode to my garden

The first thing I do every morning, even before helping with goat milking, is prepare a cup of apple cider vinegar tea (1 cup hot water, 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, 1 teaspoon honey) to carry with me as I tour my garden beds. A daily tour is essential to a gardener. Five or ten minutes enable the gardener to identify what needs to be done and stay on top of invaders, disappointments and other good and bad surprises.

See the holes in the leaves of the arugula?  (Click on the picture to see them better.) Karen noticed them first a couple weeks ago.  The newer leaves seem to be fine, so I'm hopeful the cause has disappeared.  

Next, I see the same thing, holes, in the leaves of my cabbages, maybe caused by slugs.  I'll continue to watch these, too.

Nag, nag, nag.  Yes, I know I should thin my carrots...

and I really ought to Google "broccoli, premature blossoms" to see what I should do.

Cheers!  My next crop of lettuces has begun to sprout.

Now here's something I don't know how to read.  Something broke a grape leaf.  Was it the wind?

Who's been digging the potatoes?  One of our boxers, Lex or Rosie, I'd bet.

Do you see the damaged leaf on this potato plant?  A couple weeks ago frost nipped it.  The resilient potato is doing fine now.

Finally, I must check the greenhouse.  Is it time to water the tomatoes?  Do I need to move any of them away from the tendrils of the encroaching cucumber?

Gardening is like life, like business, like home. A few minutes of observation, listening, planning and prioritization can prevent wasting time on matters of little or no importance -- such as staying at a desk at the end of the day merely because the boss still sits, while the carrots need thinning.

"I think you're forgetting something," says Virginia. "Some people have real jobs. They can't afford to stroll around their yards with a cup before heading off to work."

"I bet they can afford to set aside a few minutes to get organized, just like they find time for things they really want to do," I say, "like reading the morning paper, chatting beside the coffee-maker, updating their status on Facebook, or sending an email to an old friend.  By the way, you should see my list for today: work on two updates due May 3, weed the beets, thin the carrots, water the seeds I planted yesterday, practice piano, work on a poem, call my publisher, check the greenhouse, set up the new electric fence if it's delivered, pick up a load of manure...."

"Shush, busy man," says Virginia. "You're lucky. Most of those things can wait for tomorrow."

But I have deadlines to meet, people counting on me....

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