Wednesday, September 19, 2007

What, Me Garden?

Sorry I haven't posted about my garden in several weeks, everybody. We spent the last couple weeks of August and first couple weeks of September painting the outside of our house, which was disasterous on many levels, not the least of which was the loss of all the skin on both my forearms from chemical burns. As well as the brutal slayings of two roses and all the branches and foliage from four medium rhododendrons and a flowering quince.

I began the project with the goal of dutifully covering and protecting all the plants that abutted the siding of the house, and ended the project a few weeks later covered in scratches and bruises from head to toe, and utterly filthy-mouthed from all the cursing I did every time I walked into yet ANOTHER spiderweb (good lord, the spiders have been insane this year!). By the tenth day of this, I had finally lost it -- before my husband even knew what was happening, I'd backed into another spider web on a rhodie and was stomping off to the backyard with a scowl, returning moments later with the big loppers.
What happened next can best be described by analogy: you know that scene in Kill Bill when The Bride unleashes a samurai sword on a group of, like, 88 ninjas? Picture that scene, only I was in paint-covered shorts with a bandana over my hair instead of a sexy yellow jumpsuit, and the ninjas were quinces and roses and rhodies. Though the tool of destruction was different, the carnage was pretty much equivalent. And the fury-based action, totally identical. Right down to the backflips (okay, not really).

Now, a week or two after it's all finally ended, I do confess to some guilt about all this. Though I've been reassured by a master gardener friend that my plants will all survive the brutal attack, I can't help but wonder if they will ever trust me again. I had spent the first two years in our house nursing one of those rhodies back to health, after all, coaxing it back to glory with gentle words and regular fertilizing and watering. And then one spiderweb too many, along with a nasty gash on the back of my lower leg when I stepped off the ladder onto another one of its sharp branches, and the next thing it knew, I'd unleashed my inner Uma Thurman on its arse.

I confess I am not known for my patience.

In any case, the house sure looks great, even though the same can't be said for the plants around it. And, happily, the vegetables I had planted along the siding were spared my wrath (they weren't as sharp nor as likely to feature enormous spiders the size of my head). We ate our first zucchini the other day, which was pretty exciting since last year, our zucs never did much of anything. And we've got about six more of those coming in, as well as three jalapeno peppers that could probably be picked and turned into nachos as soon as we're ready. Tomatoes are still looking good, too. Ooh, and our strawberries! They have been fantastic, and they just keep coming! (I think the secret for those was definitely pots this year too, by the way, because we haven't had any slugs at all this time around, and last year lost a lot of berries to the little slimers.)

And now I'd like to leave you all with a question, to stimulate some comments and conversation. What do you guys do with your garden in the fall? Do you plant new stuff (if so, what?)? Do you just yank everything out and put the tools away until spring? I'd love to do something with our raised beds this winter besides just let them sit there looking lonely and bored. Got any suggestions?


Janet said...

Uma Thurman in the garden... LOL.

As to fall stuff, you could plant cover crops in your raised beds. I usually just yank everything out and put down manure and a coat of leaves for weed suppression and call it good till spring. But then I'm lazy.

Meg said...

I'm pretty lazy too, which is why I never bothered doing anything last year. I'll have to look into this "cover crops" thing -- my mom also suggested those winter cabbage thangs, but I'm not that crazy about those, really.