If anyone is arriving here from Weekend Snapshot, my WS post is below this one or you can click here. If anyone is interested in my new garden story, here it comes.
I am thinking of my current gardening venture as my new garden story as opposed to the old garden story which I summarized in my garden story post. The plant above is a volunteer cleome which has sprung up in one of my garden boxes. The problem is that cleome is a summer flower and it won't survive the winter, even in the protected box . Therefore, it's a weed by any other name, which means it's taking up room from a planned crop. My first cleome was a gift from a neighbor who had it volunteering in a spot where she didn't have room for it. Therefore, she let me dig it up and start some cleome in my garden. Each year it came back and spread out to new spots and I had a ton of cleome which I love. The cleome below was growing during the summer of 2000 and turned a path into a cleome riot.
This year, cleome was a casualty of the drought. The only watering I did all summer was a little hand watering with a watering can and that didn't include very many flowers. My roses were one of the few things that got watered occasionally. Basically what could adapt survived and what couldn't didn't. I assumed that was it for the cleome which I've had, beginning with my neighbor's plant, for over a decade. I could of course buy seeds another year but it's not the same. A new crop of cleome is springing up as a result of my hand watering my fall greens, followed by some blessed soaking rains. Sadly, this time of year, it needs to be treated as a weed and pulled up because it will take away nutrients from plants that can be coddled for months to come, even after a hard frost. Cool season plants only need protection from the boxes tops which I put on while the sun is still heating them up in the afternoon. I just saw that we are having hard frost warning this week so I'll have to start covering my boxes for the night soon.Another hard one for me is the volunteer tomato plant. Yep, you heard me right. That healthy plant above which is growing like a weed in the middle of my lettuce is a tomato plant. I didn't even grow tomatoes this year. This is my first year in 30 years that I didn't bother with tomato plants. Apparently some of the seeds from past crops and fruits which didn't get picked remained viable enough to spring up in the middle of my lettuce. Tomatoes aren't going to grow in the winter in a climate which gets hard frost and some snow. It ain't gonna happen no matter how much solar heat my boxes get. Which means that 3 foot tall healthy tomato plant is a weed, sucking nutrients away from viable plants. It's hard for me to pull it up. Before you start feeling too sorry for me, how about that lettuce?
I'm thinning the lettuce every day for delicious salads. The radishes are about ready to start picking too. The baby spinach and carrots are coming along too. I have 4 boxes filled with food. Even better is the rain. We had days of rain and I've collected close to 100 gallons of water. The run off from the gutters filled two 34 gallon trash cans with water the second day of rain. The rain and unseasonably warm autumn have made all sorts of odd things happen. Spring and summer flower beds have decided to have a go at the growing season they didn't get because of the drought. The iris bulbs and lilies that didn't bloom this summer have decided to grow like crazy this autumn. I've even spotted a few buds so maybe I'll have iris and lily blooms covered in frost. I photographed roses in the snow a few years ago which I loved.
Even the morning glories are having a last hooray. It's such a mixture of autumn and spring everywhere I look. The big thing though is I'm pretty relaxed. I'm willing to enjoy the surprises and not worry too much about what this bodes for the actual growing season. I have a feeling there will still be some seeds hanging around that will stay viable until May, when they will have a shot at producing plants that will get an actual chance to survive.
I'm looking forward to the autumn foliage which is still in the early stages of changing where I live. We're usually a couple of weeks behind the mountains. That's part of the fun I get from a mountain trip in the fall. It spreads out the enjoyment of the autumn blaze. In general, I'm enjoying watching the season's surprises play out. I need to pull up my cleome and tomato plants soon. They are weeds when they start at a time they can't grow, in the middle of plants that can. That is sensible but I think I'll hold off. It's simply too much fun to see the crazy mixed up seasons in my crazy patchwork quilt of a garden.