Cat in Garden on Soaker Hose

He Doesn’t Mind the Soaker Hose

Garden update. The junk mulch is coming apart at the seams. The chickens broke in. Their wings are clipped now, but that doesn’t mean we always remember to close the garden gate.

On other fronts, we’re seeing a bumper crop of wild-cultivated tomato plants. I’m not talking about the eleven I’ve got growing in cages; those I started from seed; i.e., on purpose. I’m talking about the tiny forest of tomatoes which came up right around where we planted the open-pollinated varieties last year.

Tempts me to go wild on this stuff. Imagine an orchestrated mess of reseeding annuals, reproducing on their own. I imagine them settling into a micro-ecological balance of their own invention, gravitating toward the soil they liked best and the vegetables they wanted to be near, permaculturing themselves.*


* Apparently the problem is cross-pollination. Generations of careful cultivation could go awry if the plants were allowed to interbreed at random.


On the other end of the spectrum are our cucumbers, unfit and unwilling. I want a year’s worth of pickles by the end of this growing season, damn it. I’ve planted something like 50, and of the two that sprouted, one got slug-eaten. That’s a 4 percent germination rate, with 50 percent survival for the ones that made it, by which I mean one living plant.

Amid the failure and the flourishing, there’s something about life that wants to live, given half a chance and a sheer quantity of seeds. Despite all, we are lucky. The land is gracious to us; life is gracious.

LUCK. "Destiny, fortune" (Old Russian, лучаи). "Happiness, fortune" (Middle High German, gelucke).

Compost Bin

Rats are not gracious, but enterprising. This is the compost bin I built last summer, which, this summer, has been more or less full of rich, airy compost, sweet and fecund, teeming with red wiggler worms and micro-organisms. This picture is before the rats started excavating. They are moving piles of dirt and worms from the inside out, one tiny handful at a time. I’m going to staple hardware cloth to the inside of this sucker, see what they think of that.

Meanwhile, the cat prefers to lie on the soaker hose.

At least he’s not eating the baby house sparrows. Mr. and Lucinda Beebe set up their nest here under the eaves, and toward the end you could actually see the baby Beebes cheeping and gaping. They’ve all moved out now, but it was sweet while it lasted.

Baby House Sparrows

  • redhen02

    try planting Cascadia peas.. They get as fat and tasty as long as you let them grow, and the bigger they get, the better.
    My lettuce got real bitter; disappointing. The carrots are struggling, the outcome is not certain. I need to get some kale planted.

    • I’ll keep an eye out for Cascadia; that sounds good.

      Yeah, the kale is great – I like it in soups, we love kale chips, it’s good in salads. And it can grow through most of the winter, too.