Sunday, July 13, 2014

Patience is a Virtue

 Patience is a virtue in many things, including gardening because nature happens in its own time.   Patience is not one of my strongest points, which made this week a little frustrating.  We have been waiting for the clouds to clear and the sun to shine.  Sabrina and I are waiting for our pole beans to flower and form beans.  I am waiting for peppers and eggplants to form and tomatoes to turn red.   A little, unsupervised girl named Trinity came to the Garden on Wednesday, and wrecked havoc by taking and hiding the front gate lock several times and breaking the purposely destroying eyes glasses on a large doll someone left in the neighbor plot.  Our WEP volunteers disappeared (and at least Chris got a paying job elsewhere).  Someone pulled (but did not take and eat) a cabbage out of the neighbor plot.  And – Dash it All -- squash bugs and squash borers have reappeared.    However, the sunflowers are starting to bloom and most of my bush beans have been prolific producers.

Unlike the boys, the girls have been very diligent in tending their plots.  We’ve pulled the spent pea vines and Chinese cabbage and replaced them with kale and collards – not because that’s what the girls want, but because that’s what their grandmother wants to cook.   Although their families have been rejecting virtually everything I send home with them from their plots (which has caused me to pull some of my hair out), this week they became big fans of the romaine lettuce J’anaya planted  before she moved to Mississippi. Two girls took home two bags.  Kristin/Shae has cleaned out half of her bed, but I’m not sure why or what she plans do to with it.   The pumpkins are crowding out the melons in the corner, and I found squash bug eggs on a few leaves on Wednesday.  I pulled the leaves and thinned a few more to create more light for the melons.  One of the girls questioned why I pulled her pea vines, which were covered with dry pods of unharvested peas.  I told her I was saving the seeds so that we could plant them later.  As it was, she had two volunteer pea vines created by her neglect of the peas over this season.
I found squash borers in the beds next door.  I wasn’t really sure what they were, but I killed one and decided to do some research to confirm my suspicions.   This is what a squash borer looks like and should be killed on sight without a second thought. They lay eggs, which hatch and the larvae burrow into the zucchini stem and hollow it out as they eat.  This causes the leaves to wilt and eventually kills the plant.  The tell-tale sign is a pile of pukish dross at the base of the stem.  Despite how gross it is, some people will slit the vine with a razor and dig out the larvae and then try to bury the stem to keep the plant alive.  Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn’t.

Someone mysteriously left a large doll to watch our neighbor plot.  I don’t know who.  I don’t know why.  It used to have spectacles, but Trinity got mad at me on Wednesday for telling her to leave them alone.  As soon as I walked away, she grabbed them off the doll again and stomped on them in the alley.  I earlier tried to reason with her, but she did not respect me an iota.  This – along with repeatedly removing the front gate lock and throwing it into the flower beds – has resulted in her being banned from the Garden for the summer.  Children are welcome in the Garden with adult supervision.    However, with the exception of Lovely, not a single neighborhood parent has set foot inside the Garden in years. It gets annoying (when the younger kids misbehave) to be treated like a free babysitter when I have so much other work to do every time I come to the Garden.  Kids under 5 are too young to garden on their own and they either cause problems or follow me everywhere asking me to let them help (which they cannot do).    I started to march Trinity, her sister and her two brothers (all of whom are under the age of 10) back to their home to speak with their mother about her disrespect of Garden property, but then discovered that they lived blocks away and south of Main.   So much for that thought . . . .
Sabrina had already weeded the food pantry plot when I arrived earlier than usual on Saturday morning.  (I had to make a detour in Bexley to avoid the 3400 contestants lined up at Capital for the American Idol auditions).   I tied up some tomatoes in the food pantry plot, watered raised beds and transplanted sunflowers, fertilized my peaked pepper plants, pulled my wonderfully prolific snow peas, weeded a bit, searched with Sabrina for squash bug eggs (and blessedly did not find any), chopped some large weeds growing around our compost bins, weaved some raspberry brambles back into the fence and planted some flowers before harvesting from my and the food pantry plots.   Sabrina donated so much lettuce and kale from her plot that I forgot to harvest lettuce and kale from Susan’s plot and to tidy up the excess in the neighbor bed.

We had some visitors on Saturday morning.  Some prayer walkers from a consortium of East Side Churches (including Christ Memorial Missionary Baptist Church on Livingston Avenue and Macedonia Baptist Church on Oak Street) were walking around the neighborhood to pray for the residents and people.  I gave them a tour and they formed a prayer circle to pray for us. 

Neal came by to tend his plot and prune his raspberry bushes.  I mistakenly pulled a kale plant out of the ground while I was harvesting, so we transplanted it into his plot.   Then, I was able to leave by 1 p.m. – ahead by mere minutes of Sabrina.  We were both touched with a little heat stroke.  (There’s no shade at the Garden).   After I got home and had my Mt. Dew, I remembered what I forgot to do.  Maybe I wouldn’t have forgotten if I hadn’t been in such a hurry to leave and return to air conditioning or if I hadn't been so hot or my blood sugar hadn't been so low.  So, I’ll be back today (after this a brief rain squall) to harvest the produce I forgot and take it to the Salvation Army tomorrow.

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