Does it seem to you that we just wrote a “Six on Saturday” a day or two ago? The days are whizzing by, which is why it’s important to take a moment and breathe deeply, especially if there are lilies like these nearby. This morning I woke early, made my tea, and moved a chair near the Front Garden just so I could absorb the heavy perfume of the trumpet lilies. They will be gone soon, so I need to make a point to enjoy them while they are here. The growing season is half over, and it feels as though it’s been a blink in time. So that’s #1…imprinting special moments in the garden because it will be an entire year before one can enjoy them again. #2 is celebrating the firsts! Many of you will laugh, and rightly so, but I’m celebrating this (albeit tiny) first harvest of black currants. I’ve never grown them before, but I adore them. I’m down to my last jar of Black Currant jelly from England, and granted this tiny child-sized handful will not be enough to make a batch of jelly, but it will be enough to infuse some black tea, and I love black currant tea dearly. #3 is “Embrace the mess!” Just look at my cottage! Suddenly, both the shallots and garlic had to be harvested. In the case of the garlic, it went from “Look! I have scapes!” to rotting in spots almost overnight. Most of the garlic heads are smaller than I’ve ever harvested before…probably a combination of a long, hard winter with little root growth, followed by a very dry spring. In any case, all of it is in the shed curing so there’s barely room to walk, let alone rock. I’ve just begun to braid the shallots and hang them on the walls, so eventually there will be a clear path to the rocker. By then the garlic will be cured and can be braided as well. #4) Be happy with what is! Curiously, most of the shallots are much larger than usual. It seems many of them grew three or four parts in one huge bulb, rather than splitting into 3 or 4 separate bulbs. And most of them that did separate only made 3 or 4 shallots rather than 5-8, which is what I normally get. Anyone know why they didn’t separate as usual? Regardless of the cause, I’ve learned that these huge shallot bulbs just don’t keep, so I won’t bother braiding them. They may have to be processed into chopped shallots for the freezer soon or turned into shallot vinegar. Often I would grumble about rotting garlic and imperfect shallots, but I’m opting for the “at least there’s something; it is what it is!” attitude this year. #5) Keep moving forward. The garlic harvest created space for winter squash seed to be planted. They’ll be able to sprawl as the cauliflower and broccoli come out. You’ve no doubt noticed my elegant watering system. Yes, it’s dry again so instead of dragging hoses I’ve rigged a sprinkler which will cover nearly 1/4 of the potager at a go. Some of my friends quit planting this time of year when it’s hot and dry, but moving forward with succession planting means there will be harvest well into fall, so here it continues without a break. #6 Anticipation! My daughter always tells me I should spend more time planning for a trip, because “anticipation is one of the best parts of traveling!” Anticipation is certainly one of the best parts of gardening. Seeing this baby watermelon fills me with anticipation. I check it every day and think about the first bite, the first watermelon sangria, the first watermelon salsa. All through the garden, there is anticipation and promise. It’s such a giggle!
That’s my six lessons from the garden for this week. To see what other gardeners are thinking about or growing or harvesting, go to The Propagator, who hosts this meme.