The Displaced Farmer: Frustration, compost, Hubie Brown & the things that make it all worthwhile

Sweet banana peppers coming back after a sketchy start.  Not out of the woods yet with wet weather still around.

Sweet banana peppers coming back after a sketchy start. Not out of the woods yet with wet weather still around.

For area gardeners, this has been a tricky summer.  Excessive heat, along with sporadic, torrential rainfall has our plants not knowing what the bleep is going on.  We’re finding out that as much as the rain is a bountiful source of nourishment, it’s also a cradle of disease and disaster.

Bacterial, viral and fungal ailments flourish in the wet, muddy environment that’s been so prevalent these past few weeks.  And once they take hold, they can be a bitch to get rid of.

What to do in the midst of all this frustration becomes the question.  I’ve written before about the importance of faith; faith in yourself, in God and/or Providence.  Think about it and you find, in that context, we have more in common with our agriculturally-driven ancestors than we realize.

They had more than just a summer garden at stake and had no farmers’ markets or Whole Foods to tide them along the way.  For them, after frustration came prayer and a rethinking of the problem.  If nothing else, they were tenacious; they had to be.

So, I’m going to go back to basics, back to the dirt (back, back to the tar pits!).  I’ll lay a mulch of compost across everything and once that’s done, I’ll attempt to channel my inner Hubie Brown (NBA analyst and former NBA coach for those of you who can’t place the name) in that there’s “plenty of time” to turn things around and give my harvest a modicum of success.  Coming into the start of the fourth quarter of summer, I figure you either stop wasting water ($$$) and scrap your whole season or dig down and as they say, leave it all out there on the field.  Tenacity and plenty of time.

And the things that make it worthwhile?  Well, Thursday while watering, I saw a grasshopper, a baby.  Suddenly looking down at my hose, there it was, just sitting there, I think watching me.  Who can tell with those eyes?  I haven’t seen a grasshopper in my yard for years; you just don’t see them in the hood like that anymore, at least not in mine.  So, gardeners can change an ecosystem even if it starts with their own little one behind or beside their home, it appears

And yesterday, while watering an azalea, a small bird creeps up close slowly, really close.  It’s one of those instances when you question if the animal is sick, it’s so unafraid of humans.  But it didn’t seem sick, it was wary of me and tentative; a few hops, followed by an intense “what are you gonna do?” look.  Eventually, he settled at my feet, at the pooling water surrounding the azalea.  In the end, he took his eyes off of me and proceeded to drink, all the while I’m standing there amazed that this creature would approach me this closely and the level of trust (or thirst, lets be real) that allowed him to do that.  He drinks his fill after which he hopped back under the lilac and went on his way.  Now, I’m going to have to get a bird bath for the garden cause you know he told his boys.

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Filed under Urban Farming, Vegetable Gardening

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