Life is not always rosy in the yard of a sub-urban environmentalist ~ my veggie plot and fledgling apiary are sad examples of that.
It was back in about 1992 or 1993 when I first tried my hand at gardening. The beans, beets and snow peas fared well ~ but since my carrots were not thinned properly they grew all intertwined. The spinach was stunted and my dwarfed corn plants grew fascinating ears of corn in the shape of spheres! “Corn Balls” ~ literally! In fact, I recall my sister and I drying one of the oddly shaped vegetables and keeping it for years afterward. Ever since that time, each of my attempts at tilling and tending have been great tests…often with dismal amounts harvest to actually taste. (See my August 2011 post “Green Garden Blues”)
The only strong season of semi success I experienced with tomatoes and beans was during the summer of 2003 when, as newlyweds, my partner and I planted a patch in a community allotment near the university housing where we lived. Ah, scenic Boulder Colorado ~ near Rocky Mountain Foothills! We’d hike in the mornings, play Frisbee in the late afternoon, then romantically water and weed our furrows until twilight. By autumn that year, I recall we had too much broccoli to know how to cook! To this day, I think it was the fertilizer of our fresh love that energized that particular garden. Not to say that our love has gone stale during the last decade in any way ~ it is just that, these days with children sprouting around us, we are not usually able to both be out tending to veggie sprouts at the same time.
This year, I prepared the soil with care and planted with great hope. Sadly, it was my naive trust of other neighbourhood critters that foiled my plot. After sewing and watering religiously each morning and each dusk, I began to see plant tips poke through the dirt in their neat little rows. Foolishly, however, I did not erect any wire mesh around the saplings, leaving local rabbits to devour the tender shoots in short order. By the time I did fortify the patch and replant, the season had progressed too far to practically yield very much food. By autumn, we had only secured a few bowls of string beans, some small tomatoes, occasional handfuls of snow peas and a row of baby carrots. In keeping with my tradition of fostering organically peculiar produce, there were a few oddly shaped veggies to arouse giggles from the family. Top prize going to the “Bum Carrot” (as seen above). Brownie the pet rabbit enjoyed eating that, as none of us snickering fools could imagine taking a nibble of it without blushing.
As for my little bee hive: Again, since I acquired the nucleus colony very late in the season, it remained weak throughout the summer and into autumn. By the time I had treated the hive with an annual dosage of mite medicine and wrapped it with tar paper against the harsh Ontario snow, there was still very little honey in the frames for the bees themselves, let alone my family and I. God willing, they will make it through the next many months with what they have stored. The greatest fear is that, a March thaw will bring them out of their hibernation to a cold world with no blooms and thus, no food. If they can stay cozy and collected together within their apartment until mid-April, I will be the happiest of novice hive keepers. With hope and prayers, my family too will keep cozy in our little house as we await the coming of spring.