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Yes, I have Bipolar II, and it is (mostly) well controlled. And anxiety, which is sometimes controlled. This blog is to document my successes and failures as I attempt to maintain a garden despite the above. Here's the pattern:

Spring: "Yea! I planted lots of vegetables that will grow big and yummy! I'm weeding! I'm watering!

Midsummer: I should weed. I should water. I should pick those before they're too big. (Insert anxiety here.)

Late summer: Weeds have eaten my garden, everything is overripe, and I let the stuff rot before I cooked/canned/froze it. I'm a terrible gardener. :( (Insert depression here.)

Despite my challenges, I manage to get a few good tomatoes, zucchini, and yes, pumpkins every year. Why do I torture myself like this? Because for me, this is profound therapy. Feeling earth in my hands, watching things sprout, digging, moving rock, and bathing in the early-morning sun nourish me. Nothing tastes better than a tomato, zucchini, or strawberry that grew despite all my bumbling attempts to kill it. If I can laugh through it, make others laugh, and inspire others, healthy or otherwise, to get out there and grow, then all the better.

Helpful: encouragement, support, shared stories of success or failure, and any and all gardening advice.

Not helpful: medication advice (I have great medical support); "try this great herbal stuff!" (I have a wonderful naturopathic doctor); or "quit complaining and just get over it!" (Believe me, I would if I could.)

Happy reading!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Planting, Garbling, and Hail

I have two reasons for going a week without posting. Reason number one: Gardening is hard work! Hauling compost, plants, and mulch left me too tired to sit down and think, let alone write a blog post. Reason number two: Embarrassment. Obviously the excitement of starting a garden and a blog at the same time was too much and tipped me over into hypomania. What else could explain the chaotic Metaphor Madness. When I read through my last post, all those metaphors exhausted me. So I promise, no more posting in a metaphor-happy hypomanic state. At least I'll try. ;.)

After I finished planting the last of the herbs tonight, I came in, showered, and bounced happily downstairs to start a new blog post, when I heard "plip. plip. Plip. PLIP. PLOP. BLOP. Bloppitybloppity Plunk Plunk Thunk Thunk THUNK..." Oh *(&%*&#! Hail! On my freshly planted herbs! Not to mention the hundred other things I planted this week, all cowering in fear against being pelted by marble-sized chunks of ice. As soon as the 20-minute storm passed, we all ran outside to check on the garden babies, and the poor things are fine. Boy are they hardy! Even the tiny little thyme and lavendar plants seem unscathed.

Should we go with the bullet list tonight? Yes, it's much easier to read.
Starting with the herb garden, south-to-north:

  • Catmint (aka catnip)
  • Apple mint
  • Oregano
  • California Poppies
  • Hyssop
  • Chamomile
  • Lemon balm
  • White Swan Echinacea
  • Lavender
  • Thyme

and in pots in the same area: sage, basil, cilantro, and more oregano.

We thought we had lost the oregano to the enthusiasm of the apple mint, so we bought more. When we pulled some apple mint aside, however, a few courageous oregano were struggling to poke through. So I pulled a bunch of the mint to give the little guys some breathing room and sun. What I have in the ground is Greek oregano, so I put the new common oregano (Oreganosum vulgaris) into a pot. If anybody needs some good oregano to flavor their spaghetti sauce or tacos, I'm your girl.

I brought in all the mint I pulled and garbled it. Yes, garbled is a real word! The Wiktionary definition: "(obsolete): to sift or bolt; to separate the fine or valuable parts from the course or useless parts, or from dross or dirt, as to garble spices" http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/garble

That's an herbalist's way of saying I brought the mint in, washed it, pulled off the mud, roots, and dead leaves, and bundled it for drying. Now somebody remind me in three weeks or so to put the dried leaves in the jar. The person to remind me at the best possible time gets a small jar of dried apple mint, and recipes. :.)

So much for the herbs. In the vegetable garden we have, from west-to-east:

  • green beans
  • eight different tomatoes (grape, yellow pear, supersweet 100s, jet star, roma, brandywine, early girl, and Fourth of July)
  • peas
  • garlic
  • red bell pepper
  • scarlet runner beans that I don't think will make it. :(
  • one hardy spinach plant that survived where 10 were planted
  • three rows of bush beans
  • multi-colored heirloom carrots (maroon, orange, yellow, and white)
  • beets
  • watermelon
  • acorn squash
  • delicata squash
  • zucchini
  • little pumpkins
  • big pumpkins
  • half a truckload of mulch started in the paths
  • and that mess of mystery viney plants in the compost pile. They're definitely in the squash/melon/cucumber family, and are very happy, and abundant. Did I mention that we are about to be over-run with something big and edible?

The strawberry patch looks lovely. Oh! Last week I bought a golden raspberry bush at the farmer's market! I planted it at the far east end of the garden, near the strawberries. I don't think it fruits the first year, so we all have to wait, but in a week it has grown an inch and has a healthy deep green to its leaves, so I'm sure it will survive being transplanted.

That's enough for tonight. I keep promising photos. Since the planting is finished, and only half a truckload of mulch to go, I may be able to take some and post them tomorrow. :.)

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