don't reap to the edges of your field
On Sustenance and Responsibility
It has been very warm and humid for most of this summer, but sometimes also bone-dry, taxing our well and turning patches of our yard mustard yellow. We had a blast of zucchini early on and then nothing, and more than once Susan announced her intention to hand-pollinate the blossoms, which I thought sounded a bit indelicate considering the quiet suburban nature of our little homestead.
Because our garden is entirely organic —- we use absolutely no weed-killer —- things generally look to be a mess here.
What we did and do have instead of zucchini are masses of cucumber (several varieties), chard, the great-grand beans of our neighbor’s grandfather’s heirlooms, brought over from Italy at the turn of the last century, carrots, four kinds of potatoes, three kinds of tomatoes, and more weeds than I have seen in my entire twenty-one years of living in Connecticut. It’s taken me years of gardening to understand that there are good weeds and not good weeds, and that if you let either go unchecked, they leech valuable nutrients out of the soil and away from the growing vegetables and flowers, leaving them small and insignificant, if they appear at all.
I’ve come to accept that it is the price of refusing to allow chemicals like glyphosate anywhere near our property, our well water, our animals, or the wild animals, birds, and insects who pass through here on an average day.
Because our garden is entirely organic —- we use absolutely no weed-killer —- things generally look to be a mess here, and I’ve come to accept that it is the price of refusing to allow chemicals like glyphosate anywhere near our property, our well water, our animals, or the wild animals, birds, and insects who pass through here on an average day: opossum, fox, bobcat, fisher, skunk, woodchuck, coyote, black bear, deer, chipmunk, red tailed hawk, barred owl, Great Horned Owl, hummingbird, rose breasted grosbeak, bat, honeybee, bumblebee, and even the asshat of the insect world, the yellow-jacket. We have planted our front garden entirely with pollinator-friendly perennials and everyone is (mostly) welcome maybe with the exception of the deer who are riddled with the Lyme disease-infected ticks that plague all of New England. But it’s hard not to make sure that the deer also have enough to eat, and every week, we rifle through our fruit and vegetable drawers and toss out into the woods behind our house anything that’s overripe in the hope that someone will come along and enjoy it (and leave my astilbe alone). And mostly, they do.
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