A few weekends ago, I posted my Growing Challenge update; since I’m in the office today (amidst insane amounts of rain from Hurricane Gustav that’s made its way up the coast), I found the time to load the photos to my flickr pool.

September 1, 2009

September 1, 2009

1. 2008.09.01_01, 2. 2008.09.01_02, 3. 2008.09.01_03,
4. 2008.09.01_04, 5. 2008.09.01_05, 6. 2008.09.01_06,
7. 2008.09.01_07, 8. 2008.09.01_08, 9. 2008.09.01_09,
10. 2008.09.01_10, 11. 2008.09.01_11, 12. 2008.09.01_12

Writing this is bittersweet, though, as the garden no longer looks so lush and bountiful. Last night I began the dismantling required by my landlord, prior to my departure at the end of the month.

  • I harvested an enormous basket of beans, pulled up and composted the vines (with blossoms still on them), and dismantled the make-shift trellis that Michel Nischan taught me how to make in that episode of Victory Garden last September.
  • I pulled up the (unproductive) zuchinni plants, and the gorgeous but fruitless watermelon vine that grew from the seeds that Pattie sent me last spring.
  • I harvested every tomato, green ones included, and have laid them in a windowsill to ripen and be devoured. The plant itself is on the compost heap, and my poor, mangled tomato cage now resides with other “cast off” pieces of furniture and such by our dumpsters.

This evening, once the rain lets up, I’ll harvest all of the remaining carrots and onions, gather the basil for pesto, pot the oregano for my windowsill in the city, and collect all of the parsley and chives for drying. Tomorrow, I’ll dig up the lilac bush and bring it to my Aunt, and move the marigold plants to the plots of my neighbors. The gorgeous “birthday dirt” will be used to top off all of the containers that will winter at Mom and Dad’s, add some nutrient to neighbor’s beds, and then cover the compost pile in the woods before I dismantle the walls of the raised bed and bring the wood (along with the pieces used for my trellis) to the reclaiming pile in Dad’s back yard.

Every bit of this garden, with the exception of the cage that my tomato plant took such exception too, shall be used or reused. The plants have fed me and my friends all summer, been a feast for my eyes on cool summer mornings, provided hours of entertaining work and enjoyment, and taught me a great deal about patience.

I expect that I’ll have little time or space for a garden of any real sort in Manhattan next summer, though I’ll be involving myself in CENYC activities, the Greenmarkets, and other growing projects that I stumble upon. I will continue to grow a few small things “from seed” though — tomatoes, eggplants, and cucumbers in containers or deep windowboxes, as my space permits, and oregano, mint, and fancy Italian parsley in small pots in my kitchen. Melinda’s experiment has succeeded in teaching me what is attainable — and what is worth attaining.