It has been eleven months since the Valley of the Sun became 'home'. Eleven months since I dragged my buckets of iris and chamomile and orange globe mallow and mint into this foreign land of the sun and said,"Grow!" Alas, every green token of my life before died except the iris and mint. But, iris and mint grow anywhere, right? This spring I scattered chamomile seed in my daughter's now flourishing flowerbeds to no avail. It's a weed! Can I not even grow a weed? Last week I noticed a lovely lacy greenness by the spigot: Chamomile, right where I planted it last year and right where I watched it die. Smiling broadly, I dragged the hose across the yard with a keen eye for anything green that I might recognize and spied two more tiny chamomiles starting in the middle of no man's land. Not a drop of water that hadn't fallen from the sky had graced that piece of dirt yet there they were. So, I then began scouring the grey road base backfill of a yard, inspecting every weed, which wasn't difficult as so few survive the terrain, and to my amazement an orange globe mallow, not two inches high, had begun to grow. Life is funny that way, isn't it. Joy and life are found in places we least expect.
The garden... yes, the garden is still in the process of becoming. Neem Oil has become my dear friend along with coffee grounds and Epsom Salts. The week after a treatment of fish yuck found my plants, specifically my failing peppers, greening and adding leaves. Happy dance!!
The okra has me puzzled. I planted seed last October and the little darlings were so miniature it was humorous. Deciding it was due to planting in the wrong season (still trying to figure out the seasons here) I planted again this past March. Ha Ha! Knee high to a grasshopper! The onions and bachelor buttons in the same bed are doing wonderfully. It is making me scratch my head (what an odd idiom ~ something else to look up).
Can one green bean variety be soooo different from another? Apparently so. Nash was planted first and the birds truly enjoyed the seeds. Not being able to replace with the same variety, I replanted (twice ~ thank you Mr. Orange) with Heirloom Top crop and they just never took off. Meanwhile, the Nash that survived the birds and the cat, a dozen plants or so, mostly in the iris bed, are looking beautiful and producing lovely beans. Hmmmm.
Meanwhile, being completely disgusted with the whole bush bean drama, I pulled up the dead and dying and planted potatoes instead. I hadn't planned on planting potatoes. You know when you go into the pantry to retrieve the spuds purchased just days before and find sprouting seed potatoes? I had one of those moments. Not to be discouraged by a mere lack of mashed potatoes, I put on a pot of water for rice and proceeded to plant russets in the green bean wanna be bed. I am confident they will do at least as well as the beans.
I suppose the most surprising thing since I have begun this journey of backyard gardening is how nearly nothing is as I had come to expect. Squash and Armenian cukes, historically the most prolific crops ever, languish. Cilantro that never topped 2 feet grew shoulder high. Tomatoes that traditionally grow a healthy crop of huge horned worms were instead plagued with curling leaves and not a worm to be found. Okra that would normally tower over me is not three inches tall. Half the marigolds, always the MOST reliable flower,withered and died, while a hand full of small sunflower seed scattered inadvertently on the concrete like ground sprouted into healthy beauties. God is teaching me something here. Perhaps it is to expect the unexpected and to bloom where I am planted.