The Art of Gardening during a Pandemic

Hello there,

Life’s crazy. I say we shut out everything and focus on the garden. Shall we?

Earlier in the year, I made a 4′ by 8′ raised garden bed. Since then, the garden has been blowing up. Let’s check it out.

Just after planting, early April

I started out with tomatoes, beans, peas, squash, peppers, cucumber, basil, onions, and chives. There are a few herbs in containers.

The intent is for this to be a kitchen garden that provides food for the family on a daily basis. It has definitely upped the amount of veggies I eat on a daily basis.

Hatch pepper, royal burgandy bean, ‘Black from Tula’ tomato

Early on, we got some trouble from earwigs. Something was eating the plants at night, and when I came out with a flashlight, there were hundreds of earwigs eating my plants. I killed as many as I could, coming out night after night for a week.

The plants were mostly fine, but we lost a lot of the basil. Most of the basil bounced back, but the earwigs have not been forgiven.

I made a ‘Blair Witch’ style teepee to support the plants when they got too tall

Most of my crops are vines. Tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, peas. With vines, you have to support them to keep them off the ground. Also, I spaced my plants close together initially, with the intent of using the vertical space. I lashed the trellis together out of twine and long spars from the honeysuckle bush nearby.

The Kentucky Wonder beans grew to the top right away, putting out tons of beans in late spring. Later I was able to entwine tomato and cucumber vines to give everyone more support. As the tomatoes ripen and swell, they’re making good use of the supports to hold themselves up.

This was late May. The weather kept on the cool side and the plants loved it.

Throughout the season, I’ve had tons of pest problems. I try to cope with it organically and not get too worked up. Biggest pests, in order of difficulty were: powdery mildew, athids, rats, and earwigs.

I used milk and water on the powdery mildew, soap on the athids, rat traps for the rats, and pure rage against the earwigs. Mostly it’s working because I’m out there sitting by the garden so much. I can see anything happening before it becomes a big deal.

‘Some people think cucumbers taste better pickled’ -Dave Chappelle

Another part of this was trying to preserve some of the veggies. We had good luck with pickles. I want to try some canning next. More on that later.

I’ve also had some experiments cooking squash. It’s been an adventure. So far I’ve tried them sauteed, baked, stuffed, and fried. Of course, fried is best.

A big thing I want to practice is eating things before they get overripe. In the past I’ve left fruits on the vine too long just admiring how they look. Don’t want to make that mistake again!

That same ‘Black from Tula’ tomato, all grown up

The summer has been heating up. All the tomatoes are ripening. I had to take out a few pea plants but everything is going well. At least, everything is going well in the garden.

Breathe in, breathe out.

Working in the garden is very calming for me. Lately things have been so crazy with the pandemic and our insane racist government. The rest of the world is outside of my control. So I focus on the garden. That’s how I’ve been getting through.

Progression shot number three July 2020

I should mention the elephant in the room here. On the last post on this blog, I optimistically said I would be back on the PCT by the start of June. As if to prove that I can’t control anything, the same day I posted that I got a call from my boss calling me back to work. So I have been working for the past six weeks, with barely any breaks. Sorry to disappoint any readers who wanted to see me back out there.

Talk about things you can’t control. Try working retail during a pandemic.

But hey, vegetables!!!

So yeah, I recommend gardening to anyone who is having anxiety. Dig in the garden, shut out the world. That’s what I say. Eventually we will all get through this. Even if I have to plant a winter garden, and another spring planting….

Thanks for reading. I glazed over a ton of stuff here. If you want any more details on the garden, let me know in the comments.