A WEED GROWS IN QUEENS . . . AND A LIGHT GOES OUT TOO
Our power was out for two full days, and if you'll allow me to whine like a child, I'll tell you it sucked: rotten food, sticky & smelly air, boredom seeping like an infection as reading, writing, television, music were all eliminated (I know what you're thinking, and we went down that route . . . more than usual; but it gets you through only so many dead hours, and like I said, it was very hot & sticky). Now I'l stop whining like a child, though, because I realize that a goodly portion of my neighbors have gone seven days in the same circumstances.
If a time ever comes when oil & natural gas are at such a premium that few of us can afford to pay for them, it's gonna be ugly. Real ugly. We're spoiled rotten, just like the food we'll toss out of our freezers. We're unprepared for whatever may come. Oh well.
And what does this have to do with Urban America's Favorite Backyard Garden, the crowd asks? Perhaps I'm struggling to make some larger point about self-sufficiency, and reducing dependency on energy. I suppose. But mostly I'm offering excuses for why the garden hasn't continued to climb in the international rankings.
You see, as of last week our little patch of earth continued to set the gardening world on fire, one-magazine-after-the-other declaring our Green Urban Miracle the best they've seen. But last week, first extreme weather, and conditions leaving the world of expert gardeners "in the dark" to our progress conspired to keep us glued to our Third Best Garden in the World status. Tough on the soil, tough on the plants, tough on my ego. This week will be the greatest test yet. Versailles, look out.
So was the week a total washout (washout, get it? You know, heavy rain and . . . never mind)? Almost, but not entirely. We continued to harvest the tomatoes we planted in late April. Bright orange, slightly soft, and very juicy, they were perhaps slightly overripe, even water-logged from the storms. But they were very fresh, very clean tasting, with no trace of acidity or any cloying & unnatural sweetness. I'll reitterate what I've said regarding all our vegetables: they taste different than store-bought. Less sweet, less sour, more naturally bitter for the leafy greens, cleaner for the tomatoes and peppers. Fresh tomatoes, barely off the plant, with a light sprinkling of course-grain salt made a refreshing summer snack. Nice.
In the famous flower bed, the excess water & heat caused a terrible week for the impatiens, and my yellow begonia seems to have gotten too much water. I fear for it's future. But the marigolds and petunias did well somehow. As I've said many times, I'm still new to this, and I'm learning on the fly. From what I've seen, gardening is the ultimate "learn as you go, repeat the good, eliminate the bad" activity. Right or wrong, the plants tell you what works, what doesn't. And they tell you quickly. Try something new? You'll know soon enough if it's effective.
Close to 100 degrees heat waves, followed by scary thunderstorms ain't too good for most plants. Gardeners distracted by the loss of their power? Definitely not good. Back with a (hopefully) happier report next week from New York City's favorite temporarily pre-industrial outer borough.