This year is my first vegetable garden since 2020. In both 2021 and 2022, my wife’s failing health took priority over getting a garden planted and attended.
I’ve had a garden most years since I moved to Byng in 2004, and it is among my very favorite things to do. The best thing about it isn’t the produce, although it is fantastic, but the beauty of being outdoors in the evening sun, tending to and caring for live plants.
For the years I was married, I would come into the house with a basket or bag full of tomatoes, cucumbers, cantaloupe , onions, lettuce, strawberries, spinach, and bell peppers, with a huge, proud grin on my face, eager to show Abby what I had grown.
Despite her absence, I am still going to be grinning with pride when I start getting produce this year.
I also very regularly grab a camera, especially when the light is nice or when I see something unusual, like the large caterpillars I spotted recently.
Wednesday night I mowed the grass for a bit, then dug weeds in the garden. At some point, I stepped in some fire ants, but it took them a while to migrate past my shoes and socks to get to some of my leg to start biting me. And bite me they did. I know they are just doing what fire ants do, but they really do hurt. Fortunately, I am not allergic, so it’s more of a nuisance than anything else.
In addition to the fruits and vegetables I cultivate, I have a small orchard with peach, plum, and cherry trees. Some years I have unlimited peaches and plums, and some years, like this year, I have none at all, due to a late frost.
I almost always plant marigolds in the garden, ostensibly because they attract beneficial insects, but mostly because I love the look and small of marigold flowers. When Abby was still with us, I often brought her marigolds from the garden, along with wildflowers from the pasture.
In the spring of 2020, with the Covid-19 pandemic brand new and remaining largely unknown, I wrote to a friend that, “if I get the Rona and die, please tend my marigolds.”