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Finding Delight in Variations in Gardening

You don’t have to be a gardener to have noticed that the weather this summer has been “different” from usual. An early warm spell, followed by a hard frost, a fairly nice spring, an extremely dry hot summer, and now late summer, which hasn’t achieved its identity yet. If you do grow any plants, however, you may have had a chance to reflect on how their growth has varied from patterns and expectations of previous seasons.

The weird weather caused delayed fruition in two notable areas in our garden.

One oddity was our sunflowers. They grew very tall and still remained very tall green stalks until mid-August. The stalks were more than 8 feet tall before the first flower opened. Now they are as full and lush as usual, and the bees and insects are enjoying them as much as we are.

Likewise, our broccoli had me worried. I feared I would be writing an article titled “The Summer of Headless Broccoli” because the plants only had glorious leaves until late August. I was wondering if perhaps I (or the grower from whom I’d purchased the seedlings!) had mixed them up with collards– although the leaves were decidedly “blue” as our granddaughter noted. Usually we harvest the big center heads of the broccoli in July and the smaller side heads through the rest of the summer. This year, I’m just getting ready to harvest the first broccoli of the season.

There are too many variables to account for in attempting to explain my garden’s behavior. My own irregular watering habits, I’m sure, failed to meet the needs to some plants I grow. I may have planted different varieties than in previous summer; I didn’t check and I’m actually not sure how detailed some of the records are. It doesn’t take a botanist or horticulturalist to know that it’s been a strange summer. Just a little observation will tell us that.

As in all growing seasons, I’m learning in the garden. This has been a summer where I am made aware that I’m honing my gardening skills like tending and watering plants during adverse conditions as well as my “soft skills” like perseverance, flexibility, and powers of observation.

Where did you experience the biggest “variations” in the garden this summer so far?

Posted in • Growing.

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Continuing the Discussion

  1. A Day of Tomato Meals with Recipes | Our Twenty Minute Kitchen Garden linked to this post on September 11, 2012

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