As I sat in the car on the long slow journey back from the beach, I am not rested or relaxed. I am anxious. How did my garden fare while I was away. I knew there was a lot of wind and rain where we were, but how was it at home?
Will I find my corn leaning preciously at a jaunty angle, like one particularly windy summer in years gone by? I learnt the hard way that year not to leave them like it but to get out there and try and straighten them up as best I can. The problem with leaving them is when the pollen falls onto the silks the ones on the bottom get missed and you end up with corn cobs with no kernels down one side.
Will the wet weather have caused blight to run rampant through my tomatoes? It had already taken out my potatoes before Christmas. Without me there to chop out the lower leaves, to increase the airflow, there is always the possibility of coming home to tomatoes all finished before I even got a chance to eat a single one.
Don’t get me started on worrying about the weeds! There will be loads. This moist summer weather is perfect for weeds to get a foothold and race to set seeds before for I get home. They must know I’m on holiday because they are usually much more vigorous when I am away, than under my watchful eye. I will the traffic jam ahead to clear up so we can get home faster. I can’t allow any weed seeds to fall into my soil. The old expression “one year’s seeds is seven years weeds” has a ring of truth to it.
Will there be a mountain of marrows waiting for me? This is a silly question. Of course there will be. Luckily they keep well and are delicious baked with meatloaf in the centre. The kids don’t mind that meal, which is just as well as we will be having it a lot!
What about the lettuce? It was so prolific before the holiday, and we could have had salads with every meal and still not kept up with the abundant growth. Surely it would have turned bitter by now and starting to set seed. It is such a shame you can’t freeze your excess lettuce.
Finally a familiar sight comes into view – our street! Home at last. Weary kids trudge toward the house, but I leap out of the car and straight to the garden, so I can set my mind at ease before tackling a mountain of dirty laundry.
I shouldn’t have fretted. The plans I had put in place to look after the garden had worked out fine. The dreadful weather we had at the beach wasn’t as bad here and the corn was still vertical and flourishing. The tomatoes were healthy with blushes of red fruit waiting for me, although it was a little tangled and needed tying in and those bottom leaves needed removing to improve the airflow and keep that blight at bay.
The weeds were manageable due to my efforts earlier in the season to keep on top of them while they were little, and those that were there hadn’t had a chance to set seed yet. Oh and there were marrows. Many, many marrows. I’ll add an extra-large pack of mince for meatloaf to the shopping list.
And what about my lettuce? As expected it had bolted, but I have to say it was the prettiest ruined crop ever. I had an amazing colourful forest of lettuce as it grew skyward. I think I’ll take care of them last, as I restore order to my garden, and enjoy the view. All in all it wasn’t too bad and it is so good to be home.