Thursday, June 13, 2019

Bonus Plants

My garden this year is different, as it is every year.

Strawberries and potatoes, green beans and a pepper and tomatoes, all of which I've planted before.  This year, kale and carrots were added to the mix, filling up the two new raised beds that sit outside my kitchen window.  That, I expected.

Most of the soil that fills those two raised beds came from the compost pile I started in the fall two years ago.  That dirt was once the leaves on the trees in my back yard, and the grass that grows in the front.  It also contains the remains of a hundred home-made meals.  Eggshells and hunks of red pepper, the tops of zucchini and the bottoms of broccoli.  Every bit of plant matter left over from our fridge, those purchased vegetables and fruits that we kind of, um, forgot were in there. That, and shredded bills, munched on by worms and bacteria, all of it now a rich organic mass of new earth, wheelbarrow upon wheelbarrow full of earth.

It's good stuff, and the carrots and kale have come along nicely.

But there's more.  From the soil in which the carrots began to sprout, other plants arose.  Some were weeds, the inevitable grasses that try to shoulder their way into a crop.  But others weren't.  A little sproutling, obviously the beginnings of a tomato plant.  Another batch of sprouts, which from their leaves and vigor were clearly squash.  Perhaps zucchini.  Perhaps spaghetti squash. I'm not quite able to tell the difference.   Most likely spaghetti squash, as that's what I attempted to grow two years ago.  

They sprang up, and I had to ask myself...what do to with them?

On the one hand, that was My Carrot Patch.  My plan was for Carrots.  Carrots were integrated into the vision and the mission for that particular location in the garden.  When I visualized that raised bed, my metric for success was a mass of delicately-leafed carrot tops.  Not Tomatoes.  Not Squash.  Those were not part of the plan.  

I could, I suppose, have uprooted all of them.  I did take out some of the squash, which rose everywhere all at once.  But the bonus tomato I staked and watered.  The remaining squash I guided to a trellis day by day, its riotous cthulhu-squidward tendrils redirected gently away from the carrots.

Because growth...good growth, life-giving growth...isn't often the thing we expect or plan for.