GARDEN GUIDE: Missing my garden catalogs

By Observer Upload December 09, 2013 10:35 am

The top of the desk in my office is bare. Not one single seed or plant catalog has found its way to my address, not even from vendors that I made purchases through this past year.

I can’t reverse the digital age and the fact that electronic media is here to stay, but I do miss those catalogs. They always seemed to arrive at just the right time, when daylight hours have decreased significantly and gardening is truly over for the season. Now I sit in my chair and do puzzles or read, but for perusing catalogs to dream and plan for the upcoming season, enjoying new seed varieties and colorful pictures, it appears to be gone for good.  I’ll miss that.

Some of the best lessons I learned this past year have been painful ones. I purchased a new type of cane berry, sort of a cross between raspberries and boysenberries. Perhaps it was in the fine print I neglected to read, but they grew with the strength and voracity of a nuclear vulture with razor-like thorns that will penetrate any glove man has ever made.

In a seemingly bold move they snaked their way right through a patch of six tomato plants, bending and twisting and shoving thorns right and left. Before long they had overtaken the original raspberries, entwining their knife-like stems with an impenetrable barrier defying me to find any fruit.

After nearly an hour of snipping and moving and, yes, I must admit, offering an unkind word with more than one dirty look, I finally made a short path through the plants of almost four feet in length. Seriously!

There were more than 40 tomatoes we didn’t even know we had or could see!  There were also at least that many that had already rotted and dropped to the ground to offer their tomato mush to the thorns that overgrew them. Had I known would I have bought these berries? One can only hope the answer would be “no.” I most definitely missed the fine print.

We were blessed with only one gopher in our potato patches this summer instead of the entire family group of cousins and uncles and grandparents.  Not-fondly named “Mr. Nibs,” he nibbled his way from beets to potatoes and grabbed a carrot or two, no doubt, to get the taste of beet off his teeth.

He was quite adept at eating every single root from the few celery plants we had nurtured, and he seemed to prefer the Yukon gold potatoes over the russets. 

Funny, so do I.

We can’t move the garden space so may have to become more creative with gopher wrangling next year.

And, as if the loss to the gopher of a great many vegetables weren’t enough, I forgot to dig the rest of the carrots before the ground froze. The ones we did harvest, and there were many, were juicy and sweet.

And now they are ruined.  

I hope I remember this next year and not put the shovel away until everything has been harvested. Unless, of course, the nuclear berries have eaten it.

I wouldn’t put it past them.