Saturday, June 13, 2009

Victory Garden dedicated to the ones I love

My Victory Garden is chugging along.

So much rain. Tree and flowers and tomatoes are in shock due to the incredible amounts of moisture that's visited southeastern Wyoming in May and June. In past years, my garden has arisen to another sunny and dry day and demanded "Water us, sir, please. More water." And I usually comply, as water restrictions don't apply to veggie gardens and flower beds and shrubbery. Then, when I come home from work, the soil is as dry as it was in the a.m. and I'll have to water again. At times, I've forgotten to do so and I'll wake the next morning to find my container plants huddled close to the door, demanding a shower.

But this year, Mother Nature is wringing herself out all over the state. Rawlins, which is a couple hours west of us along I-80, has received 10.5 inches of moisture so far this year. That includes some heavy spring snows and lots of rain. Rawlins averages about 9 inches of annual moisture. Cheyenne's received 10.54 inches of moisture thus far and that's usually about 7 inches. We've had more than 3 inches of rain in June. That may not seem extraordinary to you gardeners from, say, central Florida where a June thunderstorm can dump three inches without even trying. But that much rain is a lot to us in semi-arid WYO.

The moisture has been great for lettuce and spinach. The broccoli looks O.K., but the tomatoes are a bit pale. They are crying out for sun and hope they get some this weekend. Maybe a shot of fertilizer will pick up their spirits. Summer squash is taking it's time. Only one of my three transplanted seedlings survived. I put some seeds in the ground last week and we'll see what happens. What can I say about zucchini? It grows.

Can't say the same for my bush beans. Green beans are a warm weather plant and we've had precious little of that. Thinking that all the rain caused the seeds to rot in the ground, I re-sowed the bean row and hope for some sun. The pole beans on the side yard are a couple inches high and straining for the trellis. I'm not worried about them.

So, a mixed bag this Saturday. I've already plucked a some of the red leaf lettuce and it's darn good. Not enough for a salad but a great snack. Odd thing is, two of the red leaf lettuce plants wilted and died. They were transplants but they all caught on and grew, and now they are falling prey to something. Anyone know? I shall have to consult my local master gardeners.

Are red leaf lettuce plants falling prey to wilt, rot or gardener's ineptitude?

On this June 13, I am not quite sure to what good cause I should dedicate my Victory Garden. Public-option health care plan? Passage of the Democrats' energy bill? Al Franken's victory (finally) over Norm Coleman in the Minnesota U.S. Senate race? World peace?

Or maybe I should declare victory over something, just as Stephen Colbert declared victory in Iraq this past week. Victory over right-wing extremists and hate-mongers? That would be premature, as events of the past two weeks show. Victory over the Repubs' nuke and coal and oil laden energy plan?

No, I think I shall dedicate this week's Victory Garden to a "full house." My son is home from college and the daughter of our best friends in Tennessee is in town for the summer working as a horse wrangler. Our daughter declared victory over tenth grade and is working at a plant nursery this summer. She's my co-gardener at home. I am well and so is my wife. We have the entire summer to look forward to.

What could be more victorious than that?

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