The Whether Gods
A wet Metchosin day ...
I stand looking out at the emerging tent and tarp city of Metchosin Day in the early morning, from under my own tarp and tent … Is it liquid sunshine wet coast style or simply a late Summer rain? Technology does not reign here, the “Whether Gods” do!
… Whether to show up or not?
… Whether to roast the lamb and the salmon in the rain? I even had a special Mint Jelly spoon made for the prestigious mint jelly position for the lamb dinner line-up!
… Whether to call this day a disaster or a drama?
Google Earth will tell you how much rain, direction, humidity, possible wind … Your grandfather will stick his nose out the door and tell you to get your umbrella.
Weather may influence your reaction to the day as to “whether” you go out the door … or stay in bed. But the true spirit of gardeners and die hard “Metchosin Day-itis” can not be damped by what ever you call that wet stuff. Go get your umbrella!!!
I stand next to my vegetable garden.
Come stand by yours.
First and foremost: what was a success?
Please take stock of what was brilliant before you list your “failures”. Even die hard long time gardeners dream of that perfect garden ~ every single Spring! … My Corn is very tasty if dwarf size, my Summer Savory so abundant to go along with my crispy green Bush Beans that squeak when lightly steamed, my Broccoli and Cauliflowers ~ the size of dinner plates! My Sweet Basil is not the best or the worst: I will have enough of a stash for Christmas. Those last jewelled Strawberries … Yum.
Over there: what would you do differently to have better success? What would not have done any better regardless of your hard work; whether you mulched or didn’t mulch, whether you dug in manure or seaweed … whether you used local, Italian or English seed? The “Whether Gods” can erode your green thumb faster than the weather and truly some years it is simply the weather! This year it was the strength and length of our window of weather with any heat to mature and ripen prime Summer lovers; hence my dwarf sized cobs of Corn.
This was definitely the year of growing your own backyard vegetables … “heritage”, “organic”, “new and improved” … seeds, starts, ready planted pots and box beds to go! Landscape gardeners were requested to plant ruby Chards amongst the Roses … purple tipped Leeks behind the Lavenders! It was so exciting to see farming to be “in”.
I feel for the new gardeners this year as the weather simply was not the best, a rough slow cold start and now it seems an abrupt wet finish. It was definitely a challenging season for all levels of new and seasoned gardeners. I listen to the relief of other gardening listeners as I share my Sweet Peas were pitiful, my Pumpkins are already bright orange yet half the size of basketballs, and how I never had too many Zucchini this year and only 3 mini sized “Zucchini speed bumps”? And I won’t moan about all those green Tomatoes yet as it is a better situation than getting the dreaded Tomato blight …
Please take heart; there is a humbleness and humanness in all this sharing and comparing, a common ground, a common hope to improve (and boast!) … a realm of possibilities, mystery, wonder and yes magic to take that tiny seed in the Spring and get anything other than just a wet and grubby seed by late Summer.
So this is a month of garden philosophers; a month of reflection as we let Summer slip through our fingers as we nip slender beans, freeze our last jars of pesto from our own Basil or scavenge the last Strawberries before the wasps. A month to embrace the Autumn season to come as we slip our fingers through the soil to harvest our Potatoes, look expectantly under mildewed tired leaves to discover our Squash treasures or set out fresh ruby Chard or purple sprouting Broccoli plants … new hope for another harvest even as we face Winter.
Gardening is contagious, incurable and full of humour with both the whether/weather gods in the garden. Just think of all the adventure tales you will share over a glass of wine in the dark evenings to come, tales full of Summer sun and all the tastes of your gardening successes and calamities. Perhaps a perfect garden, a perfect season would be dull, predictable and that certainly isn’t the case with the whether/weather gods around at our gardener gatherings!
So here is a toast to those rainy celebration days that stick in our memories as the sunny ones all run together.
I had a great Metchosin Day 2010 and hope you enjoyed yours too … and look out for my giant Pumpkins next year!
Originally published in the September 2010 edition of the Metchosin Muse