Yesterday I Discovered Baby Carrots Growing In the Shade

Yesterday I discovered baby carrots growing in the shade under the Jasmine Nicotiana. I had planted them in early spring and thought the slugs had gotten them. I forgot about them and some germinated, grew a bit, and then went dormant due to the lack of sunlight. Beets went dormant last year when the asparagus ferns grew over them. They got water, but no sun, and remained small and tender through the summer. I also got to harvest the tender young inner leaves of the Swiss chard that I had pulled the large outer leaves off of the week before. They grew incredibly fast in the Autumn sun. Brussels sprouts are continuing to grow and I got another bowl of them, with more on the way. I have eight plants left and six of them are growing their sprouts from half an inch to three quarters of an inch now. All I did differently this year is to pull off the bottom leaves as the sprouts formed.

I keep finding acorns in the compost pile. Some squirrel is going to be disappointed mid winter when he discovers his missing stash. He’s keeping the pile fluffy so I don’t mind. It’s hard to keep ground squirrels out of the garden. I’ve known people who stapled boards to the bottom of their fence all the way around the garden, and kept the blackberries away, and the squirrels still dug under. I’ve seen ground squirrels climb oak trees lickety split when out on a dog walk, so they can easily scale a garden fence. Ironically I’ve also seen them descend a tree at our approach, and scurry ahead on the pathway, leading the dogs on a merry chase. Why they would do this is a mystery to me when just staying in the tree renders them unnoticeable.

There is a lot of deja vu in the fall garden clean up this year. The same tasks performed year after year without the feeling of urgency to get them done. We have all winter. The forlorn look of the oak trees with half their leaves missing. The piles of hollyhock stalks lined up on the ground, ready to get moved to their winter windrows. The bright red, yellow and orange leaves of the prickly pear trees, that are again the winners of the most colorful contest. The overhead sky that feels a bit ominous, but then again, all the foreboding words have returned, like the spider webs, with the approach of Halloween. There is no whimsy in the October garden. It’s a bit melancholy. A little dreary. Nostalgic. Pauses in the work evoke memories of times and gardens past. We can reconnect to past joys and sorrows, and reevaluate our presence in time.

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