I live in suburbia.
So as much as I wish I could “be a farmer” and just live my life happily outdoors in a perpetual state of chore-doing, I have only my teeny-tiny backyard in which to plant and grow. And the things I planted 10 years ago to try to hurry the “filling in” are taking up too much space, as it happens.
Wanted: Some one with a truck and a chainsaw! For hire. Cheap!
Anyhow, I mostly plant my veggies in 3 nice 4 x 4′ squares (just like Mel Bartholomew taught me, via Square-Foot-Gardening) and a few scattered pots on the patio or around the yard. Occasionally I will tuck edibles in amongst the shrubbery or fence borders.
Wild thing, I think I love you
But I LOVE when a tomato just shows up in a sidewalk crack or in a garden square when I did not know it would. Yes, you have heard me complain about the garlic chives I once bought, which have reproduced fiercly along the stony walkway, in the pond area, amidst the sedum, behind the forsythia – and basically anywhere they could find a hidden, shady spot in which to grow.
But secretly? I love seeing how plants, whithout any help from me, truly, will grow and mature and cast out seed and grow again. LIFE HAPPENS! And that is lovely. Because deep down, the wild will prevail. Left to their own devices, tomatoes will grow and fruit and seed and spread.
This year’s surprise :)
I planted a few leftover sunflowers seeds from a packet from several years ago. I didn’t even know if they’d germinate. But they did, quickly and quite adamantly! Somehow, a zucchini seed had been a part of that. I just thought it was a sunflower seed that was not fully mature and I had no expectations. And I popped them into a spot from which I had removed a highly needy shrub. No real forethought or soil prep. I just figured, well, if it happens, cool. If not, I will tend to this bare spot (partially hidden by dayliliy borders, anyway) come fall.
Lo and behold: it is the healthiest and happiest of the zucchini plants I have, even though it has yet to flower and set fruit, it’s coming! It is there, wildly spreading, large leafiness blanketing the naked space at the base of the rapidly growing sunflowers. I would never have chosen such a hidden spot behind so many other things, knowing how much a zucchini loves/needs its all-day sunshine, but it is happy and at home, choosing to thrive in very strange conditions. And despite the over-crowding and demand on the soil there, it seems determined to be the best of them all, anyway.
There is a lesson there, don’t you think?
Yes, I have to admit it: I do love when a plant defies every instruction in a book or on a seed package and just becomes everything it was created to become, no matter what tried to stand in its’way!
Wild thing, you make everything groovy!*
*Lyrics: Wild Thing by The Troggs