It’s official. The back yard ain’t coming back. I have always prided myself on my ability to take a scraggly, weed-infested yard, apply lots of love, copious amounts of compost, spray it seasonally with compost tea and Medina Soil Activator, mow every week with the blade height set to max, fertilize twice a year (only ever after tax day) with Ladybug 8-2-4 organic fertilizer, pull weeds by hand, water no more than an inch a week, and over the course of a couple of years, groom a beautiful turf lawn of drought-tolerant St. Augustine.
Last summer ruined my pride. Oh humility, how bitter, cracked, and brown you can be.
As of April 13 I think it’s safe to say there will be no lawn this year, which is really a shame, because we’ve had a decent amount of rain for the last 5 months (well, not counting the last three weeks), and the vegetable garden could be really nice this year.
I think the drought did more than just kill the grass, though. It seriously drained my desire to garden. In June, we were harvesting twice as many beans and squash and cucumbers as we could eat, and the garden was lush and full of life. But without any rain in April and May, the peppers and tomatoes never developed robust roots that would help them withstand July and August. Tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers actually cooked on the plants, turning to mush in the heat before ever ripening. We didn’t get a single tomato from our 16 plants. When I pulled them to clear the garden in the fall, their roots were puny and weak.
I was so depressed I didn’t even plant a fall or winter garden.
But this is a new year. I put up a little fence around the garden to keep the dog out, and we’ve planted 12 tomatoes, several squash and zucchini plants, two varieties of beans, lots of peppers, herbs, and melons.
I also built a new sitting area out back. I like to think of it as a chicken observation deck, but as my friend David Wyatt pointed out, the chickens probably think of it as a great place to observe the humans.
So, I’m going to try this again this year. I’m going to cross my fingers and hope April and May are at least damp, and what the heck? I’ll go ahead and put in a wish for fewer than 45 days of 100-plus-degrees for the summer.
Okay, that’s probably pushing it.