The Battle for El Jardin

- September 12, 2011

"This was without a doubt the most difficult growing season I have encountered for all the time I’ve been in Santa Fe..."

This was without a doubt the most difficult growing season I have encountered for all the time I’ve been in Santa Fe -- 11 years. It started out with record-breaking drought, combined with relentless winds. This made keeping the garden even a little damp nearly impossible. The air was so thirsty that any moisture, anywhere, was immediately wicked up into the air. Even if I watered three times a day, it wasn’t enough. The plants still wilted. The constant cycle of wilting and then recovering, took its toll on this year’s yield.

Nevertheless, there were some bright spots. Today when I went to check the garden after a rainfall and some cool weather had offered some relief, I was delighted to find, and eat, my crop of Yukon potatoes. They were just gorgeous. The green above the ground part of the plant had looked great all summer and seemed to tolerate the drought better than the other vegetables. And here's the proof.

Once the weather began to cool a bit, the Swiss chard and other greens started to look healthier. And I was surprised to find dozens of red chiles that had been hidden by their own foliage. Nevertheless, it was nothing like last year’s bumper crop. Over the years here in Santa Fe, I’ve gained a new respect for people who have to grow their own food to feed themselves and their families. It’s hard, hard work. And when the weather doesn’t cooperate, or insects invade----as they did with my pumpkin plants---people starve. So I guess I’ll stop complaining, rejoice in what did make it, plan for next year’s growing season and sign off with the usual...

Happy Trails to you

from Santa Fe, New Mexico

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