We had one of those summers where the babe took sick, the crops wouldn't grow, and my milk nearly dried up. Very Grapes of Wrath, I thought to myself all summer long. A very humbling, human experience. One of those seasons that takes a lot, but ultimately gives back a lot.
Growing tomatoes here, in California, is effortless. I stick them in the ground or in a big container, water occasionally, feed occasionally, don't overthink, and they they grow like weeds and there are more tomatoes than I can keep up with all summer long. Early Girl and Cherokee Purple are my favorites. The Brandywine yellow variety. Not this year. Nothing wanted to grow. The babe was in the hospital, and when I was there I fretted about him. When I came home for a respite and a shower, I fretted about the stunted tomatoes. I started gardening 5 years ago after a terrible breakup. I've learned a lot and the garden has given a lot of pleasure and satisfaction. But this year, the failed garden was just another source of pain, discontent, and powerlessness.
So something really opened up inside me last weekend when we pulled out the old tomato plants, gave the perennials a haircut, amended the soil, and planted lettuces, radishes, more peas, and carrots. We've already eaten a lot of kale from the garden and a lot of snap peas. See how tall those pea plants are? I repurpose some tomato cages to hold them up.
And this morning we woke up to sprouts! Leetle tiny radish sprouts, all growing and trying and bursting forth. I get a little excited.
I'm relieved. Hopeful. With my birthday and Thanksgiving coming so soon, and then the new year, it feels like we're getting a fresh start. Thank you little sprouts. We needed that.