Pickled Beets and Our Funny Garden

Our untidy garden is just right for two people.

Should I make pickled beets this afternoon, or should I write about the beets and other edibles our pocket-sized piece of ground produced this year?  My blogging has been as haphazard as my gardening this summer. But our funny garden has been at the top of my long list of possible blogs for weeks, so maybe I’ll write and then pickle.

Potatoes that grew in the rhubarb patch.
Hank planting ever bearing strawberries last spring

Our garden is not one of those orderly works of art I admire in other peoples’ yards, with neat green rows of veggies laid out in geometric perfection. Beets, carrots, herbs, and squash are more-or-less confined to the big wooden box Hank made so I could plant and weed standing up. For most of the summer, peas climbed chicken wire trellises crowded between the apple tree and the blueberry bushes. Raspberries ran wild along the back yard fence and the rear of the garage. Wherever we found an unplanted square foot of ground, we tucked in a potato or two. As the zucchini finished its season the winter squash we’d planted along the side fence scrambled into the garden box to take over the zucchini’s space. And cosmos and nasturtiums seeded themselves to add color in unexpected places.

Swiss chard that survived the winter in a sheltered spot by the house came back this spring. If the bugs didn’t like it so well, we’d have had a fine crop to eat ourselves.

We had pots of tomatoes on the back porch, strawberries along the driveway, and flowers everywhere.

The wild shrubs in the front yard which we planted as tiny starts in 2009 have become near-trees. I feel like we no longer manage our growing things. They’ve taken control and dictate how we spend our time, or at least, how we should spend our time.

Wild roses bloom in the front yard

Our wild garden just getting started
Son Rob, our landscaper, with the results of his handiwork, 2011

My favorite “shrub”, an American cranberrybush

Our wild garden this summer

I know we should ruthlessly tear much of our funny garden up by the roots and return it to beauty bark and grass that needs no more than a weekly mowing. But come next spring, we’ll look at that empty garden box, the flower beds, then at the seed packets and juvenile plants in the garden store, and once again we’ll go overboard.

By the way, I decided to blog and pickle. Here are the results.

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