Thursday, November 09, 2006

Banishing the Tinge of Gloom

The weather is cooling down, at last. Temperatures have been in record-setting ranges, reaching in the low 90’sF this past week. But no tinge of gloom shows here. The lettuce, which generally prefers cool damp weather, is thriving – thanks to the newly installed drip irrigation, and its carefully chosen location where the grape arbor shades it from the harsh morning sun. The seeds and starts planted three weeks ago on October 18, are happy.

Writing about balancing the sublime and the beautiful in landscape gardening, Thomas Whately once suggested that "a little inclination towards melancholy is generally acceptable, at least to the exclusion of all gaiety, and beyond that point, so far as to throw just a tinge of gloom upon the scene.” (Observations on Modern Gardening, 1770). I was feeling pretty melancholy on November 8, after the depressing exercise in futility that is our mid-term election. So I stopped by the garden to say hello, and to dispel the tinge of gloom.

Later in the season, when our glorious autumn fades into the brief gray days of winter, the veggie garden may indeed have its melancholy aspect. But now, with sunshine, mulch and water, the young plants are thriving in the warm sunshine. There is an international section including khol rabi, Chinese cabbage and Brussels sprouts. There is red and green cabbage and cauliflower, planted amid the dark red argula and the lime green butterhead lettuce. Three weeks after seeding, the root vegetables – carrots, turnips and beets – are optimistically sprouting and ready to be thinned. Soon, it will be time to research new recipes in anticipation of the harvest.

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