Let’s begin with an image.
At first glance, one might think this photo was taken at the beginning of the gardening season. After all, large parts of the beds appear to be bare; but, upon further scrutiny, the viewer notices zinnias in full bloom and no signs of brassicas growing, and thus, concludes the photo must have been taken later in the season.
That conclusion is accurate as the photo captures the current state of our fenced vegetable garden in August: a time when our garden is usually keeping us very busy with harvest and hiding our walking paths.
My garden friends, we have a wicked problem, as these sparse spaces you see in the photo are not caused by lack of planting or effort. We have indeed planted, replanted, and tended to seeds and nursed plants this season. From observation the problem seems to be the result of a perfect storm of determined hungry wildlife, soil concerns, and creeping shade.
These are heavy topics, especially the ever encroaching shade. We are a teaching garden and our garden’s failure to thrive impacts not just the master gardeners who enjoy tending to the vegetable garden, but also the community we serve to educate, demonstrate and inspire, as well as the monastery kitchen we deliver harvest to.
The positive is we have time on our side. Through careful observation we have begun to notice the signs and symptoms our garden is sending us. So, yes, the fenced garden is not growing as prolific as it once was, but, none the less, it’s still producing. We are not caught off guard, we are aware of what is happening and have the time to start brainstorming and putting plans into action.
This post is an outreach for a call to action to get our thinking caps on, all ideas and solutions welcome. The ultimate goal: to keep our vegetable garden in the sun and continue to be a place where education, inspiration and bounty can be shared with all.