Garden Update: July edition

I went to the Newton Farmer's Market this morning only to come away empty handed. That is maybe the first time in my life that has ever happened. Usually, farmers market suck me in like no other. Not today, friends. This gathering of farmers sweating under Kansas' grueling sunlight was really quite sad (as was their semi-empty tables).

So far my experience this year with the Newton Farmer's Market and my own annual attempts to grow things isvworse than usual. We had a really weird, hot then cool and wet spring. Then more intense heat but with whole weeks of temps dipping back into the 60s. (Don't get me wrong, I am happy for that, but my tomatoes, not so much). My pepper plants have barely grown an inch since I planted them back at the beginning of May. As I've said, it's been a weird season. No wonder the Newton Farmer's Market has been on a struggle bus.

I've been really working on trying to be less OCD in general, but especially when it comes to gardening. I can be very obsessive about it to the point of it stressing me out and causing me so much anxiety that I have to take medication. Not this year. That's been my goal anyway. Actually, so far I've done better than normal. Sure, I still have my moments but for the most part, I'm okay. What will happen will happen. (And maybe I will not do any canning this year and that might be a glorious relief). It's also a million degrees outside again. It's not like I am itching to get out there. The best thing I can do is to not look at the neighboring plots around mine at the community garden. How do they get their tomato plants to look so lush? How in the world are squash bugs NOT EATING YOUR SQUASH?! I turn green with jealous rage. See? It's best if I do not even go over there unless I am in need of an onion.

I am determined to take some soil samples this year up to the the county office to get them analyzed. I am convinced that the horrible Kansas soil is my main problem. Since I am now in a rental with a massive garden space in the back, I am excited to ditch the Bermuda grass filled community garden for, hopefully, less grass green pastures. But I kind of want to know what I am getting myself into before next spring. Now, I just need to remember to actually do that...

Even though the farmer's market has sucked, I have been able to get some local produce from here and there. My friend, Amy and her family are off on their annual summer exodus from Hesston. Before leaving, she told me to help myself to their garden. So far, the only thing that's been ready has been basil, but I am excited to "help her out" by eating her produce. (That is, if I can get enough gumption to face her evil chickens. Turns out, I am semi-terrified of chickens).

Maybe some day, I'll have time and energy to really dig into gardening. But for now, I am doing what I can. At least I have delicious onions to eat and the occasional flower to pick. (Although, I must confess, that this sunflower is a volunteer that came up around the community garden compost pile. I have a couple of sunflowers coming up, but it turns out that caterpillars love sunflowers. So that's also been a struggle).