Lettuce give ourselves a break

Gardening is one of those projects that requires daily attention. I do actually find it managable within the confines of everyday life, except during a book tour.

I was stubborn when we moved into our new house on April 1st. I insisted on planting my most ambitious-sized garden yet, a 4’ x 8’ bed out back and two 6’ x 3’ beds in the front yard, in spite of my impending absences. I invested in a couple soaker hoses and a timer. All was going to work out great, except for the fact that gardens need more than just regular watering.

All in all, I’ve been away from home for 40 days this spring and summer. During the course of those weeks away, and all the disappointing returns I found no surviving, hopeful little sprouts; plenty of wild viney-ness, though no tomatoes; peppers alive, but not really fruiting; okra growing steadily, but attacked regularly by aphids; and a few dramatic herb deaths (RIP English Thyme).

My answer to this inedible disappointment: plant flowers. All of which are still alive and thriving (hallelujah!)

Lots of flowers

Flowers that even the Texas heat couldn’t kill

Flowers (and stems) you can eat. Thank goodness for Portulaca, you can’t kill it (it’s a weed in many cases); it’s edible (sautee the succulent greens and stems in a stir fry or eat raw in a salad); and pretty flowers of all colors!

And, my other great redeemer, lettuce, the one thing that will grow if you plant it and water it, and you can re-sow late into the growing season without any repercussion. With my days now spent more solidly at home, I’ve reclaimed a few patches of otherwise barrenness and littered them with a variety of lettuce mix and arugula seeds.

And they’re growing, tenaciously green and thriving amidst the sun-scorch brown landscape, with a will to match my desperation to eat from my summer garden yet.