I went away for a week. And by “away” I mean I went as far as possible from New York City as I could without leaving North America; a story for another day. Some close pals helped keep Panthy’s watered and plucked and I came back to a living garden, a really nice change from previous vacations.
In addition to the week I was away, there was another week where my garden never heard my footsteps or quietly muttered F words. The clippers sat untouched, my sweet trowel chilled in the bin, waiting to shovel to no avail. It rained and rained and I stayed away, my guilt growing daily.
My original plan was to continue to ignore the garden, hiding my shame like an old dumpling in the composter. I was literally going to sail around Manhattan with my pal and his Albanian buddy. Seriously. But as sailing trips with Albanians often do, it fell through and I had no choice but to face my out-of-control garden. Thanks to the combined savory power of bacon, eggs, and cheese I finally found the strength to deal with it.
It looked pretty bad. My late-season, heat-abused tomatoes had grown super tall and scraggly, losing their lower branches and foliage. I picked what might be the shittiest tomato ever grown. It’s actually remarkable how bad this thing looks, “Money Maker” my ass.
A couple of peppers were buried so deep in the tangle of leaves and branches they’d ripened from green to red and then literally began rotting on the branches. I’m a terrible person and a horrible gardener.
Everywhere I stepped I crushed uneaten ground cherries which I swept into to two giant piles that looked like this:
I moved to each container clipping, cleaning, harvesting; doing the work I should have done daily for the past two weeks. In the end it wasn’t as bad as I thought. As my burly rooftop gardening teacher at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden once said, "Gardens, like children, thrive in a little bit of neglect." I can’t claim the garden thrived but I did pull off all of these goodies:
Once my wife put them in nice bowls, they actually looked pretty damn good, good enough to eat. So that’s just what I did.