gardening poker

 know when to hold ’em, …fold ’em, n’ …when to run*

As several who visit these pages know,  I have a very technically focused job five days a week.   And for relaxation,  I flee into the hills and canyons to hike, and at home,  I work my garden.  I started growing tomatoes, melons, peppers and corn, working soil and fertilizers and natural ingredients on top of clay and decomposed granite “dirt”.  It is mid-July now, and I have entered that period where I have battled and lost against the sun and the heat in El Cajon from here until early September each of the last several years.

Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed  –  Genesis 2: 8 (NIV)

I am not one to take defeat lightly.  I built a raised planter box – to  keep vegetables and herbs out of the dog-pee zone;  I put a pee-deflector  to protect new trees and plumeria from the critters.   I installed a garden fence, aesthetically pleasing and dog-isolating.  I have a sun-umbrella pulling duty as a mid-day shade for my tomatoes and grape vine.   A tecoma stans ( a yellow-flower woody shrub) that had been strong until the winter rains ( and then looked like it was all-but dead) is coming back.  And some of the hardiest ornamental bushes, trees and cactus are doing just fine in a blasting afternoon heat.

15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.  – Genesis 2: 15 (NIV)

When I think that the original Man was given a (self-growing) thriving garden, and apparently, still incapable of tending it without help,  I get MORE determined to succeed. I’m an engineer and solving problems is what I have done for the last thirty-five years.   I read how to tend young fruit trees pruning, watering and fertilizing;  the trees seem to be dealing with the heat with minimal stress — but I go on vacation in a couple weeks and I am worrying planning  the garden care during that week.     Some of you who are more expert gardeners will chuckle that I actually brought inside – a planter box with herbs and a hanging basket of peonies from my west-facing front porch that were struggling in the afternoon sun.  Maybe a little air conditioning will revive them?

And Comet is a better garden helper.  He keeps his fertilizer in one corner of the backyard these days.  This evening I came home to also find he poked at a bag of manure that “fell” over where I had staged it in the backyard.    (Over the winter he had happily torn up a manure bag and tracked it into the house through the doggie door; this was nothing)    He was just “reminding” me that I was going to fertilize some of the shrubs this week.

a great start, in May

I have a help-mate in my spouse, but we have mutually agreed, I tend the garden and she will tend the kitchen.  And while my vegetables and herbs are rather sparse,  my neighbor is more than accommodating in providing us with some grown in his amazing garden.

my dream garden, if only

* The Gambler.  Released: November 15, 1978.  Written by Don Schlitz
You’ve got to know when to hold ’em
Know when to fold ’em
Know when to walk away
And know when to run
You never count your money
When you’re sittin’ at the table
There’ll be time enough for countin’
When the dealin’s done






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