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Friday, August 4, 2017

Midsummer Checklist

The Savanna of Summer

Now that it's too hot out and (here in the Northwest, anyway) the air too red-orange sick with the smoke of forest fires to step outside without being hassled by dehydration, heat stroke, respiratory ailments, and apocalyptic visions, I thought it'd be a good time to stay inside for a few minutes and go over this midsummer checklist I came up with.

The Summer can be an overwhelming time in the garden, so I find it helpful to make a list. Lists are always a good way to feel certain and guilty about the things you are failing to do; otherwise you'd only have an uncomfortable, vague inkling that you were failing to do things. My wife gets credit for teaching me to make lists. She finds the act of crossing items off of a list very satisfying. I wouldn't know because I believe lists are to be used for comedic relief and making oneself feel bad about one's laziness or lack of focus rather than for any utilitarian, motivational impetus. We agree to disagree.

So anyway, here's my midsummer checklist to help you evaluate your progress and achievements in the garden. Feel free to cross these off or just cry softly to yourself as you make your way through them.

  • First and foremost, have you considered giving up? Gardening is hard, especially during this trying season. Lots of work to do, lots of other stuff going on, pests, watering, harvesting ... if you've already thrown in the towel, that's good. If you haven't, if you're still somehow slogging through the daily dirty Summer grind, then this is the time of year you should definitely start thinking about giving up.
  • Speaking of watering, are you spending at least as much time watering your garden as you are sleeping at night? We are always striving for balance in our lives, and studies have shown* this to be a good, healthy ratio of watering to sleep.
  • Do you have at least one squash plant making bold territorial claims on the garden? Do you fear for the sovereignty of your land and the rule of law? Good, this type of political strong-arming by squash can sow a robust spirit of dissent and unity amongst other members of the garden.
  • Have you located your yellowjackets' nest yet? The best way to find your yearly yellowjackets' nest is by accident. They will let you know when you have found it. The best location for a nest is just far enough from your daily activity to make you think you can safely ignore it, but close enough that, actually, you can't.
  • Are you still pretending that friends, neighbors, and coworkers genuinely want your @$*&$@ zucchini and summer squash? It is important to maintain this stubborn denial for as long as possible, otherwise you'll never get rid of that incessant crop.
  • Does your lawn resemble nothing so much as a parched savanna? Are you noticing more safari-ing tourists in Land Cruisers than in previous months? Yeah, that's about right. Watch out for cheetahs, I hear those things are fast.
  • Have you managed to kill many of the plants you attempted to establish earlier in the season? You don't need to have killed all of them by this point—there's still plenty of Summer remaining—but you should have a good healthy start on killing new plants.
  • And last, but certainly not least, what do you think your're doing reading this blog!? Get back out there and do some more watering!
This concludes my midsummer checklist. Let me know if there are any other important tasks or responsibilities I have failed to make you feel bad about.

*No studies have shown this. It was basically a lie. But maybe by the time you get around to reading footnotes, it will already have (mis)informed your actions.