Gardening Roller Coaster

If you are an amusement park enthusiast you are familiar with the feeling of great anticipation as you are fastened into your roller coaster car. With your shoulder harness securely fastened, the anticipation builds with click, click, click, as you ever so slowly climb to the top of one of the coaster peaks. Eak! Will you be met with an accelerated descent, a loop-the-loop or a sharp curve? Gardening can be like riding a roller coaster with less need for Dramamine.

You plant your vegetable garden (click), you watch as the plants mature and begin to flower (click), the flowers eventually turn into small fruits (click) and then woosh! The first red tomato of the season is ready! Glossy purple eggplants are hanging in a trio. Hold on because here comes the hornworm invasion on your tomatoes and a scurry of squirrels to overtake your corn. A well-timed rain turns your dainty summer squash into a goliath squash over night! However, let's not overlook the euphoria of unearthing the hill of potatoes or the hunt for each pickling cucumber. There is anticipation with every trip to the garden.

Our latest trip to the garden revealed potatoes ready for harvest, a couple of the fore mentioned goliath squash, lettuce seed ready for collection, juicy red tomatoes, brilliant sunflowers and zinnias blooming. In addition to some onions with bacterial rot, cabbage worm adults - now flitting white butterflies and green beans overtaken by leaf hoppers. Some non-gardeners wonder why it is necessary to check our gardens so regularly! This time of year in the garden is the loop-the-loop after a long climb on the great garden coaster. I wouldn't suggest gardening with your eyes closed though, you certainly don't want to miss anything. Bonus for the vertically challenged, there is not a height requirement!  Everyone can ride and every year the ride changes.

What's happening in your garden?

Photo credits:
Cabbage Worm Adult - Rick Weinzierl, University of Illinois Extension Specialist
Hornworm - University of Illinois Extension Gardener's Corner