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Waiting for the heat to pass so I can work fully out in the garden is taking too long. So I will just need to sweat it out rather than wait it out. I can still make castings in the cool of basement and watering with sprinkler is not a source of sweat. Also washing and dehydrated herbs and vegetables can be done in the cool of the house. Any new planting is probably a waste of time in this heat wave so that leaves compost making, trimming and weeding the main hot jobs left.
The heat has been great for tomatoes, hot peppers and basil in the garden in front of the house. Nearly every day for awhile I need to prune the tomato plants of what is called ‘suckers’, growth that appears in the crotch between the stem and a branch and draw nutrients from the main stem. With the rich homemade soil that we use the tomato plants grow large and thick and without pruning would be big and thick without much tomatoes or tomatoes that come in late and are still green in late fall. To prune or not is the question. Striking a balance of letting plants grow and still pruning is a balance I strive for. The last few years with the success of growing my own tomato plants from seed I have tended toward lots of pruning and it seems to be working.
Speaking out and not speaking out is another balance one needs to work out. My experience is that people tend too easily give up and say this is “nothing I can do anything about.” I tend to take the opposite approach, perhaps sometimes too aggressively, and persistently try to act and speak out on the truth as I know it. Sometimes it works and sometimes it does not. As Thomas Merton says in the quote below, we cannot be ‘results’ orientated.
Take the basketball rim discrimination at the country park in my neighborhood. When I first spoke out some rims were taken down no matter my speaking out what I thought was discrimination against youth and young adults. Through loud and quiet persistence the rims were put back up. Then recently two of the rims were stolen. Quiet persistence began again and now they are back up. You win some and loose some and sometimes the some is the same thing.
Healthy tomato plants mean a lot of sun, rain and pruning. To be persistence takes balance and detachment from the results. In life, like in growing tomatoes, we must struggle to do the right thing, to speak the truth as we know it while pruning ourselves of unnecessary ‘suckers’ or diversions. We could call it persistent detachment.
“Do not depend on the hope of results. When you are doing the sort of work you have taken on, you may have to face the fact that your work will be apparently worthless and even achieve no worth at all, if not perhaps, results opposite to what you expect. As you get used to this idea, you will start more and more to concentrate not on the results, but on the value, the rightness, the truth of the work itself…” Thomas Merton
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