Believe it or not, but this was a pretty crappy week’s haul for this year’s vegetable garden – the cherry tomatoes (sun golds) went nuts, and there are a few Brandywine tomatoes that didn’t turn into the Elephant Man, but most everything else sucked. The corn was a disaster, and my beloved pumpkins – every single one of them died except for one. Last year I had about 27 pumpkins growing everywhere, and this year my garden looks like the My Lai massacre.
What the fuck gives? My money is on the following: it rained every day from May 1st to July 3rd, then it was soggy and humid with very little direct sunlight until now. And now it’s getting cold again. The only things that could grow in New York State this year would have to be indigenous to the Amazon.
I’ve brought a bunch of Brandywines back to Brooklyn, and I hope everyone appreciates them, because a lot of back-breaking labor went into this year’s pathetic yield. Brooklyn itself looks like London in February, and feels like New Orleans in late October – rainy, gray streets with blasts of warm, humid wind.
They call 1816 “The Year Without a Summer” – volcanic eruptions and general bad luck kept most of the Northern Hemisphere in a state of frozen drought. In New York, there were two “killing frosts” in August alone, and 90% of crops failed. The conditions started a cholera and typhus epidemic in Asia, and it was the first of the Irish potato famines.
On the good side, however, the summer was so cold that writers spent most of the time indoors. One such weekend, Lord Byron, Percy Bysshe Shelley and Mary Shelley had a competition to see who could write the best story. Mary won, of course, with “Frankenstein.” So, in our situation, let’s hope some serious art got made over the last 10 months.