BY OCTOBER, most likely my tomatoes will be coming along just fine, but I need not expect them on the Fourth of July. Seven seeds were planted, to produce six plants, but it was June before the seedlings were large enough to set out. Other gardeners needless to say, had plants in bloom by then.

Pole beans, planted toward the end of April, all rotted in the ground. thanks to the outrageous cold this capital always endures in May. Beans were replanted but the first one only emerged after June had begun.

Beans have always seemed to me the most desirably vegetable to grow, partly because you should not touch the plants when there is moisture on the leaves (it is supposed to encourage fungus, to touch them when they're wet). And since everything is always wet here, you can thus save yourself a lot of work.

There are bush cucumbers nowadays that theoretically can be grown in pots. I do not for one minute believe it, but I do have several pots of them sitting about. The directions say you can grow one cucumber per 6-inch pot. Ha! That will be the day. They do not tell you how cucumbers you get from a plant in so small a pot. Two?

A lattice summer house is a fine place for cucumbers, letting the vines grow up the slats. Last year, although my summer house is completely canopied by a large Norway maple, I grew a cucumber in utter shade and actually got one cucumber.

Needless to say, most vegetables require sun -- and certainly cucumbers, beans and tomatoes do.

The obvious place to grow such things, at my place is along a waist-high picket fence 30 feet from the far end of the garden. The fence is maybe 20 feet long. Unfortunately it is not available for food crops, being occupied by a satisfyingly vigorous blue clematis, 'Perle d'Azur' and other goodies.

There are some daffodils at the foot of the fence, and a couple of dahlias, and the akebia vine and the tub with the gigantic Asian rhubarb, and a fat clump of 'Lady Bountiful,' a tall daylily that blooms in early June before most others, and a clump of tradescantias, the old blue Virginia spiderwort. There also is an upright juniper and a young plant of white Japanese wisteria that is suppose to take off into a tree about 15 feet away.

The fence is also slightly overhung by a dwarf plum and a dwarf peach.

There is, therefore, not all that much space left on the fence for my field crop.

Along the fence also are a few plume poppies (these are whacked back or rooted out from time to time, since they are as invasive as they are handsome) and a clump of Rudbeckia maxima.

It's astonishing, when you think of it, how quickly a sunny spot in any garden fills up. You have to have the clematis and all those other things. Still, no wonder we starve to death.