Archive for the 'garden' Category


Here come the peas!

I love the newness of my garden in the spring.



Garden update

So far, this year’s garden is doing quite well, even though it was started nearly a month late. We had a delay because Jan rebuilt our four raised beds, which are now 8″ high (instead of 4″) high and contain strategically placed vertical PVC tubes that let us add trellises, hoops, and other PVC structures wherever we like. The rebuilding and having to wait for our garden soil to be delivered (the supplier had a delay because of the extremely wet spring) meant that seeds for my peas, lettuces, and other cold-weather-loving plants didn’t go into the ground on March 17 as they’re supposed to.

But in spite of the late start—and thanks to a pretty cool summer so far—we’ve been enjoying plenty of home-grown produce! In bed #1, the peas and lettuces are nearly spent, but the mizuna, lovage (a perennial), parsley, and pole beans are going strong. This year I set up the bean teepees directly over the lettuce, figuring that (1) lettuce doesn’t mind shade, and (2) by the time the beans started the dominate the space, the lettuces would be ready to come out anyway. I’m pleased to report that this has all turned out according to plan!



Bed #2 has Swiss chard, carrots (two kinds), basil, cilantro.


Bed #3 has tatsoi, beets, cherry tomatoes, and basil.


And bed #4 has cucumbers (slicers and picklers), pattypan squash, basil, cosmos, sunflowers, and zinnias.




Speaking of squash…

The deluge is just around the corner!


Look at all that pollen!


Things that grow

My yard and garden have been busy these past couple of weeks…



Through no effort of my own

Someone who owned my house before me put in some lovely perennials, and for that I am very grateful. (Grateful enough almost to forget some of the half-assed repairs they did inside the house…almost, but not quite.)





Well hello, Dahlia

I took these photos two weeks ago and had big plans for a fun! and exciting! update about my garden, but losing our cat sort of detrailed all of that. The garden already looks a lot different now from how it looked then, just two weeks ago.









Life update

Reading: The Longitude Prize, by Joan Dash. Officially, this is a “children’s book” (one that I spotted on a shelf while Sylvia and I were on our weekly library trip), and the publisher’s note even specifies that it’s suitable for ages 9 to 12. It’s written at a much higher level than most books targeting that age group—and I’m delighted about that, since I find that most so-called children’s literature isn’t particularly well-written or intellectually challenging. This book happens to tell a terrific tale, too: the true story about how one self-educated, poor clockmaker figured out how to determine longitude at sea. Reading about his genius is thrilling, as is learning about the science of the day. How exciting* it much have been to be alive during the 18th century, when so many discoveries were being made.

Eating: The last of this season’s sugar snap peas and spinach. The pea plants are yellowing and will surely be spent within the next couple of days; the spinach was already starting to bolt, so I pulled it all up two days ago.

Watching: As We Forgive. I’m not even sure where to begin in talking about this documentary film. The words “amazing” and “powerful” and “moving” come to mind, for all that they are trite. The synopsis for this film begins with “Could you forgive a person who murdered your family?” I’ve heard this question before, especially in the immediate wake of the September 11 attacks, when there were numerous interviews and articles about people who’d lost family members in the Twin Towers. But in those cases, the connections between killers and victims were distant or anonymous. This movie, about the reconciliation movement in Rwanda, is about situations in which the connections were quite close and personal: people who had been neighbors and friends turned on each other—not only killing, but killing in extremely gruesome and hands-on ways. Over one million people died in less than four months. There are over one million stories to tell, but this short film focuses on two. In each case, we hear a killer describe in detail what he did, and then we hear from the victim’s family about how they feel about the crime and about offering asked-for forgiveness for it.

*If you were a wealthy, highly educated, upper-class, western European man, of course.


First harvests of the season

p6098668harvestftf.jpgOur garden is doing great! We’ve been picking sugar snap peas for about two weeks now. (Sylvia does most of the picking. And the eating, too—right there in the garden.) Last weekend we picked enough lettuce to make a huge salad for four adults, and yesterday we picked this big pile of spinach* (and accompanying dirt) and more sugar snap peas than Sylvia could eat before it was time to head back inside.

There are still tons of immature pea pods and pea flowers, so I imagine we’ll be enjoying those for another week or so. The small spinach leaves should be pickable next week, we have enough lettuce to feed an entire rabbit warren, and the bean plants are covered with purple flowers. For some reason, our Swiss chard has gone kaput. I think that’s the first time this has ever happened to us—it’s usually a champion grower that weathers the heat well and produces all season long until the first frost. I think I’ll throw a few more seeds in the ground there and give the chard another chance.
*Which of course cooked down to almost nothing.


Give peas a chance

p5198371peaplantsftf.jpgOur garden is full of all sorts of neat growing things. It’s such an exciting time of year! I’m especially thrilled by how our sugar snap peas are doing. This year I actually got my act together and put them in the ground early enough (on St. Patrick’s Day) to give them a chance before the summer heat arrives. And they are doing great! Here they are last week, with Sylvia’s hand reaching in to “help them find the net” (she likes to guide the tendrils to the support net and see the curly ends latch onto it).

p5258611peaflowerftf.jpgAnd here they are just a few days ago. Flowers! Peas aren’t far behind…

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