Monthly Archives: May 2009

I has garden!

Broccoli and green beans and kale, oh my!
The Plot Thickens
And some pretty things like sunflowers too.

I have been so excited about this community garden since I heard about it in March, and the suspense, not knowing until just a few days ago whether I was going to get a plot, has only heightened the anticipation!

And it’s not just because I want to play in the soil (though that’s certainly part of it), or be able to grow my own veggies. It’s also because I just think community gardens are so great. Partly it’s just cool that all these people are into developing a place where they and other people can grow food for themselves and for community organizations. But mostly I just think it’s so important that anyone who sees the garden gets to see food being grown. Not just coming off a grocery store shelf, but actually being made, right there in front of them, in the middle of the city! And for people who actually get to eat the stuff to be able to taste real vegetables, that are fresh and ripe and still warm from the sun or cool from the soil…

Part of it is nostalgia of course, since I grew up with my mom always having a garden (even in some pretty challenging terrain). Sneaking peas off the plant in early summer, munching on still-sandy skinny little thinned out carrots a little later, and of course the height of summer with bursting warm, sweet, juice-dribbling-down-your-chin tomatoes… And the corn! Oh, man, there is just nothing like corn that’s plunged into the boiling water while it’s practically still alive. Those super-sweet varietals just aren’t the same as the stuff right off the plant. And brussels sprouts plucked off the plant 15 minutes before thanksgiving dinner? Seriously, I wouldn’t have believed they could actually taste that good! Not to mention the satisfaction of knowing in February that the onions in the cupboard, and the tomatoes in jars on the shelf, and the green beans in the freezer, came from that very patch of ground visible through the window, underneath all that snow…

I think it would be great if more people could have a taste of that kind of experience, but more important is the idea of taking responsibility for providing food for yourself, and the sense of fulfillment that comes from saying “I grew that!”.

So anyways; community garden, good thing.


Patterns

My deck planters were explored by a squirrel a couple of nights ago… fortunately I only lost one jalapeno (of which I had an extra) and the weakest of the three Mountain Princess tomatoes, which just gives me an excuse to buy a cherry tomato plant…

I have sprinkled cayenne around the little seedlings now. I have slight misgivings about doing this, as I don’t particularly want to injure the little beastie, just dissuade it. But hopefully it’ll get enough of a whiff to stay away until the plants get big enough to withstand the occasional excavating foray, without getting blinded or anything nasty like that.

Sigh.

A couple of weeks ago I was knitting socks while waiting for a train at Union Station when I happened to look up from the ball of yarn in my lap
Yarn Diamonds
and stretch my neck by looking up at the ceiling:
Ceiling Diamonds

Nifty, n’est-ce pas?

And the finished socks (sadly lacking in diamonds, but nevertheless comfy warm weather socks):
Short Socks


I can has tomato?

Now, you could be forgiven for thinking I’ve taken up artistically arrangement of my recycling, but this picture is actually the early phase of a deck jungle.
Tomatoes, tomatilloes & jalapenoes oh my!
Here we have three each Black Krim and Mountain Princess tomatoes, two Tomatilloes and one JalapeƱo. And two pots of Calendula waiting to be hung up somewhere. The Black Krims and the Tomatilloes are vines, so hopefully by August they’ll be pretty much covering that section of wall. Yum.

The little seedlings were seriously outgrowing their toilet paper roll starter pots so on Friday I plunked them into their final vessels along with peat moss, perlite, manure, compost and bone meal. However, the weather turned inconveniently cold since then, with night time temperatures far below that which tomato (and tomatillo and jalapeno) plants need to thrive. As my collection of lovely antique cloches is merely a wishful figment of my imagination, I scrounged through (yes) our recycling bin for various glass & plastic jars & bottles to give the wee plantlings their own private greenhouses.

Safe Tomato

The zinnias got no such special treatment. They’ll just have to get tough.
Baby z's

And of course Pye was there to oversee all of it. She’s so helpful.
Guardcat


Mother’s Day Adventures

Ouch.

This is a preemptive “ouch”, because it’s quite possible that tomorrow I will not be able to reach my hands to the keyboard to type it.

See, I spent a good portion of this weekend helping my mom transplant bushes and plant a tree. For those who have never done this sort of thing, trust me, it involves a lot of digging.

“But digging is fun!” you say. And while on principle I agree, it is helpful to differentiate between “fun” digging and “transplanting a large shrub in black fly season” digging. Saturday was the latter.
This is the Burning Bush after being moved from its home too close to the septic bed to the hole we dug in the back-fill from the basement excavation. Which of course meant in the clay and rocks and rocks and clay and oh-my-goodness it was heavy and torturous. An experienced only enhanced by the black flies so attentively swarming our scarfed and hatted heads.
Burning Bush(See the skid-steer? The root ball was too big and heavy for us mere mortals, I’m afraid, and we had to enlist the Machinery. I think it pleased my step-dad to be able to contribute to the process.)

Speaking of contributions from family members, Mollie helped greatly by prompting ball-throwing breaks, seen here this morning in the hole from whence the Burning Bush was wrested (we had to leave the project for the afternoon yesterday in the wake of waves of torrential rain that began just as we were tamping the soil around the bush’s new home).
Mollie's Contribution

Thankfully, the Golden Spirea was smaller and moving between easier digging grounds, and the planting of the Liberty apple tree was downright play in comparison!

Witness the tidy hole:
Hole for Liberty Apple Tree

And the happy little tree, secure in its new domain:
Liberty Apple Tree

So yes, there was a lot of digging. And though I already feel the fatigue in my mid back, I expect the serious, can’t-lift-my-arms-to-brush-my-teeth pain will settle in overnight as is its wont after an unusually vigorous workout.

But it’s all worth it to contribute to my mom’s ongoing gardening and landscaping efforts. Which are really so very inspiring to me that I had to make her this for Mother’s Day:
Sheena's Jungle

She really is Sheena Queen of the Jungle.

Happy belated Mother’s Day to moms everywhere.