June 30, 2007


Once again I am amazed at the fact that I can grow real food from seeds! Check out these beets!
I celebrated the accomplishment by making a sandwich conceived at a cafe near my house:

Whole grain bread
Goat Cheese
Steamed Beets
Arugula with a little bit of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.

They call it "The goat in the garden."

The cafe uses pretty bland arugula (no spice!) nor does it have the tell-tale signs of being homegrown in the form of tiny holes from flea beetles. The beets I grew were sweeter too. It's actually a great cafe but, there's just no comparison. I plan to keep the house stocked with good bread and goat cheese until I've harvested all the beets.


June 18, 2007

kid, flowers, rampage

I walked into the garden at about 7:30PM on Saturday evening after being out of town for a week. As I approached my plot I was stopped by a neighbor and gardener who is a very nice guy and who has 3 young children that spend a lot of time in the garden. He let me know that he saw a kid over by my plot earlier in the day doing something not very nice to my flowers. He also let me know that:

1) He was not in the garden but, in his yard so unable to yell or stop her.
2) It wasn't his kids........he wanted me to know.
3) He know's whose kid it was, that her dad was in the garden and nearby at the time but, not paying attention (obviously!) and wasn't sure what I or he should do but, he was very sorry.

When I got to my plot I saw lots of mutilated california poppies and lots of bright orange petals on the ground. As I surveyed the scene more carefully I noticed a kid-sized watering can filled with more flower petals. Now, had these been tomato blossoms or something else more "important" I might have really lost it but, as it was, I was able to use my good sense of humor to overcome any anger or disappointment. It's pretty funny to think of this little kid going to work on my flowers while her Dad just worked about 20 feet away.

I assured the nice neighbor who tattled that this experience would note turn me "anti-kid."

I'll probably shoot the oblivious dad an e mail just so he can try not to let it happen again but, it is a little awkward and I don't want him to feel accused. I guess this is all part of sharing space with neighbors right?

June 10, 2007

Tomato "Do-Over"

Two of my tomato plants (ciudad and striped green german) were looking pretty terrible so I picked up some more seedlings to replace them. The best I could find were some non-heirloom roma's. A little less exciting but, I was feeling like I needed to have a couple of "safety" tomatoes.

I'm thinking that maybe the women's shelter is not the best bet for seedlings. I love the idea and last year was fine but, pretty much everyone else in the garden seems to have larger and healthier tomato plants than I do right now. Some of that may also be the tp rolls I used. Although I haven't seen any cutworm damage, the plants don't seem to be growing that much bigger. It didn't seem like a great idea to cram the roots in there but, I wasn't sure what else to do. I decided to plant the new tomatoes sans toilet paper rolls. We'll see how it goes. Maybe next year I'll try newspaper instead. I watered with fish emulsion which I'm thinking of as "plant vitamins" so I'm hoping that will help.

I also got my first garlic scape. I had read that I should cut them off once they start to turn - even though I think they look super cool growing like that -- so that the plant will put more energy into the garlic in the ground. I was really nervous about cutting it because I wasn't sure where on the plant to cut but, I just took a guess and cooked it up with some mushrooms and butter. Delicious.

Oh and the california poppies next to the sink are out. Still no real flower activity IN the sink but, I'm hopeful that I'll see some action pretty soon.

June 3, 2007

In the weeds

Weeding really sucks. It's incredibly tedious and my back and legs start to ache almost right away. I'm sure that part of the problem is that I pull things out by hand instead of digging up weedy areas with some sort of tool. Most of the time though, I lean over thinking "let me just get this one weed, it'll just take a sec" and then realize there's more down there that needs to be pulled.

The things I think about while weeding are similar to the things I think about while running or at the gym ie: I'm talking myself into continuing and telling myself a) that its not that bad and won't last that much longer....I'm "almost there" b) that the work I put in now will be worth it in the end because it will make the next time that much easier and c) that this is something I can and will be proud of once I'm done.

Ok I'm done complaining.

I did a good job today. I weeded and then added a bunch of mulch to keep future invaders at bay. I know that even though there will be a zillion new little weeds in a few days the weeds I pulled today would have grown much larger and be stealing precious sun, water and nutrients from the plants I really care about. Check out the garlic above!

In fact, I really like weeding or rather I feel good about the fact that I do it dutifully. It seems to me that a big part of being a good gardener is just a willingness to do a lot of tedious work. Knowing what work to do and how to do it correctly and the timing, spacing and needs and wants of things is the rest and I'm getting better at all of that but, those things are trickier. Weeding I can definitely do.

Plus, it gives me something to do in the garden pretty much every time I go out there. Even if I don't need to water. In June, I always have to weed.

Overall I'm feeling really good about the garden layout this year. There are lots of things going in different directions and the plants look organized but, not so orderly that they're boring. I can get to everything and everybody seems to have enough space to grow.......except maybe the zucchini. Frankly, I'm a little terrified of the zucchini.

The sink continues to be a challenge but, now that I've gotten the person who was putting cigarette butts in it to stop, I've planted some seeds and will hopefully have some new flowers growing out of it.