Rain or not Wednesday, Jun 22 2016 

I can actually see the advantages of gardens, especially commercial, in regions with dry, warm, not humid climates.  The garden is doing very well at the moment, though the soil is fine dust.  Why? Well, essentially no rain and no humidity (this is subjective: no humidity for this region in this season, quite a bit of humidity I am sure for the desert) These conditions tend to equal no mold, mildew, or bugs.  And that leads to healthy plants, at least, as long as it is coupled with a good well and a drip irrigation system: the roots are wet and the leaves are dry and clean.  The bean, chard, and brassica families love that.  The peas don’t seem to mind either.

Now, of course, areas without that drip irrigation system….well.  It is interesting to observe what works in gardening and just how far we have pushed the plants out of their comfort zone and into one requiring artificial conditions for maximum production.

This all rather ignores that one nasty issue: water and the availability thereof.  And that is a challenge….but it gets one thinking about some of the trade-offs.  How much fungicide and insecticide would be required to grow the same crops here, in a wet year, as are grown in a drier climate?  Could one even?

I think about water an awful lot these days it seems!

Garlic Saturday, Jun 18 2016 

a study thereof.  Now if only I could recall which garlic did so well and which failed so completely….if the bulbs match the stems of these though, I think I will likely reserve most of them for replanting and build a bit of stock up.  They are a solid half inch plus in diameter, without coddling or irrigation. My suspicion is that they are from the set that I got from a friend and they are not the expensive commercial bulbs.

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Gardening Tuesday, May 10 2016 

In little bits and pieces. I just managed to get the onions in the ground and some parsley.  I have also finally created the bed for the winter squash.  As I did last year, it is mostly old composted manure with a heavy mulch of old hay and paper bags.  It seemed to work last year, so why not this year? It cuts down on the whole weeding thing too.  I did nearly get the little tractor stuck doing this, amazing how slippery young hayfield grass on a steep slope is.  But, more’s the fun. Eventually that area will be a very nice area for a tamer garden, but since the winter squash vines hit nearly thirty feet in length last year, tame isn’t part of the agenda.

It really did work too. (though I don’t have seeds for that particular hybrid butternut: Polaris F1, this time around, it sold out in record time, no surprise considering the amount and quality of the crop)

We are still eating winter squash.  I highly recommend roasting peeled winter squash until it begins to brown (centimeter thick slices) and then mixing it with well sautéed mushrooms, bacon, and onion (a bit of sage and thyme added in).  Serve over pasta.  It might be that I have gotten somewhat bored with the standard presentation of winter squash: Mashed!

Peas! Saturday, Jul 25 2015 

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Linkbait Sunday, Mar 15 2015 

Following on from an excellent presentation at our Land Trust’s annual meeting* by Dr. Kimberly Stoner from the Ct Ag. experiment station on native bees. I can’t wait for our crocus border! It always attracts the bees and now I know why. (early food source for overwintering bumble bee queens amongst others…and there are many different bumble bee species)

One of the best places for information:

http://www.xerces.org/

Take particular note of the publications menu, a lot of information in it.

*In the interest of full disclosure, I am the Land Conservation Commission Chair on the board for the land trust.

Volunteers Thursday, Sep 11 2014 

Nice to have…

In this case, a whacking great clump of white phlox.  In the vegetable garden of course….  Maybe next spring I’ll divide it? It is a tall, late white, with good mildew resistance.  What more does one want? (It is at least in a pre-arranged spot, that little yellow black-eyed susan down at the bottom? In a row of baby kale!

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I know Saturday, Aug 30 2014 

why it is Labor Day! I have peaches, and more peaches (though not as many as usual) and pole beans, and peppers, and tomatoes, and…..

Thank goodness for good quality chest freezers, so much easier than canning things. I know if the power went out completely it would be unfortunate. But you know what, that is what the generator is for!

Sunflower: Chianti Tuesday, Jul 29 2014 

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Nothing like Saturday, Jun 28 2014 

a nice normal, wet spring to deceive one about a hot, dry spell. Lulled into false security and all that.  Hopefully, the peppers will perk back up over night. And the beans, and the tomatoes, and the….  Actually, it is finally looking like a vegetable garden.  The peas are going along in good style, as is the lettuce, the beans are about to start setting flowers, the squash almost look like squash plants. The parsnips can be found (especially easy to find is last year’s missed parsnip: at six feet tall with flat chartreuse flower umbels, one ought to be able to find it!) After umpteen tries we have a row or two of chard and beets. I think I beat the Colorado potato beetles, so an eggplant might be a possibility.  Oddly, the Japanese beetles have yet to show up. This makes me nervous, I am waiting for a sudden infestation.

An interesting, random tip, if you want a lovely, purple, long blooming flower in your garden? Don’t cut your common, ordinary garden sage back.  Second or third year growth rewards one with elegant lavender purple flowers all through June.  I still can’t figure out how to use it in cooking, but it certainly is a good garden plant on aesthetic principles!

One for the crow Friday, Apr 11 2014 

or all for the crow….We think that is what went after the newly planted peas anyway.  But, we have more peas we can plant, they didn’t get all of them (probably), and so we will simply have a staggered crop.  It could be worse.  We didn’t Have to have those peas.

Most of the gardening done in the Western world is by choice (farming is different, though arguably still a choice).  I think because it is a choice that the failures can be harder to deal with or at least hard in a different way, and there will be failures.  That may be the hardest part of it.  One does work that is meaningful on a truly fundamental level, work that has embedded within it a great deal of anticipation, of hope, of promise, and has already meant hard labour, time, and likely money.  And then, something entirely outside of your control comes along and destroys it.  But the thing, the really great thing, is that you can plant something else and something will grow.  Maybe not what was originally planned, but something still will grow.

I’ll quit before I wander farther into sloppy metaphors and philosophy.  Still, gardening is good for the soul.  Often because of the beauty it brings, but sometimes in that backhanded fashion called ‘character building’.

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