Monday, July 26, 2010

Worst Kind of Garden Pest

You know, I garden because I love it. Because I enjoy the scents of rose, lavender and lemon thyme in the hot summer sun. I look forward to digging my fingers through the dirt, finding worms, growing and eating my own food. I do it for exercise, for beauty, for therapy, for enjoyment, for peace. But it sure can make me mad sometimes.
Early this spring, Lily and I planted nasturtium, sunflower, and black swan poppy seeds along part of the front fence line. In the last few weeks that part of the garden overflows with growth and blooms. Some of the poppies, which are a delicious rich midnight—meets—cabernet color are almost as tall as me. The yellow and orange sunflowers are a beautiful contrast and the red, orange and yellow nasturtiums carpet and climb among them.

Daily there are people who walk by our house and comment about how nice these flowers look, especially the unique poppies. Tall, gorgeous, dark purple blooms are definitely showstoppers. One woman even pulled over in her school bus to chat about them. She asked if she could take some of the poppy seeds with her. A week later she left some of her poppy seeds in a bag for me on our front porch. Thank you!Then there are the jackasses who like to rip the flowers out. Not just pick a flower or two here and there, but grab the sunflowers by the stalk and rip them out from the dirt, roots and all. The poppies, well they just rip the beautiful, fragile flowering heads off, sometimes as they are in mid-bloom. Then, as if that wasn’t painful enough, the idiots just toss the flowers aside on the sidewalk. If you want to piss me off, this is a great way to do it.
Greg and I have talked about planting veggies on the side yard, the part of the lawn that is outside the fence touching the street. This land belongs to the city, and if we did turn it into garden, I guess the city could tell us to put it back to sod, whenever they feel like it, but I think it would be worth that risk. However, after the sunflower and poppy thieves, I’m not sure I’m willing to put the time and energy into making something grow that people are just going to destroy. I'd rather have a garden full of slugs.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Hazards of Brain Dead Gardening

There can be some issues with planting seeds in your garden while nine months pregnant, and, then trying to maintain that garden with a newborn and ever-busy toddler. For example, I know we planted at least two kinds of onions, spring onions and scallions, but I can’t remember which ones we planted where, and the little signs have gone missing thanks to Lily’s curious hands. ( I know it doesn't look like onions are even growing in the above photo, but trust me, they are!)

And of course, they all look the same to me now. So which ones do I pick and when? I guess, as far as onions are concerned, I shouldn't worry, because for what I’m using them for right now: sliced up in salads, and topping Eggs Benedict, they’ll be fine no matter what kind of onions they are.In one patch of the garden, Lily and Greg planted onion starts with some carrot and lettuce seeds, and it’s been fun to see her desire to pick them and of course to eat them! The carrots, that is, she won’t eat the onions and she’ll taste a tiny piece of lettuce and then spit it back out. I often wonder what is going on in that small, but highly sensitive brain of hers when it comes to taste and smell. When I watch her it’s like I can see the gears clicking along with wonder. She’s just so amazing!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Digging For Potatoes

Every year we have potatoes grow up out of the compost. We have two compost pits, one that is full of usable compost, and the other that is still a work in progress. Last weekend Lily and I dug them up. I always forget what a pain digging for potatoes can be. Basically it’s me covered in dirt. Dirt in my shoes, dirt stuck in the rolled up cuffs of my jeans, and way underneath my fingernails—because no matter what kind of shovel or spade I start with, inevitably I end up using my bare hands to find just one more potato, certain I am that there will be at least one more. There’s always so much dirt to displace just to get to the potatoes.

I saw an idea of growing them up out of old burlap coffee sacks and then when you are ready to harvest, you just turn them out of the bag and all the potatoes are enclosed in that space. Much easier!

Lily was more interested in reburying the potatoes for a while which was pretty cute, because she makes a little hole with her hand, plugs the potato down in, covers it up with more dirt and says, “Pat, pat, pat” while gently patting the dirt over the potato.
Then she wanted to chuck them into the undecomposed compost bin so we found a different task for her to do. Greg got a bowl with some water and she washed the dirt off of the potatoes. It amazes me the tasks that take up her attention for long periods of time. Anything to do with water is captivating for her these days. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such clean potatoes.
That night we sliced the potatoes ½ inch thick, marinated them in olive oil, crushed garlic and rosemary and grilled them for 8-10 minutes per side on medium heat. Delicious!!