Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Stirrings in the vegetable plot


The garden's vegetable plot of a mid April evening. It is a 10 foot by 10 foot square at the back of the garden, presumably situated there by the person who decided on the back yard's layout (one third soil, two thirds concrete) because it catches most of the sun in this north-facing garden.

I know. I must get up to the roof to take some scary (no railing at the edge) aerial pictures again. But, for now, we have in the back corner of the center plot (above), fava beans, spinach and mesclun. Not pictured? Upland and garden cresses, arugula, beets, fingerling potatoes, strawberries, garlic, peas, komatsuna (a mustard green), fenugreek, coriander and today's parsley, summer savory and celery (the celery will be used for its greens only - I love celery salt.  Celery is really hard to grow if you're aiming for the fat stalks, and what you buy in supermarkets is one of the most pesticide-soaked crops you can choose (alongside strawberries).

The weeds are going to drive me cruh-azy. I can feel it. I don't know what happened in this garden before, but I sense it was an insurgency that the weeds won. I remember the feverish hours I spent yanking them out in August and September, when we moved in. They made a thick mat, and many had already set seed.

The worst weed right now is one that resembles parsley - hundreds of tiny volunteers, competing with the stones and massive chunks of bark that I remove from the plot every time I am outside. But this plant has no smell. None. Something in the Apiaceae family (they make umbels - flowers like umbrellas, think Queen Anne's lace, but it also includes the deadly hemlocks). I'll post pictures, soon. I am stumped. I have left a few to mature - it must be at least a biennial because several overwintered.


There is much mâche, too. And in our last few warm days it has shown signs of wanting to bolt.


The few violets I kept have been blooming for almost ten days, and are very sweet. I have used them at the edges of the rear bed, which is on an incline, and where soil tends to wash over the retaining stones and onto the path. Hopefully they will help prevent this mini erosion.


And finally - this morning's garden inspection revealed a Silk Road lily shoot that had been neatly gnawed in half. That makes me very, very cross. You buy a $15 bulb, plant in fall, wait all winter, see it emerge after sleet and snow and a New York primary where the wrong person won, and then overnight it's someone's main course.

Someone will die. Tonight.

(I hope. Here, slugs, slugs, slugs...)

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9 comments:

  1. Oh, don't get me started on slugs. In the damp PNW both slugs and snails thrive. Beers works to an extent, but hand-picking works the best. My Olympic sport is snail tossing. To get a gold I have to hit the manhole in the middle of the intersection. My dreams of gold are unfulfilled as of 2015.

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    1. I love the idea of snail tossing as a sport! Gardeners' Olympics. What a fantastic idea! Snail tossing, tobacco hornworm hurling, aphid sluicing, squirrelput...

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  2. Oh I feel for you and the lily shoots. I want out this morning and found newly emerging hostas eaten down to the ground by our local rabbit! I should clarify that, RABBITS! I live in Minneapolis and they are taking over our neighborhood. Last year I seriously thought about starting a "fresh rabbit" business for the restaurants: local, grass and clover fed (also hostas, clematis, and tulip buds), CHEAP. LOL, they are cute little suckers, but my patience has worn out with them.

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  3. Best of luck tonight on your mission...

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    1. Thank you. Quelle flop. Two baby slugs.

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  4. please tell me you did not give Corona to the slugs? PRB or something else, not Corona!
    The garden sounds like it's doing great!

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    1. Corona Light is mose def slug beer :-)

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