Saturday, May 29, 2010


Family muck-around time in the garden. Nico gets some tips on mulching from the master.

Look how far we've come! Hard to believe this was a thistle-ridden wasteland just a few short weeks ago.

In the end we couldn't bear to uproot the dozens of peonies strewn around the garden. They got a reprieve until next year. Same goes for the mountain of mint.

Neverending broccoli.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Another Kind of Sprout

Yes, it’s been a while, but that’s because we’ve been busy growing this sprout:

She arrived on 5/7. But don't fret; Mark hasn’t been neglecting the garden by any means.

The broccoli went out the second week of April, but could have gone outside earlier. It’s happy and thriving, but it would be bigger now if we had been a little more ambitious.

The potatoes are positively exuberant. We planted La Ratte fingerlings and yellow-fleshed Carola; both shot out of the ground in a few days and haven’t looked back. They’ve been mulched with hay to keep them moist on these hot days we’ve been having.

Mark was intent on putting a trellis up for the two kinds of peas—Sugar Snap and Green Arrow shelling peas—but now we’re thinking it may not be strictly necessary, and goodness knows there are a dozen other things demanding his time right now. They seem to be doing just fine cozied up to the deer fence.

Beans: Planted them 5/16 and they’re going crazy; seems like our timing was dead on. We’ve got Jacob’s Cattle and Tiger’s Eye shell beans for soup or for drying, as well as Garden of Eden pole beans.

Even the melons and squash sprang up in just a few days. The black plastic we lay down will warm the soil and prevent weeds, and we may even put up some row covers for maximum TLC. They love the heat, and the weather has been more than cooperative lately with these warm days interspersed with cool, rainy ones.

Still, we’re waiting until next weekend to put out the tomatoes, and even another week after that to put the peppers and eggplant in the ground. However, we’re going to give them a break from the grow lights and let them sunbathe during the daytime this week. Since someone left our pepper seedlings balanced precariously and they fell over (even though most of them recovered just fine), someone decided to order a truckload of exotic peppers from Cross Country Nurseries, an awesome farm he discovered in central Jersey, and we just picked them up yesterday. We definitely need to go back and pick those folks’ brains about their forward-thinking pest control techniques and fascinating array of pepper and basil varieties.

Weeding has become the surprising new joy of Mark’s life. He’ll disappear for an hour after dinner to hack at the earth with the cobra head tool and annihilate stealthy thistle taproots. The thistles will be the bane of our existence for at least the next couple of years, if not longer. Fortunately, this is my husband’s idea of a good time. So sad, and yet so serendipitously practical.