The harvest

Today, I pulled all the carrots that had been residing in front of the original batch of snow peas (the vines of which have since gone into the compost pile, spent). Two varieties: parisian market, and little finger.

Carrots May 30 2008

I also decided the other day that it would be instructive to keep a tally of what we’re pulling, weight-wise from the frames that actually have things in them, even though we still got a late start this year on getting things in.

All of these tipped the scales at just over three and a half pounds.

Weighing in, carrots May 30 2008

They clean up well for presentation, too.

Carrots cleaned May 30 2008

Three and a half pounds of carrots is a lot of carrots. Unfortunately, yours truly is unable to taste them. The others who serve as my loyal taste testers said they were sweet, and more “carroty” than store bought. Good thing, because I have a batch of sugar snax carrots started and another round of both parisian and little finger in a flat.

To the moon, Alice

It seems that way, at times. The first round of snow peas wanted to climb right off the top of the five foot trellis we’d made for them.

The scarlet runner beans have done so, reaching up over the topmost brace, grasping for something that is not there. Yet. I haven’t decided whether to wind those tendrils back on to the existing trellis or come up with a super clever idea to allow them to climb even higher.

Scarlet runner beans

For the new round of snow peas, I did build an eight foot trellis, just in case. I still need to string it so they’ll have something to climb when the time comes, and that task should be interesting since I’ll need a ladder to reach the top brace.

All the Vermont cranberry beans germinated, along with most of the cowpeas (black eyed peas), the snap beans, and the shelling peas (Little Marvel). We’ll be up to our asses in beans and peas, probably all at the same time. Not a bad problem to have, really.

Peace in the garden

Doesn’t this look like a peaceful scene? Somewhere you could walk out, take a deep breath, enjoy the promise of future tomatoes? All of these are sungolds, a mighty tasty cherry-type tomato.


But evil lurks within that peaceful scene. Can you see it? A closeup might help.


Those are hornworms. Left to their own devices, they can wipe out entire plants in no time.


We pulled about two dozen off the sungolds. I was getting a bit creeped out by squishing them, so we started dropping them into this flat instead.


I’m aware that critters need to eat. But these critters do not belong on these plants. No way.


Since we don’t use the commercial pesticides, and I wasn’t about to grind down on these things any further, there was only one thing to do.

Fiery death

In mythology, fire is often seen as a cleansing device. That’s how I viewed this.

Fortunately, although they did quite a bit of damage…

Worm damage

…the plants are mature and resilient.

Sungolds May 18 2008

We’re still waiting for the first ripe fruit. Patience. Patience.

Good day

Pepper flower

Almost any day is a good day in the garden, to be honest. The sun, the breeze, the dirt ground into the lines of your hand that won’t come out for days, accidentally leaning into an anthill, the sweat dripping down your brow into your eyeball and stinging – it’s all good. Because when you come right down to it, you have to ask yourself: is what you do while you’re out there worth all the toil you put into it?

Ladybug, ladybug

People have a variety of reasons for gardening. For some, it’s a reminder of when they were younger and their parents (or grandparents) had gardens they tended: a mixture of family tradition and nostalgia. For some, it’s about self-sufficiency and about being kind to the environment. For others, it’s about eating local – incredibly local – and feeding others. And for most, it seems, it’s some kind of combination of all of those things, to varying degrees.


I know it is for me, anyway.

They call the wind Mariah

Me, I just call it a bitch. Not the light wind that swirls around, keeping the air moving, drying the sweat off you while you’re working outside. That’s a welcome breeze, sometimes carrying the hint of rain in the distance.

No, I mean the 30 MPH sustained wind that gusts to 45-50 MPH, changing direction entirely at random, snapping the plants back and forth, blowing dirt and dust around, and pushing any hope of rain away from our area. When it lasts, literally, all day, for close to 12 hours, it causes stems to break off, some younger tomato plants to be almost uprooted entirely, and blows other things right off their trellis. Like this.

Peas after the winds

Since they’re about to end their production anyway, I decided to try to prop up the battered plants instead of just leaving them lie and harvest whatever I could over the next week before taking them all out. That day’s haul:

Pea harvest May 12

Some of this was used in a stirfry that very evening, and the rest went to the freezer. In the grocery store today, I saw that Publix had snow peas. From Guatemala, at 4.99/pound. Good thing we grew our own.

We also finished up the planting of the front corn plot (four rows x 25 feet of Japanese hulless popcorn) and the back plot:

Rear corn plot May 12 2008

Eleven rows x 35 feet of Silver Queen. In total, we have planted about 1400 kernels of corn. That should be something to see if it all comes up and survives. The soil is so iffy that I’m not holding my breath over it and not expecting a lot, but naturally I’ll still try to baby it through.

Mother’s Day dinner, for mom and for our newest mom in the family: shrimp two ways, salad, rice, asparagus, broccoli and cheese stuffed chicken breasts.

Mother's Day 2008

Future wine

Perhaps not.

Grapes May 9 2008

These are a variety called Pink Reliance. Last year, I ordered a stem, we picked a spot on the eastern side of the property, laid it in, ran a rudimentary trellis, and then figured it probably would die either because of the soil or during one of our infrequent freezes over the winter.

It didn’t. After the frosts ended, we walked out one morning and noticed all sorts of green leaves coming back on the bare stem. Soon after, tiny clusters of grapes appeared, and they’re now moving in to about half an inch in diameter. This after we didn’t do much of anything to protect it after it was planted.

The next project is to build a proper trellis, since it seems intent on being a healthy plant after all. We picked up a couple of 4x4x8 end posts and some galvanized wire for what I hope will be many years of production.