Monthly Archives: September 2008

Newfoundland #2: Wrong again, Kate

These are gannets at St. Mary’s Ecological Reserve. The dark birds are the young, by now as large as their parents. The one with the fuzzy head is even younger than the one with a smooth head. All this has nothing to do with gardens or with the post below, except that Chris works with these birds, and told me about the garden. In the post below.

This seems to be my week for error. Apparently, much of what I said in my first post from Newfoundland was, well, incorrect, to put it delicately. Aw shucks, let’s just say it: from garden drainage to the “best place in the world,” I got it wrong. Here’s the list:

1) Our B&B host at the extreme southern tip of the island kept saying, “Best place in the world.” That much I got right. But where I implied that he was referring to all Newfoundland, it’s become pretty clear that he had something much more specific in mind: his home town, Branch. I’ve got two pretty good pieces of evidence to support this claim.

First of all, he travelled and worked across Canada for two years after high school, but when he figured out what he wanted to do, he came back to Newfoundland, and when he’d gotten the degree that would let him do it, he came back to Branch. That’s home-town loyalty. Secondly, referring to the home-coming year CDs put out by Branch and the neighboring town of St. Bride’s, he averred that Branch’s singers were much better. (He’s one of them.) Me, I’m bowled over by the idea of reunions held by and for an entire town, and I think all the singers are pretty darn good. (Even if he is one of them.)

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Hail Damage: Potato double reprise

Several days ago I left you hanging, or tried to, but perhaps a more aggressive approach would have worked better, viz:

    So now I knew that, thank goodness, I didn’t need to dig up my damaged potatoes. Or did I? (scary music)

To recap:  My last post contained the research results I’d found after a hail storm devastated my potatoes in July. According to several experts who’d conducted several studies, potatoes damaged earlier in the season recovered more completely, and had better yields, than those that were damaged later. This was a major relief to me, as it meant I could leave my potatoes, all of them fairly young, in the ground, and they’d continue to grow, albeit slowly.

Dee of Red Dirt Ramblings had suggested, quite reasonably, that I might want to get those potatoes out of the ground forthwith, but since this research indicated otherwise, I proceeded to a gleeful celebration, declaring that she was “wrong, wrong, wrong.” Now, that’s the sort of categorical declaration that in any tragedy would be recognized as hubris, and like pride, it goes before a fall.

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Bare-stem Potatoes: reprise

UPDATED Note, 9/21/08: In the original post, I was unable to link to Dee’s blog Red Dirt Ramblings, because of some problem with a server. I’ve added the link as of today, but it may be unstable.


Those of you with exceptional memories and nothing to do may recall the hailstorm that hit Bozeman six weeks ago, devastating my garden and stripping my potatoes. In the depths of my initial misery, I threw myself on the ample bosom of the blogosphere, asking whether to leave these or yank what was left. My question got mixed responses, including the awful suggestion from Dee of Red Dirt Ramblings, who pointed out that even if these stems sprouted new leaves, they might do so by drawing on the tubers.

This was such a dreadful possibility that I rushed outside forthwith, garden fork in hand. Faced with those decimated stems, I found myself unable to proceed, but somehow newly empowered to face the Internet. So I put down the fork and picked up the computer.

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Newfoundland #1: gardens gone missing

My husband and parents and I had been here in Newfoundland (“Best place in the world,” pronounced Chris, our B&B host) for several days before it occurred to me that I’d not seen a single vegetable garden. It’s true that the soil is excessively stony,


so much so that in some flat areas it seems that every dip holds a pond, which simply doesn’t drain.

It also rains practically every other day, which may explain why there seem to be so few water-saving devices in evidence. No low-flow showerheads here, even in the B&Bs. Coming from a drought-prone area like Montana, it takes some getting used to.

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Bindweed #3: Beating Back the Bindweed Jungle

I’ve gotten a couple of interesting responses to my earlier posts, Bindweed #1 and Bindweed #2 (thrilling titles, eh? Makes me feel like the Cat in the Hat introducing Thing 1 and Thing 2) which I’ll take up in more detail in a separate installment. Alan of Roberts Roost has suggested that bindweed is evidence of calcium deficiency. Has anyone else heard this?

Any other experiences, advice, or rumors (we’re scraping the bottom of the barrel, here) about bindweed?

Okay, on to the business of the day, which is this:

How to grow vegetables on a bindweed-infested patch with no blood, minimal sweat, and very few tears.

This post was inspired by one of the photos sent me by Laura, whose query about bindweed started this whole series. Even though it’s in the first of my posts on the topic, I’m going to save everyone a click and reproduce it here:


That was taken a couple of months ago (I got the photos on July 25), and Laura says that everything in the foreground of the photo in front of the beets is bindweed, to which I say, That’s a lot of bindweed.

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