Monthly Archives: July 2011

Plot 2: Next door bindweed plot

Nasal surgery three days back has me feeling like I've been punched in the nose AND I've got one of those terrible colds that leave you totally stuffed up, except I can't blow my nose. The purpose is to help my sleep apnea, and it had better work.

Since I'm not allowed to bend over or do any heaving lifting, just about the only thing I can do relating to the garden is blog about it. So here goes.

Here's what this summer's second plot looked like three years ago–after I'd trimmed back the weeds several times:

  N.d.east plot weeds

This plot is so big, so historic, that when I actually finished it three weekends back, I felt as if I'd just dropped a forty-pound backpack I'd been hauling around for years. It's the last stretch in the big garden next door which I've now been working through three or four “generations” of young renters. I'm still in mourning for the last batch, five great guys who taught me to play beer pong (I was really lousy, even before the beer) and who came over for a couple of fine turkey dinners, one of them in May because it took us that long to get a quorum.

This June, three years after moving in, they moved on, and after three rounds of guys, there are now women in the house. All seem friendly and interesting; they're photographers, cyclists, backpackers, readers, serious cooks. All of that is great, but it begs the essential question: will they let me raise vegetables in half their back yard? Fortunately, they will.

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Plot I: your basic dig and amend situation

Potato plot

This year will go down as the do-or-die digging marathon. Remember those four plots I've undertaken to tame and plant this summer? Here it is, mid-July and then some, and I'm still at it.

The first of the four was by far the simplest. Which may be a good thing, as it therefore got planted before the growing season was half over. Of course, there may be a difference of opinion about just how simple the job was; a certain brother-in-law of mine may be inclined to point out that I can call it simple because I didn't do most of the work. Do not listen to him.

Plot 1 was the last (of six) to be tamed in a garden its owners had given up on. They simply got too busy to garden, and several seasons back, they said sure, I could garden there, if only I'd tackle the weeds. Here's what it looked like when I started:

 Before 7-5-08

As of this summer:

  After 7-19-2011

Not to blow my own horn or anything, but– Ta-dah!

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Kale feast

Kale harvest

A quickie, here, as it's already after eleven. But I did want to show off my kale harvest, centerpiece of tonight's veggies. I've been picking tiny leaves for salad for weeks, and had one other mid-size leaf harvest, but this is the first big collection of leaves eight to ten inches long–not counting the stems.
Dandelion greens Snugged down in that collander where you can't see them are the dandelion greens, which I've chosen to reproduce in miniature, so you won't notice how out of focus the picture is.

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Plant plots or die!

This year, I swear, I'll get all the space I have access to planted. Every year I reclaim a couple more plots from the weeds that rule them, but every year I have to reconcile myself to the fact that I can't tackle them all. Well, no more. It may take until August, and the plants I put in the ground may never produce, but by God, those plots are going to get prepped and planted.

With this goal driving me, I've been putting in four to eight hours a day in the garden(s), desperately trying to make up for an incredibly wet, cold spring, my inability to do anything significant last fall (shoulder injury), and standard issue procrastination and neglect. To my horror, it's now July 4th, and I'm still planting and, even worse, preparing to plant.

Just about everything that needs to be directly seeded is in the ground and growing. But my tomatoes and squash are still waiting for a home, and if they don't get one soon, I'll be in trouble.

The plan (ha, ha!) has been to get four new plots under production this spring: one next door, two across the alley, and the fourth along the alley outside yet another neighbor's property. (Yes, I am now encroaching on THREE neighbors' land.) Fortunately, a couple of these plots have been at least partially cleared of weeds in past years.

I'll try to report of what I tackle(d) in each case, and how it's going (or went).