Farm Report

It’s early May. It’s been gray and overcast and cool for four days and the perennial gardens are suddenly lush and green.

In the newly dubbed “farm”, I’m thinning arugula and Pandero lettuce and having tiny salads with a drop of pistachio oil, and two grains of salt. I add the thinned radishes – perfectly round and cherry red.

Dill is on the left in the photo above. I’ve never thought to grow dill before – but did after I put up the green cherry tomato pickles last summer. Plus, the Swallowtails and Monarchs feed on it. Further to the left is some parsley for the butterflies, too. I just sprinkled some seed on the surface of the soil and waited a few days. I have to admit, I just love starting things from seed. Especially when it works.

The soil still seems very cool. I haven’t put tomatoes or eggplant or squashes in, even though they are all available at the nurseries and plant sales. It’s so seductive – those huge healthy plants ready to set fruit.

Most exciting of all are the peas – when temperatures soared into the 90s last week, they shot out of the ground – you could almost watch them grow. I know many people grow snap peas, and while I appreciate the sugar snap, I really adore shelling peas. Especially fresh from the garden, still warm from the sun. There is nothing like that flavor.

I have been making bigger plans in my head for this garden. I’ll have to see how the sun works out … but those hideous daylilies left by the previous owner (okay, they have been there for 10 years) are looking like big weeds to me. There’s space for a tomato plant wherever there is a clump of daylilies. Hm.

Is it possible to plant so many tomatoes the squirrels and racoons will get their fill and leave some for me? Do fox eat tomatoes? What about chipmunks? Someone told me deer don’t eat them, but that’s just not true.

Down in the basement, all the seedling plant-lets are quite small and thin, but I am determined. They may just be late to produce. I’ll be canning tomato sauce in October.

I transplanted the chard and killed it. Will just plant some seeds outside tomorrow and see what happens. The transplanted kale, on the other hand is doing well. I think it’s ready to go in the garden soon. Squash plants (five!) are looking so robust, I’m concerned about having a structure sturdy enough to hold butternut squash …. been trolling the garden stuff on ebay to see what contraptions are available.

Willow tuteurs? Too fussy? stakes, string, wire? too ugly? Victorian iron tripods? (just found two of those – only $30!), what about straw mulch between the rows? Too too farm-ish?

Tomorrow it may rain. Good for the garden. Good for the gardener.

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