Friday, July 31, 2009

Jose and Stephane: garden and businesses

Jose German urged me to see his garden this week, and I did. It's a remarkable garden, very different from mine. He has LARGE pots in his macadam driveway in which he raises tomatoes, eggplant, and even collards, showing that a paved driveway need not prevent a gardener from raising vegetables. His three large raised beds next to the driveway have wooden enclosures, and they include many different types of edibles. Vegetables are tucked into a variety of other places among the flowers. He raises potatoes ably, an art I have not yet mastered. His pea vines are still up in many places, dead as is seasonably appropriate, but evidence of a good crop without woodchucks. Maybe the critters don't like Grove Street.

Jose's flowers are amazing and abundant. It is little wonder that his garden, at 69 Grove Street, and mine apparently had the most visitors in Saturday's CNNJ tour.

You may remember that Jose has started his own landscaping and gardening business this year, Green Harmony. (www. 973-233-1106 It is thriving, and he has hired several employees. I keep getting praises from his customers both for his design and maintenance successes.

Jose is one of two of my friends who left a high-paying, money-centered career in NYC to work locally helping people live better lives. The other is Stephane Morteir, who is now a handyman. He writes the following about his current offerings:

"Creative handyman services:
Projects: I analyze problems and present clients with several creative solutions.
Fix/Setup: I also do the traditional fare around the house and outside (walls, doors, insulation, painting, carpentry, plumbing, electricity, landscaping, etc...).
Fix and maintain bikes: I extend the life of these wonderful method of transportation one way or another. I gave a class at the adult school of Montclair last spring, on bike maintenance and ride preparation.
Appliance repairs: Most problems are easily diagnosed with a little research, and fixing them often involves replacing a part, not the whole unit. Having a knowledgeable handyman do the job is a clever way around expensive repairmen (lots of whom end up recommending to buy a new unit for the cost of the repair).
Computer support, repair and maintenance: I've supported technology and users for a bank for 7 years, and still love to share my knowledge of computers to make people more proficient. I can recommend a plan of action to keep your computer humming along for over 5 years (the average life expectancy being less than 2 years). Mine is 7 years old and faster than so many of the computer I work on.

Graphic design: I design ads for stores participating in, business cards/logos and manage web sites design projects.

Voila! (Oh, I give French tutoring and conversational too) It is eclectic, as I follow what I love to do in order to provide the best service to my customers. I am meticulous, creative and naturally try to repair rather than replace."

You can reach Stephane at 973-873-4330.

I have lots of faith in these two men, and I hope we can support them in their useful, local businesses.


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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Monthly Harvests, Catalogs, Books, and Hints for Beginners

Winter: When the leaves look cold in December, I put neighbors' bagged leaves over carrots planted in April. Then all winter I brush snow off the bags and and pull the carrots. Similarly for parsnips, salsify (G), and Jeruselum artichokes, but there are fewer. Kale survives outside; just break off and thaw inside for February salads. Grow sprouts inside. Harvest Chinese cabbage from the cold frame every 3-5 days from January through March.

March: Collards may look dead during the winter, but revive and can be eaten again. Pak choi and lettuce planted in January may sometimes be taken from under the floating cover or cold frame, but may wait until April. Finish eating the carrots and parsnips before they become stringy. Harvest lettuce planted on a windowsill in January.

Mid-April: Fresh lettuce salad and stir-fry pak choi, both planted in a January warm spell under floating cover or overwintered in a cold frame. Gourmet Blend lettuce (B&F) planted every 3 weeks from April to Sept. yields a continuous varied harvest until December. Summer variety packets are more prolific in summer. Collards continue. Arugula can substitute for lettuce or complement it in a salad.

Late May: Hakurei turnips (F) and maybe some radishes. Sugar Ann Peas planted early in March. Also broccoli started indoors in February and planted out in April. Nursery broccoli plants are available too late, but nursery plants for tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, and eggplants are fine. If I pick and discard bitter broccoli all summer, it becomes sweet again in the fall. It has a large yield for Thanksgiving, and typically some in December. Strawberries.

Early June: Sugar snap peas. In 1986 I froze 150 servings and served many, but most years provide a more modest yield. Peas freeze easily in the kitchen refrigerator. Peas, beans, spinach, and brocolli keep well frozen if you blanch them (that is, boil them for three minutes) before putting them in a zip-lock bag in the freezer. Labeling dates may help, but isn't essential.

Mid-June: Basil for pesto; pesto freezes well. Basil deters insects from tomatoes and pesto is delicious; I plant lots of basil! Nufar basil (J) resists wilt and is very large, so it is faster to clean. It tastes the same to me as standard basil.

Late June: Zucchini, usually beginning June 26! Since squash bugs destroy these by August 8, I plant new seeds in late June for a September crop. Sweet 100 and Early Girl tomatoes may begin in June. Blueberries begin and various varieties yield throughout the summer. Ancestral and heritage raspberries begin and are abundant in July.

Mid-July: Sun gold and jubilee yellow tomatoes (B). Roma bush beans freeze well. Successive plantings yield continuing crops. Concord seedless grapes. White peaches. Early corn (P) planted under floating cover in mid-April begins. Staggered plantings can yield until October, but the squirrels usually steal my corn after July. For more plentiful crops, fertilize it by hand (i.e. take some pollen and scatter it on the silks) and hide each fledgling ear with a paper bag if the animals are naughty. Arugula gives a fine salad if the heat or the woodchucks take the lettuce.

Late July: Peppers that I chop and freeze. Before freezing eggplant, I dip slices in an egg-milk mixture, then in Italian flavored bread crumbs, and fry so they come apart easily for eggplant parmesan. Climbing summer spinach (Malabar) is abundant now until frost. Plant kale, 2-season hybrid Chinese cabbage (B), and collards.

August: Burpee hybrid beefsteak tomatoes (B) make good sauce for freezing and provide ample eating while other tomatoes take a heat break. Abundant fall-crop heritage raspberries.

September: Frostbeater soybeans(B) (or bought ones) in whole wheat pita with fresh tomatoes, pepper, cucumbers, and lettuce. Pole Roma and/or lima beans grow where peas once climbed. Pears and then apples, first red delicious and then mackintosh, all on dwarf trees. Native plums (G) come about the same time as the pears.

October until below 20 degrees: Lutz or yellow beets, Chinese cabbage, collards, and rutabaga. Kiwi (G) Before the first mild frost I pick all the basil and Malabar spinach, gorge on it and freeze most.

November: Just before frost, pick, tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant. Freeze extras. Put unripe tomatoes in layered newspaper in the basement to ripen, sometimes into the holidays.

Free Catalogs
(F) Fedco Seeds is a cooperative that has no color in its catalog and no phone-ordering service. However, it offers enormous variety at phenomenal prices. Get a catalog at either 207-873-7333 or P.O. Box 520, Waterville, ME 04903-0520
(B) Burpee: 1-800-888-1447, the old stand-by with a glorious color catalog. Their telephone answerers assure me they do not carry any genetically engineered seeds;
(J) Johnny Seeds in Maine sells cold-season vegetables and cold frames.
(C) Cook's Garden 1-800-457-9703, a family-run newish establishment;
(G) Gurney's: 1-605-665-1930;
(P) Parks: 1-864-223-7333, the only source for Malabar spinach, which climbs gloriously all summer until frost, but they don't carry it every year;
(S) Stokes: 1-716-695-6980;
(-) Territorial Seed Company: 541-942-9547
(A) Gardens Alive: 812-537-8650;
(-) Gardener's Supply Company: 800-863-1700
The last two carry the extras for organic gardeners that make organic gardening successful

I especially recommend:
- John Jeavons' "How to Raise More Vegetables Than You Ever Thought Possible on Less Land Than You Can Imagine,"
- Ruth Stout's "Gardening Without Work: for the Busy, the Aging, and the Indolent," and
- Eliot Coleman's "Four Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long."

Hints for beginners:
Plant tomatoes, beans, and peas. Double dig repeatedly, digging compost in deeply. If you don't have compost, use some other organic matter like dead leaves, but this is not as satisfactory because it takes good things from the soil as it decays. I did this spring and fall for three years, and my soil was indistinguishable from my current rich, friable soil.
Mulch profusely with grass-clippings, chopped leaves, wood chips, and partially rotted compost. If you have plenty of sunshine and compost, try zucchini.
The second year try lettuce, Chinese cabbage, chard, and other leafy vegetables, perhaps broccoli.
Wait until the third year for root crops. Keep frozen cooked soybeans in your freezer to mix with rice and stir-fries. Consult your local library for many good gardening books. Fine new books are appearing all the time. I learned by listening to old-timers and to my guests at my open gardens. No individual knows very much compared to what there is to know about growing food locally. Enjoy. And remember that a gardener can bury her mistakes without anyone caring!

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Sunday, July 26, 2009

Yesterday's Open Garden

Yesterday's Open Garden was as wonderful for me as it has ever been. It wasn't just that I'm amazed at how many very nice people there are in this world; I have that feeling at and after every Open Garden. This one had exactly the right number of people for the hostess, enough to feel appreciated but not enough to be overwhelmed. The questions were interesting and the ambiance lovely.

It left me feeling so fortunate to have a garden. One person who claims to know about such things said there was an unusual amount of oxygen in the air, making it very relaxing. No wonder I love going outdoors! Today I think of her and take deep breaths and do feel like I'm breathing luxuriously.

The crop getting the most attention was probably... the Malabar spinach, which is now taking over the main garden fence where the peas should have been earlier. There was enough for every visitor to pick and eat one leaf, and the responses were gratifying. Those of you who can bring an envelope to the next Open Garden on Saturday, September 19 from 2-4 PM, can pick Malabar seeds and sow them again next year. Others can buy them from Park Seeds, who I'd like to keep in business.

I had lots of questions about my use of compost. In the last few years I merely rake it in the top of the soil as I plant a new crop. Recent anti-tilling movements to keep the carbon dioxide in the soil are consistent with this. Garden soil doesn't need to be dug after it becomes "mature," according to John Jeavons.

Sowing seeds attracted several questions. I had sown kale and the next crop of lettuce about a week ago, and the tiny seedlings were visible and interesting. Yes, I sow little seeds (like these) directly into the soil and rake them in. Then I keep the soil moist with my watering can until they are visible, at which point I assume they can fend for themselves. I haven't used a hose for over two years (or is it three?).

Kernels of corn are poked individually in appropriate places, like peas and beans. My corn received much attention yesterday since it is wonderful in late July. This evening was the fourth dinner we've had of corn recently, and there will be a few more. If I try to harvest corn in August, racoons eat the ears at night, but they don't interfere with the July crop. So I sow the seeds in April under floating cover of "early" corn, which is a bit smaller than the regular crop, but wonderful.

This evening's dinner also included lots of zuchinni, tomatoes, cucumber, and lettuce (!!! -- more on that tomorrow if I complete two woodchuck-free weeks that have revived my lettuce eating). The only food we ate for dinner this evening that had not grown on the property was the cheese I put on the zuchinni, and our drinks. This is living!

Near the end of the OG two little girls showed me raspberries they had in their pails that others had left after two hours of picking. I was impressed; I suspect their being so short helped them spot berries others had missed. They asked if they could pick tomatoes and I told them the same thing I had told others: they could pick bright red or bright yellow tomatoes. I was impressed again when later they brought me their pails for inspection. They had done just as instructed. I asked how old they were. "Four," said the big one. "Two," said the other. Some children these days are remarkably precocious.


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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

What can we do about food?

What should be our response to "Food, Inc."? Some of you have asked, and we did some brainstorming at the recent Cornucopia board meeting.
Of course, I'm partial to food from home gardens, as anyone on this email list knows. However, there are other possible actions at the family, community, and political levels. The Cornucopia Network of New Jersey, which sponsors my Open Gardens and has been promoting local organic food since 1983, has a newsletter that explores all of these. You can access the current issue and the immediate past three at
Food from farmers' markets is fresher and keeps non-corporate farmers in business. Recently, someone posted a list of nearby farmers' markets on the Montclair Watercooler:
Monday: Linden near City Hall 3 p.m .- 7 p.m.
Tuesday: Springfield 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Wednesday: Rutherford 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Thursday: Livingston 12 noon - 6 p.m. at the new Livingston Ave. shopping center
Friday: West Orange 12 noon - 5 p.m. behind Town Hall
Friday: Caldwell: behind the Caldwell Movie Theatre on Bloomfield Avenue
Friday: Little Falls 11:00 AM, 225 Main Street, Little Falls Municipal Buildings Parking Lot
Saturday: Montclair 8:00 - 2:00, in the Walnut Street station parking lot

There are several CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture) serving the Montclair area, but it's not a good time of year to join. As I remember, Genesis Farm has a winter program for which one pays in the fall.
You can speak to the manager of whatever store you are patronizing, and tell them that you want as much organic, local, and fair trade food as possible. Customer preferences matter to store and chain choices.

Then there is the matter of what you eat. I was very glad as I watched that movie that I'm already a vegetarian! We did it for our health, but now I know many more good reasons. Each quarter pound hamburger that is raised in the rain forests (as much of ours is) turns 55 square feet of rain forest to desert. If your body or taste resists foregoing meat altogether, you can introduce an occasional vegetarian meal into your diet and cut the size of your meat servings to what was standard when I was young. Today's restaurant servings suggest that destroying the planet's life is a major goal of this generation. Fortunately, most restaurants offer doggie bags, so your meat can be used for another meal at least.
At the community level, we could preserve the Wildwood plot for serving gardeners, as it was when I started gardening. The compost and wood chips always available there were invaluable to a beginner. We might even offer some community gardens there. When I checked with Home Corp last week at 973-744-4141, they told me that there were still three plots available at 15 Miller Street. They charge $10 a year.

Alice Waters' book "Edible Schoolyards: a Universal Idea" is an inspiring report about what can happen on public school grounds. Youngsters can enjoy the joy of helping things grow, of eating their own harvests, and the fun of cooking and learning new recipes.

Finally, much political action is needed. What? Right now Cornucopia is especially concerned about genetically engineered food, and we've written the letter below to the president about it. I have written many times to my legislators asking them to stop the food subsidies to corporate agriculture that have done so much harm to small farmers in this country and abroad. They have virtually destroyed the corn farmers in Mexico (hence our immigration problems) and cotton farmers in Africa (causing much hunger and starvation). Thus far this effort has been in vain, but U.S. taxpayers are beginning to look at subsidies with a new eye, and "Food, Inc." will help.

But there are many other political issues, and a variety of organizations that can keep you up to date and suggest when is a good time about what. Six of my favorites are the Organic Consumers' Association, the Center for Food Safety, Beyond Pesticides, Corporate Accountability, Food First, and the Union of Concerned Scientists. You can learn about them at their websites. There is much we can do.


Dear President Obama,

At its July meeting, the board of the Cornucopia Network of New Jersey, an organization that promotes local, organic food, unanimously asked me to write to you on its behalf pleading with you to oppose Genetically Modified (GM) food in all its forms.
The ISIS report this spring concluded that we can conquer world hunger only if we support local farmers without GM products.
Generations of humans will be needed to determine whether these new forms of life are damaging to our health and survival. The companies that profit from them claim they are no different from previous life, but they also claim they are so distinctive that the companies have the right to prosecute those who "steal" them. Either they are different or they are not; we believe the former.
GM plants mate with others and are proliferating. GM weeds that resist all pesticides are already becoming a nuisance, and may become a serious menace to large scale agriculture. Meanwhile, farmers who are trying to maintain traditional crops and save their seeds, as farmers traditionally have done, are having their crops polluted by GM pollen. Some have even been sued by producers - after their crops were polluted!
It is basic to agriculture that farmers be allowed to save their seeds and that those seeds be true to those the farmers planted.
The Union of Concerned Scientist recently released its study of the yield of GM plants titled Failure to Yield: Evaluating the Performance of Genetically Engineered Crops. It concluded that yield increases were at most 0.3 percent per year, much less than the one percent per year that has been typical of corn increased production over recent decades using traditional breeding methods and "other sophisticated farming practices."

The Casey-Luger bill includes a provision that GM crops be forced on Africa. We urge you to veto this bill unless this provision is removed. It could destroy Africa's ability to feed itself.
Furthermore, the currently proposed USDA rules allow biotech companies to self-assess the safety of their own experimental GE crops to determine whether USDA should regulate them. This is preposterous. If GM crops are not prohibited (which is not politically probable at this time), they must be strictly controlled all the time.
And the public must have the right to know when it is eating GM food, whenever it can be identified. Labeling must be not only encouraged, but required.

Sincerely yours,

Frederick D. Chichester, Dr. Engrg. Sci.
President, Cornucopia Network of New Jersey

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Local Farmer's Markets

Food from farmers' markets is fresher and keeps non-corporate farmers in business. Recently, someone posted a list of nearby farmers' markets on the Montclair Watercooler:

Monday: Linden near City Hall 3 p.m.- 7 p.m.
Tuesday: Springfield 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Wednesday: Rutherford 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Thursday: Livingston 12 noon - 6 p.m. at the new Livingston Ave. shopping center
Friday: Caldwell: behind the Caldwell Movie Theatre on Bloomfield Avenue
Friday: Little Falls 11:00 AM, 225 Main Street, Little Falls Municipal Buildings Parking Lot
Saturday: Montclair 8:00 - 2:00, in the Walnut Street station parking lot

There are several CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture) serving the Montclair area, but it's not a good time of year to join. As I remember, Genesis Farm has a winter program for which one pays in the fall.

You can speak to the manager of whatever store you are patronizing, and tell them that you want as much organic, local, and fair trade food as possible. Customer preferences matter to store and chain choices.

Read More......

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Preparing for an open garden

A week from now my garden will be open to the public at 56 Gordonhurst Avenue, Montclair. Everyone over the age of three is welcome.

If you want to dig strawberry plants, vinca (aka: myrtle, periwinkle), or oregano, bring a bag. I will provide trowels. I'm pretty sure the strawberry and vinca will transplant fine, but the oregano may be at an inauspicious time of year. However, it too is invading my lawn, and I'm glad for others' wrist work in digging it out. Good news: my hands are giving me lots less pain this year than for some time. I'm sure your volunteer digging can take most, if not all, of the credit.

I'm hoping there will still be raspberries for eating on site. There were plenty last evening, but the first crop is diminishing, and the second is just tiny buds. Our July tour is later than usual this year, and the season is -- odd. I hope that children of all ages will enjoy roaming in my raspberry patch, but don't count on it too much.

It is definitly time to begin cutting out some dead raspberry bushes. Those who pick raspberries adventurously next week will appreciate this effort. The thorns are especially nasty this year. I've had three times when I saw blood running down an arm or leg, which I believe is unprecedented viciousness from raspberries. Some might claim I'm older and more vulnerable than before, but I blame it on the incredible growing season. Those thorns are BIG! Hint: Generally speaking, raspberry owners cut down lots of dead plants in mid-summer.

I'm also taking down dead pea vines. This is seasonably correct, but the lack of pea harvest was not, generating new emotions.

Years ago when I said to my visitors that my yard is neater when they come than usual, a mature man asked me why I don't let the yard just look the way it usually does for the Open Gardens. Pat Kenschaft is rarely speechless, but that was one of those moments. I've thought about it lots since. I don't want anyone to conclude, "If this is what a non-poisoned yard looks like, I'm going to keep poisoning mine." I do want people to be able to see what I am growing, undistracted. The weeds need to be pulled some time, and why not before Open Gardens? Everyone cleans up for guests. Why? I guess it's some crazy need to look good.

Anyway, I'm hard at it and enjoying it. Does anyone want tomato plants at this late date? I suppose I could be diagnosed with Compulsive Potting-up Disorder. Shall I pot up the late-comers or throw them into the compost heap? There are, by the way, three now on my front steps for takers, each at least six inches high, in separate pots. I've noticed the past two years that the volunteers in my own garden die later in the fall than the ones I started in February. However, the volunteers that I nurtured this spring already have healthy green tomatoes on them, so current volunteers are behind even that schedule.

Weeding the driveway is more challenging this rainy spring than ever before. As I do so, I remember my mother's horror that people were paving over gravel driveways. She died in 1985, when it was taking off. It seemed to her a terrible waste of resources and also a hazard to drainage. It's probably time for the decadely renewal of gravel on the driveway, but meanwhile the weeds are having fun.

I look forward to seeing lots of you next Saturday between 9:00 AM and 11:00 AM. My new regimen means I'll be starting my last tour at 10:30, but the displays in the front yard will stay until noon, as will the other open gardens in this tour sponsored by the Cornucopia Network of NJ. Oh! You can read the CNNJ recent newletter and three others at

Three other gardens in Montclair will be open from 9:00 to noon:
Bob McLean at 51 Gordonhurst was my mentor; he began gardening in 1930.
Nick Diminni began gardening at 2 Bruce Road three years ago, and actually harvested grapes last year.
Carole Lane at 176 Midland has a first year garden, made with the help of Jose German of Green Harmony.
Jose German and David Wasmuth at 69 Grove Street will open their garden from 9:00 AM until 2:00 PM. Their beautiful property and vegetable garden are also party of the Montclair Backyard Habitat tour of properties certified by the National Wildlife Federation. A list of the other properties on that tour can be picked up at their yard.
Judy Hinds, with a square-foot garden at 156 Rhoda Avenue, NUTLEY, will also have her garden on the CNNJ tour. It will be open from 9:00 to noon.

See you next week!


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Wednesday, July 1, 2009

A gardeners' worst pest

Yesterday morning I couldn't believe what I saw (more to the point, didn't see) in my garden. I will postpone the description to the end of this email since I wouldn't want to disturb your holiday joy.

Fortunately, last evening someone told me that deer have been seen on "my" end of Ridgewood Avenue recently, and a photo posted on Baristanet. Click! This morning first thing I went through the print-outs of old "beg. gardening" messages to prod my memory. It was two years ago that when I went to Barletts to fortify myself after some minor disappointment when I heard Skip Bartlett say to someone on the phone that he had lost 5,200 tulip plants to deer last night. Last year he told me that hanging Irish spring soap around his place had ended his deer problem.

So shortly after breakfast Fred went to Shoprite and bought an 8-pack of Irish spring soap. They are slightly smaller in the middle than the ends, so I was able to easily hang one from a commerical circular tomato cage. However, they squeeze even more easily on the top of my home-made tomato cages and the high pea fence, so quickly all eight were gracing my garden.

The odor is impressive even for a human. Surely no deer will enter my garden again! However, it's a nice scent, I think. It reminds Fred of his academic brother, who used that kind of soap in graduate school, and returned to Africa decades ago after they both earned their doctorates.

Before I tell you my sad tale, let me prevent any overwhelming pity for my condition. I harvested my first cucumber today, which is about two feet long. I harvested my first green bean today, which was delicious despite the leaves of its plant having been removed several weeks ago. It appears other beans will bravely grow to maturity. I finished harvesting my garlic today, and two of the cloves are 3" in diameter! We are enjoying celery and tomatoes at every dinner. Both the raspberries and blueberries are delightful.

Yesterday morning I first noticed that my cucumber plant had been nipped. Then I realized that quite a few basil plants had been shorn of most leaves. (I picked enough then to make a dinner-for-two of pesto, which I froze.) Then I noticed that the only pepper plant that had been sporting a flower the day before was naked except for the flower and one leaf. The flower dropped today, and that plant is going to have to be very determined if it is to revive. Most startling: ONE of my smallest tomato plants had been stripped of most of its leaves. The big plants look the way they did before, and I have enough that it's no great loss if this one dies, but what it portended left me breathless.

I immediately thought of the article I had just submitted for the upcoming CNNJ newsletter, "Gardening With Woodchucks." It claims that woodchucks (also called "ground hogs") don't eat basil, or pepper, cucumber or tomato plants. I felt a surge of guilt. Now that I've decided my new marauder is a deer, not a woodchuck, that emotion is at peace. There are others that aren't entirely positive, but the good news is that there is no sign today of either a woodchuck or a deer visitor.


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Death, life, and other surprises in the garden

The garlic plants are keeling over, as is the season. If you took one from me in May or acquired one otherwise, you might want to check its status. I try to dig them while there is still some green leaves that I can use to tie the clove up to dry. I have a convenient place in my kitchen, but the standard advice is to dry them in your attic.

Less cheerfully, most of my nasturtiums are succumbing to black aphids. We bought some lady bugs from Home Depot last week, but they don't seem to have done their job. Most of the pea plants are just plain dying, due to the woodchuck's assault. We do each get 2 or 3 peas each evening for dinner, but other years we have been eating and freezing abundant peas at this time of year.

On the happy side, the raspberries and blueberries are delicious -- and not illegal, immoral, or fattening. We get a few little tomatoes each for dinner. This is a big treat in June! I heard on NPR this evening that there is a Florida regulation that registered tomato packers may not pack any tomato less than 2 and 9/32 inches in diameter. How sad! (and odd)

I've been cleaning out the volunteers next to the fence, which went wild. Their chopped stems were unexpectedly tasty in last evening's stir fry. I thought they might be dying, but after editing them, I now I believe there will be many more good meals from there. Meanwhile, I sowed more lettuce and collards seeds.

We had for dinner this evening the 15th (!!!) zucchini that I've harvested
in 2009. Guessing that these five plants will die in another month or so (at which time I'll put collard plants where they are now), I have sowed some zucchini seeds where the Sugar Ann peas were in front of the grape vines. I want five new plants, so I sowed ten seeds in pairs. Nine germinated, and I dug out four today.

I put two each in two containers that are now on the right side of my steps, available for taking. Zucchini is not to be entered into lightly. The plants are BIG, at least a yard in diameter, and they need lots of sunlight. If you have that kind of space, the first two to get them are welcome to them. This crop may bear until frost.

There is also still one container of two tomato plants waiting patiently for a new home on the left of the steps at 56 Gordonhurst.

I have far more baby arugula than I need. Is it worth my time potting them up and putting them on the steps? Or do they go to the compost pile?


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