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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