Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Small gardens

After attending a wonderful memorial service for a wonderful uncle who was born in 1920, I spent last night with my little brother (now 6'2") in Providence and his family. They served an amazing salad with lettuce and a PEPPER from their home garden. Last year I learned how early tomatoes can be grown; this year it is peppers I now learn I must start much earlier with hope. That pepper was unbelievably tasty.

Of course, I wanted to see his amazing garden. He kept saying modestly that it was "very small." It is that. It is between his driveway and a wall "next" to the driveway. It is about 10 feet long, a yard wide at the shortest distance fanning out to about two yards wide at the longest. It has, as he said, only one pepper plant, which he was able to buy individually from some garden center. Along with the delicious pepper he has already picked, it has one over 2" long and another over an inch long. The sunlight comes down the driveway since on the other side is the house. I didn't know peppers could grow in midsummer with such little light. He also has some tomatoes and squash plants, but they are only hopefuls.

His lettuce is in two rows. When I pointed out a semi-empty spot between his bean plants and commented that the next crop of lettuce could be planted there when this one ends, he said that last year this type of lettuce was harvested all season long, so he didn't expect to replant.
Here, I've been telling you falsely that you have to replant every few weeks for a continuous harvest!
I asked what kind they were, and he hesitated. "Butter..." he said of the one with roundish green leaves. "Red sails" I guessed for the red one that has ruffled leaves. Today I confirmed it is available in the current Gurneys catalog separately. For many years I've been buying just "blends" so I get lots of types, and have lost track of the names, which I knew better before blends were available.

As we were driving from his home toward the superhighway, we passed a tomato garden between the sidewalk and curb! I don't think I've ever seen that before. This one already had small green tomatoes on at least one plant, large enough to be seen from my car. It reminded me of the statistic I've heard often enough to believe that Havana raises half its vegetables without the city limits. Americans are beginning in our cities!

I arrived home to a garden that is growing nicely with no obvious pest damage. Whew! I'm paranoid this year after last year's woodchuck devastation.


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