Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Cucumbers, buying seedlings, sowing seeds, dead raspberry bushes, weeds

I officially pronounced my cucumber plants dead this afternoon. These super-long cukes from Fedco are great while they last, but I think they die out sooner than some varieties. Since I raise my own seedlings, I could raise more than one type. If you are still harvesting abundant cukes, what is the type? Is Marketmore still looking healthy? Or is it this summer's unusually hot weather and my reluctance to water the culprit?

Someone asked for local places to buy seeds and seedlings now. Once I tried to buy seeds at a Montclair outlet in early summer and was told with distain, "You must plant seeds in May!" I was speechless in disbelief at his ignorance, while he stared at me with a superior look. I've had the charity not to remember where that was, but since then I have bought abundant seeds from mail-order in the spring. If I forget something, I phone Burpees again. Fedco doesn't take orders after a Montclair-type deadline.

However, I bought seedLINGS from three garden centers early this summer: Bartlett's on Grove Street somewhat north of Montclair on the left; Ploch's, at the end of Alwood Avenue on the left side as you drive out of Montclair north on Broad Street; and that place on Center Street in nearby Nutley, on the left shortly after you turn left from the GSP (or more accurately, East Passaic Avenue).

Today I noticed that the lettuce I sowed outdoors last week has germinated. This week I sowed pak choi, kale, collards, and Burpees two-season Chinese cabbage (which will end up in my cold frame for harvests all winter) in my greenhouse window. I suspect any sunny windowsill would do nicely. I still have some fledgling eggplant seedlings in my greenhouse window to put where I will remove the cucumber plants.

Last evening I put FOUR full bags of dead raspberry bushes on the curb; they were picked up this morning. Earlier I had put three more out. Cutting them out is a huge project, and I hoped I was done, but as I began mulching today the raspberries with the leaves Fred kindly brought home last fall, I discovered some I had missed. That happens every summer as I remove last year's raspberries plants.

More seriously, I was appalled as I looked at the weeds in my front yard. I've been so busy freeing the young raspberry bushes for harvest, I had ignored the front yard. The old raspberries have savage thorns, and the young 'uns are getting quite prolific now. (If you come to the free film this evening, you might sample some.) Anyway, I hope people aren't too shocked by the growth in my front yard. I began a bit this afternoon, but it will take much more effort to get it presentable. Every experienced gardener and landscaper with whom I discussed this agrees this is a phenomenal year for weeds.

But the goodies are good too. Happy harvesting!


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