Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Home again! What do I plant now? Carrots, watering, eggplants

We arrived home last evening from another week away (this time visiting relatives while driving to and from MathFest in Pittsburgh), and it's always interesting to see what the garden is like after a week of neglect. The news is good this time except for the lettuce, which was chewed to the bottom.

Someone asked what I do for watering when I'm gone. Except for that time about a month ago when I confessed to you that I had watered in the extreme heat during that super-hot spell, I haven't watered the garden for three years with a hose. I'm not in principle opposed to watering a garden, as I am to watering a lawn, but it just hasn't needed it. There have been times in the past when I've gone away for three weeks (both in June and in August) and the garden was fine while I was gone. The only thing I need human help with sometimes is picking beans and zucchini so the plant doesn't think it's done its duty and die.

Speaking of beans, it's a fine time to plant them again if you now have the space.

Lettuce is also fine up until September, but it will need lots of watering with a can until the plants are a quarter inch high, and you may have the problem I did last week. (That can happen any time of year.) Soon I will start pak choi and collards plants inside to plant out this fall for fall harvest. I will also start Burpee's two-season Chinese cabbage and kale inside for winter harvests.

Last week when I was home for four days I noticed that I had one eggplant that was the usual purple color and another (on a different plant) that was green! I'd never seen anything like that before. Now I see I have one that is yellow, which I assume is the mature version of green. These must be plants I bought. (I raise most of my own, but this year supplemented eggplant, peppers, and basil with plants from garden centers.) Does anyone have experience with this? I wasn't warned by the label. Is a yellow eggplant ripe? Will it continue to grow the way purple eggplants do?
Last week I forgot to mention that with that wonderful haul of grass clippings, I thinned and mulched my carrots. Wow! The "thinnings" were the best I've ever had. One was nine inches long and a half inch in diameter. Unprecedented for early August! All plants are growing remarkably this year, both goodies and weeds.

Incidentally, I see that there are few weeds where I mulched with grass clippings. However, they have managed to fit themselves into many unprecedented spots. Perhaps it's worth mentioning that I compost all garden waste (dead goodies and weeds) except raspberry bushes. The Heritage raspberries are bearing again! I still need to remove the remaining dead plants, but I did some this evening, and will continue to chew away at that job. I have an extra incentive now because removing the oldies makes it easier to get to the new plants that are bearing. I feared Fred and I had been too raspberry-greedy at breakfast today when I went out this evening, but then I found more buried among their elders.
Soon they will be yielding lots, in time, I suspect, for the next Open Garden on Sept. 11 from 2-4 PM.
We ate well while we were away, but we both agree that garden eating is welcome again. Isn't summer nice? Well, except for the heat and humidity... The next two days are supposed to be cooler, which seems appealing.


P.S. The final honorary address was given by the leading Native American mathematician. He choose to devote much of what was expected to be a math talk to photos he had taken while hiking in the Rockies over recent decades to show how much evidence there is of climate change. The photos were beautiful but scary. Afterward he told Fred and me about a physicist at MIT (whose name, lamentably, I forget) who insists there is not convincing evidence of human implications in climate change. "He doesn't believe in statistics. He says there is an excellent correlation between the number of Republicans in Congress and the number of sun spots, and that is true." But his conclusion that the correlation between human activity and climate change does not imply we are implicated in its quick progression is not justified. "He doesn't admit he doesn't believe in statistics, but that's what his arguments imply." He and I worry about the consequences of people who should know better denying the human impact on climate change.
Let's raise vegetables locally, ride bikes whenever possible (It's fun!), and turn off your motor vehicle when it's not moving. I read recently that after 10 seconds an idling motor will hasten the demise of the engine. Such precise estimates are always subject to skepticism, but idling is hard to defend even if it's 30 seconds or a whole minute.

No comments: