Sunday, June 19, 2011

Triumphs and Disappointments

Like most aspects of life, gardening provides its triumphs and its disappointments. This week I'm feeling the stark contrast more than usual.

Collards and pac choi are major triumphs now. Both have huge leaves that seem to thrive inside my electric fence, in great contrast to the disaster of March 20. I'm enjoying them very much!

Sugar snap peas are wonderful too, in great contrast to two years ago. Both the electric fence and the tomato plants seem to protect them from the woodchucks, and I'm harvesting more than we eat these days. Freezing for winter has not become overwhelming, but I've begun. They surely are yummy! There are a few questionable happenings with the pea vines, but I can tolerate that.

Broccoli was again a great disappointment this week. I thought we had recovered from the thievery of four weekends ago and it looked like two of the smaller plants were about to form heads. Then Thursday I came out and some thief had again removed that hope and lots of other flowerets. One of you raised a question about whether this is really woodchucks. No, I've not seen them inside the electric fence, and the lettuce is, I think, not bothered. (It's hard to tell what is my own doing and the competition's when it comes to lettuce, but the important thing is that humans have had a good serving.) What can be eating my broccoli? It may be happening at night. Do raccoons like broccoli?

Yesterday at the Gordonhurst Avenue block party someone told me she had harvested a big head of broccoli, expecting me to rejoice with her. Alas, she quickly detected my irrepressible envy. Why her -- so close by -- and not me?

My raspberry's slowness has me apprehensive. Others are harvesting, and mine just sit there looking May-like. Occasionally, I think one is reddening, but then it disappears. Sander thinks it may be a visiting catbird. I know a flock of purple grackles can end all hope of humans eating raspberries while they linger. So I console myself with enjoying Janit London's blueberries, presumably picked organically in south Jersey.

A milder disappointment is the invasion of little Dutch iris plants on my back lawn where people worked so hard in early May to rid my lawn of them. Anyone want some juvenile Dutch iris? They bloom the week after Siberian iris, and are pretty, purple, and smaller.

The growth seems unprecedented this year, and I pull, pull, pull the invaders in my spare spots and driveway. A heavy grass mulch keeps the garden weeds at bay.

I would like my plot to look properly suburban by July 2, the date of the next Open Garden tour. Mine will be open from 9-11 AM, and there will be at least SEVEN other organic vegetable gardens open from 9:00 AM to noon. The following OG will be the
afternoon of Sept. 17, with a butterfly tent. If you want to show your organic vegetable garden either date, let me know.


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