July 28, 2011

How much do I love the internet? Not only did it bring me my husband all those many years ago, but now it has brought me a video on how to braid garlic:

I love this lady, and she explained it so’s even I could follow. So, this morning I roused the dogs from their post-breakfast, conjoined-at-the-rear nap:

Got down my ignorant, tiny garlic and trimmed it:

Then I braided it up. I even found a couple of baby garlic bits in the greens, like she did. Mine looks pretty lame next to hers, but it’s a start.

Once you put it with the skillets and the Peruvian mask thing, you sort of forget about its shortcomings.


they come in purple

July 10, 2011

This year I tried some bush beans that said they were purple. I stuck the seeds in the ground at the end of May, and up they came. The flowers are purple:

And, lo, the beans are purple!

They have a green heart (insert politically snappy simile) and they turn green when you cook them. The taste, for the record, is normal, not purple flavor.

first fruit

July 9, 2011

On June 25 the blackberries looked like this:

Today we pulled off the first ripe ones.

They are gigantic, and when they are warm from the sun, they taste really special.

Shared some with the gurus at Crest. Got some sun-tea out brewing for later.

garlic harvest

July 2, 2011

This was one of those ignorant experiments. Last fall I took a clove of garlic from the grocery store, broke it apart, and planted the cloves in the ground. This March, the garlic came up with the early bulbs and chives. I had forgotten what I’d planted there, but after a while it came to me.

I more or less ignored it. People said “you’ll know” when it’s time to harvest it. Eventually, I consulted the world library and watched a video on harvesting garlic and so decided it was time now.

The cloves are pretty small, which I think is because I didn’t water them. To be fair, it was a very wet spring here, but still there were lots of times they needed water and didn’t get it. I have no idea how they’ll taste compared to supermarket garlic or how long they’ll last, but they are hanging up to “cure” now.

Next spring, I will water.

(Click on any image to see all full size.)



in the middle of things

June 25, 2011

Few things in life have a definite start. As for chronicling a garden, where can you begin? Late winter, probably, with the garlic and chives that poke up even before the bulbs. But then, the things that come up in March had their start the previous autumn. Even the seeds you put in the pop-up peat pellets came from another year’s plant. As for the garden itself, what state would you consider tabula rasa?

When I first moved here in 1994, the backyard had no exposed soil, but the previous tenant (longtime, owner, lately deceased) had grown tomatoes in large wooden containers. It’s an Italian neighborhood, and the yard has a hot, Mediterranean southern exposure. At that time, some of the upstairs tenants (Poles) were growing flowers in boxes out back. They used to call in my kitchen window to me when they were out watering which was…friendly, if slightly invasive. A few years later, my husband and I bought the building and renovated the yard by digging up some of the concrete. The exposed soil was rocky, urban, and unpromising. My husband (M) tested the soil with a ph kit from the hardware store next door and announced that we had to wait a couple of years for the soil to rinse. When it finally came time to plant things, I thought it looked like some vacant lot. “Nothing is going to grow in that crappy soil!” I told him. He gave me his stern, English look and said: “Shush. Wait.” That season we had tomatoes, herbs, beans… was that the start?

I could narrate the evolution of the garden all day (and maybe in a later post I will), but we are living here in today. Today is the 25th of June, 2011. Today my husband has been dead 1,137 days. Today there are fifteen hours and five minutes of daylight. Today I ate the first tomato of the season, a yellow cherry. Today is the day the Lord made; in the middle of things, a kind of rejoicing, a shoot perhaps of glad.