Monthly Archives: May 2010

(Untitled)

For the last two nights (May 9th and 10th), if anyone had asked me, “How’s your garden,” I would have answered, “I’ve got everything covered.” Literally.

Temperatures were predicted to drop to or below freezing and I had to protect two beds each of tomato transplants and blossoming strawberries. Strawberries always blossom while there’s still chance of frost so, just like every year, I threw old sheets and blankets over the beds. As for the tomatoes: A few days of warm weather the previous week had made me jump the gun on the tomatoes, planting them out almost two weeks earlier than usual. So much for being the rational gardener.

But, as I said, I got them covered. Literally. I was not so irrational as to not plan ahead, and

right after planting I installed the same “tunnels” over the tomato row that protected endive …

Read the complete post…

(Untitled)

With blossoms spent on forsythias, lilacs, fruit trees, and clove currants, spring’s flamboyant flower show had subsided – or so I thought. Pulling into my driveway, I was pleasantly startled by the profusion of orchid-like blossoms on the Chinese yellowhorn tree. And I let out an audible “Wow” as three fat, red blossoms, each the size of a dinner plate, stared back at me from my tree peony as I stepped onto my terrace.

Both plants originate in Asia. Both plants are easy to grow. Both plants have an unfortunate short bloom period which, if this heat keeps up, will be even shorter than usual. Fortunately, both plants also are attractive, though more sedately, even after their blossoms fade.

The tree peonies have such a weird growth habit. I had read that they were very slow to grow so was quite pleased, years ago, when …

Read the complete post…

(Untitled)

Today, with a nod to my ancestors, I’m going to spread dark green flakes over all the vegetable beds and beneath the fruit trees and bushes. That nod is not to my ancestors that came here from Poland, Austria, or Argentina, not even further back into the reaches of humanity from the savannahs of Africa. No, I’m referencing my – all of our – ancestors that first crept or waddled forth from the seas.

The dark, green flakes are kelp, a kind of seaweed; if the sea nourished our flippered progenitors, I figure it might also provide something nutritive to today’s iPod-appendaged humans. Kelp is rich in a grand array of trace minerals, many of which are known and some of which may become known as necessary to maintain health. So I’m spreading this stuff on my soil where its goodness can work itself up into my …

Read the complete post…

(Untitled)

One thing that I like about gardening is that you get so much for your efforts; that said, it’s sometimes nice to get something for no effort. And that’s one thing I like about Good King Henry, a vegetable much like spinach.

I’ve grown Good King Henry, which few people know or grow, for over 20 years. I hardly grow it, though. It’s a perennial. I planted it from seed in a back corner of my garden and it’s come back reliably year after year. It’s a close relative of the weed lamb’s-quarters (both in genus Chenopodium) so I was afraid it might spread and threaten takeover. But it’s done nothing more than reach out a little here and there. The only care the planting has needed is every few years my digging out whatever plants grow too boldly errant.

More than “like spinach,” Good King Henry …

Read the complete post…