Archive for July, 2012

Half time score: 6 completed  resolutions,  2 failed , and  3  in process, or at least a chance of still doing them!

On to the second half:

12. Plant in guilds and polycultures, like the 3 sisters guild. I did this and am pretty sure I like it, though there are some drawbacks. Sure looks pretty, though!

Corn with squash, beans haven’t emerged yet.

The beans are in there – can you see them? Maybe I planted too close…

Greens, broccoli, chard…the root vegies didn’t do so well.

A mosaic of greens…it was beautiful while it lasted!

13. Plant more cold weather crops. Broccoli, kale, corn salad, turnips, beets, kohlrabi, leaf lettuce, mustard greens, peas, radishes, spinach, chard…all in and waiting for the fall!  I also planted most of these in spring.

Spring broccoli

14. Figure out out to successfully grow tomatoes here – lots of nasty tomato diseases lurking everywhere. This remains to be seen…they look pretty good for now, though.

Ripening at last!

15. Do compost right. After someone in my family weeded and put all the nasty weeds with their ripe seed heads on my compost pile while we were away on vacation, I have almost given up on this one. Deep breath…start again.
16. Construct an herb spiral. This was based on the load of rocks we were going to get for free (!) from a demolished house, but alas, never materialized. This on goes in the fail column for this year.

17. Try broccoli and cauliflower. Yes – yummy- and no. But I am trying Brussels sprouts…I count this one accomplished.
18. Find and grow Jerusalem artichokes. After a long internet search, failure…
19. Plant edible flowers. I’m going to say no here even though I have a few in the garden. I didn’t really keep this in mind for planting and want to do more.


20. Get better at succession planting. Reseeded polycultures and started seeds for planting next month. I say this one counts.
21. Preserve more food. Well, this remains to be seen, but we have 5 pints of strawberries and 7 jars of pickles so far…

Babička’s pickles

22. Figure out what I can grow on the steep slopes in our yard. Still a challenge. Right now it’s squash, but the weeds are a hassle. I went through and weeded in the last 2 days, so it looks good now, but since it’s a slope, I can’t put down cardboard and mulch – it just slides right off. Any suggestions greatly appreciated!

Too much bare soil…

Spacing was better here and s the squash trail, they cover the ground.

Weeds took over this spot.

So by my count, out of 22 resolutions, that’s  10 completed successfully, 7 failed, and 5 in progress. I’d be happy with a 50-50 split. After all, 22 resolutions is a bit much, don’t you think? It’s still anyone’s game, then I guess.

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We were half way through dinner before I realized it’s Monday!


Mixed Salad: lettuce°, arugula*, lamb’s quarters*, carrot°, tomato°, chick peas

Pasta° with zucchini* sauce

Like most gardeners who plant zucchini, I have loads and loads of it towards the end of the summer. We haven’t harvested much yet, but more is on the way. I started using it in pasta sauce a couple years ago to use it up and it has become one of the girls’ favorites.

Zucchini Sauce

1 or 2 cups shredded zucchini

onion finely diced or garlic minced, to taste

cream (I use soy cream)

olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

optional: other herbs of choice, grated parmesan

Sautee onion, zucchini and garlic. Add herbs if using, salt and pepper to taste. Add in as much cream as desired. I probably use a quarter cup or so, just enough to make it look like a cream sauce! I suppose you would’t need to use it all if you don’t wish to. Let it simmer a little while. Add parmesan at the end if you wish (I do). Serve on top of pasta or rice.

With more zucchini on its way, look for more zucchini recipes soon, including zucchini muffins and lemon zucchini.

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Friend and neighbor Andrea, who never tires of this description, says my garden does not look as bad as I think. I must admit that I am beginning to believe her. But you know how you can get used to a noise to the point where you don’t even notice it anymore? I fear that is what has happened with me and the weeds. So, when I look at my garden I don’t even see them , so now I think it looks great out there!

A few bright spots…

Olivia’s sunflower

Butterfly bush + Queen Anne’s Lace (Looks better than this photo!)

Rhubarb ready to harvest!

A rainbow of chard

2012 is more than half way over and I thought I’d check up on my resolutions and see how I am doing.

Garden resolutions for 2012:

1. Get soil tested. I didn’t, but I did find out how. There is a place you can send your soil for a small fee, but I am not sure it tests for contaminants. I’ll have to keep working on this one.
2. Grow potatoes in barrels. I didn’t get to this. I wanted to find a barrel that was  not plastic and was not pressure-treated wood and just didn’t find one. But I have 10 months to find one for next spring…
3. Figure out how to get manure and straw (where to get it and how to transport it). Nope. No clue. Possible I can still do this, though.
4. Build more raised beds. We did this! I now have ten 4×4 foot beds and one 4×8 for the strawberries. I love them!
5. Try garlic. Yet to come…
6. Build cold frames. We bought one instead. It’s functional, but a bit flimsy.

Flimsy cold frame now housing eggplant and peppers.

7. Put in fruit trees – cherry, apricot, maybe apples, but they are so plentiful and cheap here… We did this, too! And they are doing well.

Sour cherry.

8. Put in small fruit shrubs –  currants, blueberries, raspberries, grapes, gooseberries. All but the grapes…I think that counts as fulfilled!

Currants and gooseberries.

9. Make a solar dehydrator. Good project for next week!
10. Put in an asparagus bed. Done. It looks like a coffin, and it seems one of the asparagus died already.

11. Grow more herbs. Yes, to parsley, chives, mint and sage, I added tarragon, lemon balm, betony, rosemary, thyme, dill, savory, oregano, basil and marjoram.

Herb bed with sage going wild!

Savory and marjoram. Or is it the oregano? (I can’t tell them apart!)

So, running total so far…6 completed, 3 in progress and 2 that will not come to pass out of the first 11. Second half of the resolutions tomorrow and the grand total…

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Tomatoes are red, corn is ripening in its husks, dozens of pumpkins and squash are swelling on every plant, the broccoli is sending up side shoots that look even more delicious than the main heads we already harvested, the pole beans have blanketed the fences and the tepee, the string beans are up and blossoming, cucumber vines have completely covered the trellis, sheltering the ready-to-pick lettuce underneath, the mix of greens and radishes and beets I seeded before we left have all come up, thick and luscious…oh wait, that’s the garden in my mind…

I suppose my imagination gets carried away, but in the three weeks we were gone, I expected more to happen. But it was cold and rainy here, so what really happened was this: there are a few green tomatoes, the corn grew, but is only waist-high, there were 2 summer squash to harvest despite ALL the flowers before we left, I see a couple of winter squash forming, the broccoli was gross and definitely needed to be ripped out, the pole and string beans must have rotted in the ground, because there are hardly any that have come up, the lettuce under the cucumber trellis has been decimated by flea beetles, it seems very little of what I planted before we left actually germinated and what did has ben munched to death by flea beetles and snails, and weeds went wild…Reality sucks sometimes.

On a positive note, the cucumber vines have covered the trellis and we already harvested almost 3.5 kilos of them. And the herbs look good, except for the lovage, but Kamil decapitated it with the lawn mower right after I planted it, so I guess I can’t  blame it for proceeding cautiously.

What’s a gardener to do? Well, a good gardener would set to work and do something to turn the situation around, but me, I just averted my eyes and turned to other projects…

I remembered a tutorial I saw for how to turn a T-shirt into a tank top, grabbed the T-shirts my husband wanted to get rid of ( he cleaned out his dresser drawers?!?!?! Did I look THAT despondent?) and made these:

A dress for Sofie


A tank top for Olivia

So quick, so easy, so cute.

I also made camping pillows from old sheets (do you recognize them, Suzie?)

And started a new project that just makes me smile because of all the colors and inherent delight of patchwork squares…

Materials for secret project…more on that later!

And I feel much better now!

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