sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

May 27, 2018

fresh from the garden
posted by soe 1:33 am



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May 22, 2018

mid-may garden update
posted by soe 1:05 am

Rudi and I headed by the garden Sunday evening, he to put down beer to entice the slugs away from our strawberries and I to plant my potatoes. We’d had seven straight days of rain by that point, so there would be no need to water, but pulling out some of the weeds, which had irritating flourished without sun, was necessary.

Mid-May Garden Scenes

I’m growing quite a jungle right now, particularly in contrast with this scene from ten weeks ago when I planted my peas.

Our slugs are not like the ones I grew up with, large and fat and out only on dewy mornings and rainy days. Ours are tiny, smaller than your pinky fingernail, and love to decimate delicate basil leaves and to hollow out strawberries. I learned after our first year of gardening to bite strawberries carefully if they looked like they had a tiny hole anywhere on them. So we put down peanut butter lids filled with cheap beer to encourage them to their drunken deaths instead.

I had two bags of seed potatoes I’d purchased earlier in the month, as well as sprouted potatoes and sweet potatoes from over the winter that I’d put aside for the garden. I also found some peanuts I’d bought but never planted, so I threw those into the back of the potato patch as well. Next week I’ll re-cover any errant potatoes that have been exposed to the air (no one loves the smell of rotting potatoes, except, apparently the squirrels who are awaiting tomato season by digging for buried treasure) and plant some beans to that section of the plot, in an attempt to grow upwards in the same space.

Mid-May Garden Scenes

My peas have reached navel height and will require additional supports this week. Still no pods, but plenty of flowers. If we don’t get hit with a prolonged heatwave, I’m optimistic about the season.

Mid-May Garden Scenes

My greens are flourishing. I’ve planted lettuces, spinach, kale, and arugula — both seeds and seedlings — before, but they’ve never done so well that I’ve been able to pick whole heads at a time, instead contenting myself with picking leaves off the plants before they bolted. This year, though, we’ve already harvested three heads of lettuce from the section above. That row of lettuces in the shot below will be thinned next week.

Mid-May Garden Scenes

Nearly all the basil we planted last week is gone, victim either to wildlife or seven inches of rainfall. I had two green basils survive, but we didn’t find any of the purple basil that Rudi had planted amidst the strawberries, so I’ll either need to buy new at the farmers market or see if I have any seeds to try starting them on my windowsill at work. (My tomato seedlings are growing well there now and will need to be repotted into individual containers within the next week. It may be that I started the seeds too late for this year, but it will have been an encouraging experiment, no matter the outcome.)

Soon, I’ll have to start thinking about what else I want to grow in the garden this year. I haven’t had a lot of luck with squash in the past, but this could a turning point, particularly since my plot has more sun this year. I’ll keep you updated!

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May 6, 2018

april showers…
posted by soe 1:24 am

Bring May flowers on my Brassica.

Flowering Brassica

It also brings peas now almost knee-high.

Pea Vines<

And strawberries and greens. (Strawberries not pictured here.)

Spring Greens

As expected, though, the heat did in my violets. I harvested about a dozen of what remained, but even many of them were past peak. I suppose I’ll have to move to picking dandelions next!

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April 16, 2018

scenes from the garden: mid-april
posted by soe 1:37 am

I made it to the garden center on their opening day in time to snap up four strawberry plants and a couple packets of seeds, and later in the evening, headed down to the garden to do some planting and see what was growing:





As you can see, my broccoli (which I planted last fall as a seedling) is growing florets, my tallest peas are as tall as my fingers, the strawberries I already had in my plot developed flowers, and my greens are finally growing.

Also, I am delighted to report that my fears that I had somehow killed a hardy woodland flower were unfounded and that I arrived to violets all over the periphery of my plot, which is where I wanted them.


I harvested a bouquet of them for the top of my fridge, but left plenty for our pollinators because it’s good to share. I also picked sorrel, some spring onion, and a branch of rosemary.

Mid-April Garden

It’s nice to see it starting to come together.

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April 10, 2018

favorites in bloom
posted by soe 1:59 am

I dug up all the violets in my strawberry patch last year and transplanted them to the edges of my plot, hoping to maximize space for both of these early producers. Unfortunately, I’m not sure it’s paid off, since I saw hardly any when I was there yesterday.

Luckily, there were violets elsewhere, and maybe I’ll try transplanting some wild ones later in the season.

In the meantime, here are both purple and white violets growing wild in my neighborhood:

Purple Violets

White Violets

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May 15, 2017

mid-may garden update
posted by soe 1:04 am

Mid-May Gardening

The recent rains have left my garden lush and green, filled with unruly violet leaves and impertinent creepers, and I’m sure a new crop of broken glass (a prolific crop in any urban community garden) is pushing forth into my plot.

I hadn’t visited in two weeks. Since they’ve been cool and rainy and I expected nothing to be ripe, the only real risk to a prolonged absence was that the weeds would overrun the plants I wanted to grow. When I’d last been down there, we’d harvested our cauliflower and some of the sorrel, which has shown its displeasure by becoming even more overgrown. When I head down again this week, I’ll need to make sure to bring a bag big enough to pick several handfuls.

Pea Flowers

Pea To Be

The tallest shoot of my peas has grasped its way to the height of my waist, and others are climbing up our string trellis in fast pursuit. The vines are strong and covered with flowers, with one transforming into a pod.


It’s impossible to tell I pulled out violet leaves at the start of the month to give our strawberries more light, but it doesn’t seem to have harmed them any. All of the plants I could see had early berries on them, which means they should be red by Memorial Day.

Whatever seemed to be munching on my bok choy has moved on, and all three plants are looking good. The basils, too, are solid, as are the rest of my herbs. And even this 42 Days tomato, the lone one we’ve planted so far (my Sheep & Wool plants remain in my hallway), is thriving, with yellow flowers cheerfully promising fruit to come.

Tomato Flower

Later this week, I’ll need to head back down and plant tomato and pepper seedlings, beans, and potatoes, but for now I’m pleased with how the garden grows.

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