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broodings from the burrow

January 24, 2021

notes from the garden: january 2021
posted by soe 1:08 am

January Gardening

My garden looks dead, but it is not. I harvested some rosemary today. There is also still lemon balm and peppermint. My sage has some tiny leaves on it, so I heaped leaves around it to encourage it to think warm thoughts. I believe some of my tiny leeks are still alive, and I definitely saw that some of the greens I’d planted were making an effort, as is the omnipresent sorrel. I pulled down the rest of the bulbless onion grass stalks, which are strawlike, and added them to the beds to protect what’s already been sown and might be growing under the leaf litter I leave as mulch. If I’d been smart, I would have constructed a low tunnel or cold frame earlier in the season to see if I can actually harvest greens through the winter. Maybe next year.

This little pansy, which I planted Labor Day weekend, was also still giving it its all:

January Pansy

I also found several fluffy seeds, which I’m guessing are milkweed. They wouldn’t get to stick around in my plot, so I re-sent them on their windy way.


I’ll start to think about planting peas next month. If there’s a warm weekend in February, I’ll get some in then; otherwise, I’ll sow the first round in early March.

I will say that the nice thing about a mid-Atlantic garden is that you don’t have many months where there isn’t something you can harvest.

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September 27, 2020

notes from the garden: late september
posted by soe 1:52 am

Today, a surprise in the garden!

We’ve spent all summer nurturing a squash plant that seemed to grow blossoms, but never actual squash. Then, last week, Rudi saw a zucchini starting to form:

Zucchini Growing

Today, I discovered this growing beneath it:

Zucchini Grown

We grew a surprise zucchini — our first in more than a decade of gardening!

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September 7, 2020

notes from the garden: labor day weekend
posted by soe 12:16 am

Labor Day Gardening

My garden plot was all cherry tomatoes and bunching onion flowers and budding milkweed, which was fine, but I wanted something more, so I headed out yesterday with the intention of bringing home new plants.

The only problem with buying new plants is that then you have to plant them! (more…)

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August 25, 2020

notes from the garden: late august
posted by soe 1:56 am

I often neglect to show photos from the garden in the height of summer. It’s overgrown and I spend all my time there watering and picking and weeding and then I get home and think, “I should have taken some photos.”

I have young bean plants and hope to have beans in early October, which is still plenty warm in the mid-Atlantic. I planted about a dozen varieties, so I will be pleasantly surprised by what shows up.


I have a bounty of cherry tomatoes. Marauders of the two- and four-footed varieties have plagued our community garden this summer, so most big tomatoes were picked. (I try to be Zen about it — I don’t need the food I grow. Maybe the people who hop our fence would otherwise go hungry. But it can be frustrating until I remind myself of that fact.) But the cherry tomatoes mostly have survived, and mine have branched out everywhere, including vertically down into my bunching onions.

Cherry Tomatoes Everywhere

The cucumber plant continues to be very productive, giving me one every week or so. There are plenty more flowers, so I’d expect productivity to continue through September, at least. (Side note: homemade pickles are delicious.)


I have had a stellar year with my cone flowers. Here you can see the various stages they go through:

Lifespan of My Cone Flowers

Not pictured but also growing: Herbs, potatoes, peppers, zucchini flowers (but never actual zucchini).

I still need to get some seeds in the ground for fall greens. They’ve gone with me to the garden a couple times, but I just haven’t gotten around to planting them, although I’ve now cleared the clover and violets out of where they should go.

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August 24, 2020

late august weekending
posted by soe 1:05 am

A Cat and His Girl

I had a laid-back weekend. Friday night we spent time up at the park, reading and enjoying the bats zooming inches over the grass and then soaring high into the air after their prey. We came home to eat supper and I found the Washington Mystics playing on tv. As a Connecticut girl, I’m a big fan of women’s basketball, and D.C.’s and Dallas’ teams put on a good show that went into overtime. We concluded the evening with homemade chocolate chip ice cream.

Yesterday, I did indeed get to sleep in. I also stopped by the local yarn shop just to browse for the first time since February (okay, I may have bought a new set of dpns made out of driftwood and some Soak, because one can always use more). I then headed down to the garden, where I put in a couple hours of weeding, yanking out the vines that had made the jump from the adjacent woods and pulling out some not-yet-budding milkweed (yes, monarchs… but weed is in the name and it grows like it; trust me, there’s still plenty left!) that was overshadowing plants I wanted to produce food for me. I then picked some figs from the tree by the garden and then did some grocery shopping, the combination thereof (grocery shopping itself is small potatoes compared to hauling three full bags all home by myself) I’m pretty sure justified eating as much pizza and ice cream as I wanted, which I did while watching the Chuck Brown Day anniversary concert, which was being livestreamed on YouTube.

Onion Flowers

Today, I went to the farmers market (no boxes of tomatoes this week, but plenty of other goodies), then had a pleasant brunch with Corey in the bedroom in front of the fan while listening to the Nationals game on the radio. I did a few chores around the house and then head over to Arlington to return the overdue book I had from their library. I celebrated finding my way to the library (Roads in Arlington move like staircases at Hogwarts. It’s best if you just don’t fight the concept.) by getting a cup of tea at a local coffeehouse and then taking a less circuitous route back to D.C. After a stop to water the garden and pick basil for our supper, I hightailed it for the park, where Rudi and I stayed until the sun turned in for the night.

It was a good weekend. How was yours?

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June 21, 2020

two weeks in the life of a cucumber
posted by soe 1:00 am

Two weeks ago, I had cucumber flowers:

Cucumber Flower

A week ago, those flowers had developed fruit:


Four days later, the cucumber was several inches long (Yes, I should have thought to show it in comparison to something. Hindsight.):


Today, it’s longer than my hand:


Spoiler: Cucumber is possibly my least favorite vegetable. I will not be eating these when we harvest them, unless I decide I’m going to try making refrigerator pickles out of one of them. But Rudi loves cucumbers and is happy just to munch on one like a apple, which is why I planted it. And watching it grow has been sufficiently fascinating to make it a success for me.

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