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broodings from the burrow

June 28, 2021

notes from the garden: late june
posted by soe 1:18 am

My peas are drying up and the lettuces have reached their teenage years — tall and gangly. We’ve reached the summer gardening season just in time for the July heat to kick in.

June Gardening

June Gardening

Other people have the ability to have space in between their plants and to separate, weed, and clear things out with ruthless efficiency. I like my violets too much, so I tug their leaves when they get too tall, which just means they send up new ones the following month. Things grow, and because I don’t know for sure if they’re weeds or cultivated plants, I just leave them. All this is to say that my garden inevitably looks highly messy, but it’s just jammed full of goodness.

I mean, look at all these greens!

June Gardening

The cucumbers, peppers, and squash are growing (Mum, the cucumber is the one I bought before I came north, not the ones we split).

June Gardening

June Gardening

June Gardening

My next round of flowers are getting ready to blossom:

June Gardening

I’m harvesting the celery I planted back in the spring, and I brought home two of the everbearing strawberries for Rudi. (I ate the other one — so sweet!) The lemon balm has gotten out of control. Anyone have any recommendations for things to do with it?

And my bronze fennel will be attracting lots of pollinators:

June Gardening

It’s good to be a gardener!

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June 6, 2021

notes from the garden: june 2021 (after more than a week away)
posted by soe 1:28 am

Someone planted a jungle in my garden while I was away:




We harvested peas and strawberries and two bags of greens.

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May 10, 2021

photos from the garden
posted by soe 1:31 am

Want to see what’s flourishing in the garden this week? In addition to my greens (I filled a gallon-sized bag), here’s what’s thriving in my plot:




Strawberries (we don’t want them to turn red too fast; otherwise Rudi will miss out)

Pea Flower





Swiss chard



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May 3, 2021

notes from the garden: early may
posted by soe 1:45 am

Salad in a Bag

I was sitting on an overturned milk carton at the garden this afternoon, trying to unbraid my purple sage and my violets so I could thin the latter, when the ground under my potato patch started pulsing.

Fascinated, I stared as whatever was approaching from the forest came closer, both curious and slightly horrified by what might emerge.

And then common sense kicked in and I realized I was far more likely to witness my tallest potato plant be sucked underground in a Loony Toons moment than I was to make an adorable new friend. I grabbed my trowel and tapped on the earth, causing my new neighbor to decide to exit via another door.

I’ve always had neighbors in my garden plot. They sometimes place doorways up in the middle of the plot, which I then tuck a rock into the next time I see it. It’s likely a field mouse or maybe a vole, but I suppose it could also be a rabbit or a rat. (The latter is the least likely; they’re far more likely to be found in the compost than in my plot, but I can’t rule it out.)

On the vegetative front, you can see it was another successful harvest week. There’s two types of sorrel, a red leaf lettuce, arugula, and spinach in my spring greens bag.

I have a couple rows of seedlings I need to thin, including one that maybe is bok choy. It’s unclear, and I’ll need to look through the seeds Rudi and I planted to see. My Swiss chard is growing delightfully neon, and I look forward to harvesting my first stalks later this week.

More peas have emerged, so I created some more string latticework for them. The tallest vine is past my knee and growing fast.

The potatoes, onions, garlic, and celery seem to be doing okay. I’ll need to add more compost to the potatoes next weekend (unless my new neighbor eats them all between now and then), and apparently I need to keep an eye on my celery plants for pests.

There are actual berries on the strawberry plants, so I’ll shift the straw around later this week to cut down on the likelihood of slugs. Rudi says he’s also prepared to proffer free drinks to anyone undeterred by that method.

And finally, I planted a basil, a sungold tomato seedling, and a cayenne pepper today. I figure if I buy only a few plants at a time, I have a better shot of getting them in the ground the same day.

Early May Gardening

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May 1, 2021

plans of the nightshade variety
posted by soe 1:47 am

This weekend is the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, which would typically be where I would have picked up a variety of plants for the garden. However, it’s hard to acquire physical seedlings at a virtual festival, so for the second year in a row I’ll be looking closer to home for my summer veggies.

This does mean, though, that we’ve reached the point in the spring where it’s warm enough to put tomatoes, peppers, tomatillos, and cucumbers in the ground and expect them to survive. I’ll be excited to check out what farmers bring to the local markets and what the city’s nurseries have to offer over the next couple weekends. Last year we got fewer interesting varieties of tomatoes than I would have found at the festival, but I did end up with those super-long cucumbers.

Having a garden is never boring, that’s for sure!

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April 21, 2021

experiments in the garden
posted by soe 1:50 am

Mid-April Garden

Every year I try to plant new things as an experiment, in addition to past favorites. Sometimes it fails. The single carrot (a seedling from a friend of Rudi’s) and several beet seedlings I put in the potato patch last year disappeared ridiculously fast. But late-season squash finally grew for me, as did those crazy femur-sized cucumbers that showed up weekly in the height of summer. I’ve learned that you can’t plant just one tomatillo plant, even if you think you would only like one plant’s fruits; they require cross-fertilization and having another a few plots away isn’t close enough to cut it. In previous years, radishes didn’t work; peanuts did. I’ve planted broccoli and rabe on several occasions and grown lovely golden beetles each time.

This year, our first experiment is celery. I gave one to a neighbor gardener, but I have five more tucked amidst garlic and yellow onions in a patch I cleared out. So far so good, but they have to make it all the way to the fall.

Anything that’s going to require micromanagement, daily watering in the heat of summer, or pest management other than my flinging beetles away won’t cut it. If it thrive under benign neglect (see all those bunching onions and the sorrel I planted my first year as a gardener), that would be ideal.

Got any suggestions for this year’s experiments?

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