Sunday, June 9, 2013

Oh My Achin’ Glutes

I’ve been walking at a slight tilt for the past week.  Last week and yesterday, I spent some time bent over thinning and harvesting turnips/greens. Then, on Monday I went strawberry picking.   Usually, I don’t spend so much time bent over until I start harvesting beans.  The constant up and down, crouching and bending utilizes muscles in the back of my legs and hiney that do not otherwise get much use.  So, today and last Sunday I am moving very slowly and very sorely.   Ouch.  However, some folks pay good money to personal trainers to get the same type of workout, so I’ll try to appreciate my improved muscle tone and pretend I got my workout in a gym.

Aside from my aching body, we had an even bigger milestone this week.  We got over an inch of rain on Thursday!  Not only did our vegetables appreciate the moisture, but so did the weeds.  All things green in the Garden pretty much doubled in size and most of the bean seeds I planted last week are starting to push through the ground.   I spent my first hour or so at the Garden yesterday weeding the food pantry plots, the south flower bed, along the alley and my plot.  Despite the extra work, I hope that we get another inch of rain tomorrow as predicted.

I love cool nights and mornings, however our basil does not.  The seedlings are turning yellow and drooping from the chilly nights and if this weather continues, I’m afraid that I will have to start over from scratch by planting new seeds.

Christen returned to the Garden for the first time in a while on Monday afternoon and weeded her bed.  I hadn’t planned on staying long, so I hadn’t brought any seedlings with me to help her finish planting.  We made plans to meet up later in the week, but she apparently forgot about cheerleading practice.  However, it was cute listening to her tell her cousin how much she’s learned in the past two summers and how she will be tending her plot by herself this year. 

I made strawberry jam on Monday, Martha's homemade almond-cornmeal short cakes and popsicles on Tuesday, more jam on Thursday and will make ice cream today from all of the strawberries we picked on Monday.  On Sabrina’s recommendation, I decided to modify my typical jam recipe this year by adding a few blueberries to improve the jelling and it worked like a charm.  I also tried the low-sugar pectin and am delighted with the results. 

Rose weeded her bed and we finished planting it on Wednesday with carrots, beans and lettuce.

Sabrina brought us lots of goodies on Thursday night which had been donated by Strader’s Nursery.  I spent an hour yesterday planting petunias in our flower pots and in the south and front flower beds.  The block watch flower beds across the street will also benefit from the flats of petunias.  We hope that Urban Connections and some of our residential neighbors can benefit from the flats of impatiens.  Frank thinks that some gardeners tending nearby the Miller/Kelton ramps might appreciate the impatiens as well.   I also planted in our food pantry plot some donated pepper and melon seedlings.   Sabrina also brought two giant containers of rich, black “zoo compost.”  I’m still waiting for more details, but I’ve already put some around the new cosmos seedlings and our new rose bush to help them along.  

Although I missed Sabrina and Neal on Saturday, I am informed that they dug a giant rock out of the front gate plot on Saturday evening -- four years after we initially broke ground in 2009.  Some of the plots have received more love than others.  The one by the front gate has, admittedly, been one of the least loved plots in the Garden.  Whoever is assigned to it seems destined to lack a passion for gardening or improving their plot.  A next-door neighbor had it for the first 1-1/2 years.  A struggling mother took it for her young child for the second half of one year (and hoed it into submission in 92 degree heat one July so that her daughter could plant beans, etc.)  However, neither ever went through with a shovel to dig out the construction debris.   It was the designated food pantry plot for the next two years and, trust me, I did not spend an enormous amount of time digging out debris (although I did remove some).   Now Sabrina has it and she removed the weeds last week by getting on her hands and knees and digging them out by hand with a trowel.   That is serious dedication, so I now have high hopes for her plot.   As Miss Cathy explains in her blog, Sabrina is putting down roots, not fake flowers.

Cassie, Frank and their son Joey stopped by just before I left on Saturday to continue planting their plot.  Cassie does not seem to believe me how much space squash plants require.  But she will someday . . . .

On Friday night, my neighbor and I visited the Columbus Arts Festival and I picked up a slew of clay garden markers from Kate Lally Ceramics to add to my collection.   This year, in addition to herb markers (like stevia, dill, fennel, basil, etc.), the artist also has a bunch of vegetable markers, like sweet potatoes, roma tomatoes, jalapeno peppers, bell peppers, etc.  There was a lot of garden art available, but I mostly restrained myself.   I really want one of the horseshoe statues for the SACG to put in our middle flower bed, but my sense of whimsy may not be shared by the rest of our neighbors and it's certainly not in our budget.

Next week, I think I’ll be focusing on tying up our tomatoes and pruning the daisies.  Finally, our black raspberries look as though they will be ripening within the next 10 days.   Although it takes forever to harvest them (because of all of the thorns), this is my favorite crop.  You can’t even buy fresh black raspberries (although Trader Joe’s sells frozen ones).

Now off to the bike trail . . . . .

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