Sunday, June 16, 2013

Trellising and Berries

I’m starting to accept the fact that we might have normal weather this growing season.  After a dry May, we received a boatload of rain this week and everything tripled in size.  Cassie was not prepared for everything to ripen and grow so quickly after she had planted it.   Our giant black raspberry crop is also ripening, to the delight of your youthful neighbors.

Tuesday, I pruned some of our fading daisies and entertained some guests.   Micayla came to watch me thin her carrots and then to pick berries.  Hope, Ben and Cathy came to pick berries.  Then, Gio and Cristen came to finish planting their bed.  However, they could not agree on what to plant because Cristen changed her mind and insisted on planting a name garden (with a word in flowers).  I insisted that Gio be permitted to have a cucumber plant and Cristen agreed that watermelon would be agreeable.  Otherwise, she spelled out her nickname with pink assylum.

Then, Neal stopped by to check on his plot (and later planted some lima beans in the large bare spot).  His corn is coming up nicely and I need to remember to suggest that he consider the three-sisters gardening:  planting pole beans around his chest-high corn and then some zucchini.  Tom, Sabrina and Zephyr then stopped by.  Tom carried to our make-shift "curb" along Cherry Street the 36-pound giant rock that Sabrina and Neal had dug out last week.  Zephyr watched Cristen plant her name garden and then started crying when I insisted that she take home some of her kale to her mother because he wanted it.  (Sabrina tells me that he is a huge fan of kale chips.  He's three.  Go figure.)  After I teased Neal about his ill-guided decision to not grow any lettuce, Sabrina gave him a bag of lettuce from her own plot to take home.  We all had to skedaddle when it got dark.

Yesterday, I arrived around 9 a.m. and spent the first two hours weeding the food pantry plots, the flower beds and my plot.  Then, I spent an hour or so pruning our fading daisies and spent rose blooms, saving daisy seeds, tying up tomatoes, and planting more pepper seedlings that I suspect Sabrina scavenged from a generous donor.  Mari came and I helped her transplant some of my kale and sweet potato seedlings into her plot.   Antoinette stopped by for the first time in a few weeks to examine her garden bed.  She was delighted with its progress and with the ripening berry crop, but couldn’t stay because she was babysitting her exceptionally well mannered two-year old niece.   Rose stopped by to check on her plot and weed along the alley.  Then, Cassie stopped by, but had forgotten all of her items.  So, she harvested and planted basil.  Frank came by to mow the two Blockwatch lots, mow our lot and grumble about the abundant chicory weed (aka the blue dandelion).

I then spent the last two hours harvesting berries, harvesting turnips, carrots, lettuce, dill, kale and greens for the food pantry and then various spinach, lettuce and kale from my plot. I finally got to the food pantry around 2:30 and was about to drop.   My kingdom for a Mt. Dew!  I should not let my blood sugar and caffeine level get so low, but I hadn’t anticipated it getting so warm or being there so long.  After I got home, I then had to return to the Garden to harvest my peas.   I accomplished very little with the rest of the day.

This week, I noticed that Sabrina had constructed a neat trellis for her pole beans that is slightly different than the trellis she constructed for her peas.  I use a wire trellis myself for peas, beans, cucumbers and tomatoes.  (You’ll notice Charlie’s weedy plot in the background.)  We grow our raspberries along our fence (which works as a trellis) and prune the berries back every Fall.  A neighbor a few blocks from my house constructed a very cool tri-pod trellis for his cucumbers and so I took a quick picture.  Of course, we trellis our vegetables in order to save space for other things.  We can grow more food if we allow the vining crops, like cucumbers, beans, tomatoes, watermelon, squash, etc. crow up instead of sideways.  I also use my trellis to shade my tender lettuce, and spinach crop from the hot sun (thus, prolonging its growing season).  

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