Saturday, June 4, 2016
I was going to entitle this Field of Daisies, but both of our rain cisterns at the Stoddart Avenue Community Garden are bone dry. Realizing our impending doom, I contacted the City about utilizing our free annual fill-up (which we did not utilize last year), but they still have not got the program set up for this growing season (even though we broke ground months ago). Our baby seedlings are drying up in our unseasonable heat and memories of 2012 are coming flooding back. We’ve watched major storms come by Columbus (and even flood I-71 downtown and parts of the OSU campus) and we got nary a drop. Even now, there are major rain storms raging northwest and southeast of us, but they are passing us by. I have a large group of middle schoolers coming on Monday afternoon and no water for them to fill watering cans. I'm not alone in mourning our lack of rain; OSU has noticed it, too. It appears the El Nino (which gave us a mild winter) is to blame. Sigh.
Our strawberries and bing cherries are in season and I’ve had a bit of both. Sabrina and I went strawberry picking on Thursday morning, which was a waste of time. I decided that we should get an early start before the heat of the day wilted us, but Hann’s – where we usually pick – doesn’t open until 10 a.m., so we decided to try Doran’s near New Albany for the first time. They just opened for the season on Tuesday. However, their operation isn’t nearly as productive as Hann’s. The weeds were bigger than the strawberry plants. They also don’t use black fabric to keep down the weeds or preserve the moisture. And they do not irrigate the strawberries. So, the berries were small and few and far between. We picked for 45 minutes and only had about two pounds each to show for it. At Hann’s, we would have had close to 15 pounds. I saw a woman with a full container and asked her how long she had been picking. 90 minutes. Whew. Both Farms charge the same: $1.99/pound for u-pick. I’m hoping that I’ll have time to fit in a morning berry pick this week, but my real job has been taking a lot of my time for the last two months. (Not that I’m complaining).
I’m hoping to make a small batch of jam tonight. I just finished a white spinach English muffin pizza and will make a stir fry later with my fresh snow peas.
Our daisies have been as extraordinary this year as ever. I’m not alone in thinking so. Almost every Saturday, someone pulls over to tell me how much they enjoy them. However, they are taking up the space where I usually plant my zinnias and I’m a little concerned about getting a late start. They are also starting to die back, so I’ve prepared marigolds to transplant into those spaces. I've been cutting lots of daisies from my plot to fill vases at home. Amy has also planted some cosmos in the front bed and, of course, we transplant volunteer sunflowers in as well.
We haven’t had even a fraction of the bees that we usually have this year, but I’m going to attribute that to our unseasonably cold May. At least we did not suffer any significant damage from our late frost. I held back planting until the temperatures were reliably above 50.
The kids have not been very good about tending their plots. When our gate lock broke on Tuesday, Sabrina and I had to use a hose to transport water from our large, nearly-empty tank. The water pressure was ridiculous and it took forever to fill the cans. While waiting, Sabrina weeded the kids’ beds. I had worked with them a week earlier to plant watermelons and cantaloupes in one of their beds and they have just begun to sprout.
My sweet potato slips look a little strange this year. I’m thinking that they might all be that heirloom white variety and I want at least a few regular orange potatoes. I discovered this year that I could slice off the top of a sweet potato, put it in water (i.e., a bottle lid) and it would sprout roots and shoots just like when I put a whole potato in a jar filled 1/3 full with water. Who knew?
Another anomaly that we’ve had this year involves our rose bushes. I replaced one of the front bushes with a yellow knockout when the yellow tea rose died during the polar vortex. Then, a year later, a cane appeared next to the knockouts. That cane has turned into a bush and this year it was filled with red roses that are getting tangled up with the nearby yellow knockout bush. It looks pretty neat, but I expect that the red bush will not stay in bloom all summer like the knockout.
I finally got to the herb garden today. Our oregano is slowly taking over and so I pulled out a lot of it to make room for other herbs. When I prepared the ground to plant some dill, cilantro and basil, it was bone dry for at least a foot. Sigh. Truth is, I made time to blog today because the we haven't received any significant rain since a few days after my last post. Consider it an offering to the rain gods. Human sacrifices are likely to follow if this doesn't fill our tank . . . . .
at 6:27 PM