As the debate raged around the web this weekend over Sharon Astyk’s posts (I & II) on Permaculture and Transition, Rob Hopkins’s response, and a wild flurry of e-mails, I was out planting and harvesting. So were Sharon and Rob, I expect. I guess my response to all that is: “Enough talk- let’s garden.” Every once in a while its good for me to review just what I’ve been doing when.
I got the first head of broccoli and a handful-a-day of snap and snow peas added up to a stirfry. I’ve got scallions, the garlic are about a month away, the strawberries are over, the black caps are coming in and sweetening. Been harvesting lettuce for about three weeks, and will have chard in the next couple of weeks.
Here’s what I planted. First of all, we made a giant run to the nursery and got a potentilla, gaillardia and a bunch of annual flowers (black violets, spoon flower, zinnia, marigolds, asters) for pots on the porch, and herbs to fill in: basil, rosemary, oregano, lemon verbena, pineapple sage, hyssop, a pink-yellow yarrow, shasta daisy and pennyroyal. All these were planted around Friday.
I’ve had much better success this year starting vegetables from seed, which I attribute to using my own leaf compost, sand and peat mix, rather than sterile potting soil. I’ve had no damping off to speak of, and good root growth. With the exception of shallots, everything has transplanted well. So here’s the progress on seed starts I got in the ground this weekend:
- 6 thai basil
- 3 red cabbage
- 6 brussels sprouts
- 6 cauliflower
- 8-10 green chard
- 10-15 lacinato kale
- 3-5 chamomile
- 1 cucumber
- 2 musk melon
- 10 morning glories
- 1 crookneck
- 2 zucchini
- 4 winter squash (blue, lakota, buttercup)
- 1 pumpkin
I also managed to get in a stake-and-string system for the pole beans and put bricks around the center bed. I also cleaned out the garage, cooked dinner, took the kids to fireworks, and did some reading even.
My sad little failures include now four attempts to transplant some thorny locusts out of the front foundation planting bed to the back yard. I’m curious, in fact, how they got to the front bed in the first place. They don’t seem to be like the other locusts on my property- the leaves are more rounded like a black locust. My working theory is the cardinal who lives part time in the spruce deposited them there, but I have no proof.
As I was giving a talk last Tuesday night, someone was asking about weeds, and I instinctively said that I don’t much like weeding and don’t pull many weeds. My neighbor came over later in the weekend and remarked on my fine crop of dandelions. I said, well yes- they are recycling calcium. Dandelions, plantains and thistles all accumulate nutrients from sublayers of the soil and deposit them at the topsoil layer. This must be a characteristic of opportunistic pioneers and many weeds. I like my weeds.