Jun 2 – Holiday weekends… Where does the time go?!

The Memorial Day Weekend has always been kind of a touchstone for progress in the backyard. Living on two acres, all maintained, not fallow, I am glad we were not able to find a bigger lot when looking so many years ago. Even Donny has decided he has grown into its size as opposed to the other way around. 17 years ago, we had nothing but enthusiasm and time; now we rise to the occasion in terms of desire but lack solid blocks of time – 3 hours between soccer tournaments in towns 50+ miles away are limiting.
Ahh, but we are done for 6 weeks after the last game tomorrow night. Here is what we still have to do:
  1. Slip in 4 flats of impatiens and coleus around the deck – I use a large auger-type drill bit that quickly makes 186 holes; the bit is worth its’ weight in gold in Ohio’s clay and under a huge maple that has roots and absorbs all moisture and nutrients from the ground. Working as a team, the boys and I will deposit timed fertilizer pellets, compost, and plants. Scrape back "drilled" soil and water in well.
  2. Two more herbs – mint, learned a lesson there – it spreads beyond belief; and lavendar (another lesson – to get it to over-winter here is not worth the trouble or the ugly stems that it makes): I tore out 16 large-rooted, UGLY, plants last summer from an experiment I tried on the edge of the pool. What grew the first year (16 of the 26 – it is also hard to get started in our climate unless in pots), turned into oddly shaped stems that looked bare most of June. (While I may love a plant, I can’t have UGLY in my garden – it had to go). So, I will now have two nice pots of it – to keep away mosquitoes around the pool, to smell and cut, and to cook – if I ever get the nerve to use it in a recipe…
  3. Till Big Garden – we debated whether to do this or not. While it does make everything all nice for the first weeks (and, I have tactics to share for the longer season…), we do know that tilling just stirs up week seeds. Here’s the issue: BG has several 4′ x 4′ beds, a few 4′ x 9′ beds and a few more 9-10 square beds. All very symmetrical and surrounded by 1.5′ paths. It is the paths that present the problems. I have to have them for raised beds… I can’t till them as they are at a low level already and if it is a wet spring, I can’t get in with tiller or tools while they are wet. Tilling is Donny’s job. Okay, I sound horrible, but I DO cook for him from all that I grown… He is just better at the mechanical things and we somehow worked out, a long time ago, a system of specialized labor. You would not want him to decide what to grow, how to cook it, or what BG should like look – he simply doesn’t care. He just wants good tomatoes, Silver Queen corn, and a garden that looks like I haven’t lost my mind.
  4. Plant BG – I have tomotoes, peppers, cilantro, borage, marigolds and basil in the wings. This is all I started in advance. Oh, some sunflowers volunteered, so I potted them up, and they will go in somewhere too.
  5. Start seeds:  believe it or not, there is still a lot of time to start from seed outside and have a lush harvest come August – on the list (not including the cutting garden which I will list late on):
  • Arugula – can’t live without it but am really happy to see it showing up in stores, bulk, as opposed to being sold as an herb for $3 a tiny pack – seeds for the same amount will supply more than you can eat!
  • Bean, yard-long (‘Liana R.S.") – funny pack I picked up: Martha Stewart’s Kmart version of Burpee, I think. They grew so well and so fast, I was a little afraid to eat them – don’t be: simply delicious, stirred fried in EVOO with a chopped bulb of garlic and a last minute dressing of soy sauce.
  • Beet (‘Chioggia’) – haven’t a clue yet…
  • Cantalope (‘Hearts of Gold’) – old seeds – will see if they germinate; cantalope has not been a good crop for us lately – theories on why, soon…
  • Corn (‘Silver Queen’) – to those of us in this area, there really is no other corn to grow – field, farm, or garden. I will explain growing corn soon since it is time but not too late, I promise.
  • Cucumber, ‘Tasty Green Hybrid’ – refridgerator pickles and gazpacho
  • Eggplant – they are purple and my favorite color; when I tried them once before, they had a little "bug" thing on their leaves which I never resolved. This is my Science Project for this summer…
  • Fennel – seed packs call it an herb and if you have ever wanted to play "Stump the Cashier", purchase a bulb: PLU calls is Anise because of its flavor. I could go on about our younger generation’s education of vegetables (or lack there of), but I digress…
  • Okra, ‘Clemson Spineless’ and ‘Red Velvet’. Last year, this was my biggest hardship! Many years ago, my then-10-month-old Jackson happily sucked on an okra in a Charlseton eatery – to my amazement. I set out to grow them and was happy to see they did VERY well in our heat and humidity. Last year the deer found them to be tasty too. This year, we may decide the deer are tasty…. Not really, but I do have a battle on my hands I need to solve; store bought okra are never fresh enough and frozen are as yukky as their frozen Brussels sprouts relatives…
  • Greens: Black Seeded Simpson, Burpee Bibb, Mesclun ‘Cook’s Mild Mix’; I am sure I have seeds for many others too
  • Pumpkins: ‘Big Max’, ‘Jack Be Little’, ‘Jack-O’-Lantern’
  • Spinach, ‘Baby’s Leaf Hybrid’
  • Watermelon: ‘Crimson Sweet’
  • Winter Squash: ‘Early Acorn’
  • Zucchini: ‘Black Eel’: if this doesn’t sound like one to creep unto you porch, I am sure I have nothing else with which to frighten you…

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