Monday, May 26, 2008

And The Planting Goes ON

This week we planted:
8 Roma, 4 Better Boy, 3 Sweet 100s, 4 Golden, and 4 Early Girl tomato plants
Shallots (in Eli's favorite digging spot)
Fingerling potatoes
8 green bell and 4 red bell peppers
We have several other pepper varieties that are too immature to plant in the garden.
We are nursing the tomatilloes, and they will be planted in a couple of weeks.
Stan has ordered some edamame soybeans, and they will go in when they arrive.
The onions are getting tall and the ones that are tightly planted can be harvested as green onions.

We are starting to get lettuce and spinach. The lettuce must be thinned, so feel free to do this. We are snipping the more mature leaves off the spinach.
The beets are growing quite slowly. I'm not sure what's up with them.
The radishes need to be thinned as well. This must be done mercilessly as the plants are pretty overcrowded.

The peas are looking great, but there are no blooms yet, so we won't have anything to harvest for awhile. But we will have tons when they get going.
Farmer Bill from down the street says we are about 2 weeks behind this year due to cool, rainy weather. Seems about right.

An Email From Clair

She's one of the beautiful flowers in the garden of my life. To Clair from Mickey

From Clair

Kim! I just wanted to reply to this garden update because well, I read all of the e-mails you send but as I was reading this one something in me grabbed at my heart and I don't know, I just realized how wonderful and beautiful and impacting your words are to me - always. All of your e-mails: I love reading them so much and getting just a small taste of what is going on in your life and in your mind and heart. So I wanted to reply to you and let you know. It's truely amazing how God works through people and seemingly small ordinary things such as e-mails.
Anyhow, I have been meaning to get in touch with you and Mickey. I miss you both dearly and think of you so very often. How has life been treating you both? Anything new and exciting? Are you planning any new trips to New York?! : )
I'd love to hear from you when you have the chance. Peace and Love, me

And Kim wrote back...

It is so good to hear from you - but we miss you so!
Your note to me was probably more uplifting than my note to you!. I have great respect for you, so if I manage to bring you even a small amount of enlightenment, that's a major event for me. I've been carrying the thoughts about Jack and the Beanstalk around with me for a couple of years and I finally managed to find an outlet for them. Sometime I'll have to tell you about Humpty Dumpty. Maybe I should do a series on children's literature.
We are planning a trip to NY around June 25th. I will stay a week and Mickey two. Is there a possibility of your visiting us there? We are flying this time so we can't drop by to see you.
Mickey and I have been watching "The Wire", the best TV series I have ever seen. It is about inner city Baltimore, its gangs, police, schools, politics, etc. I am interested in your opinion about the storyline, given your year in Philly.
I am also interested in hearing about your college plans. I suspect you will visit Indi shortly. Hope so.
Wishing you the best,

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Miracle We See Repeated Endlessly

We did some gardening this weekend, but much of the time was spent chasing kids around the yard, walking across the "Lava Pit of Death" (that also contains dead mice), playing hide and seek, climbing tress, walking the railroad track, and sitting around a fire after dark.
I was expecting that this past weekend would bring a bit of a pause in the planting, but we forged ahead by planting potatoes, bush beans (two varieties), white radishes, a 2nd beet planting, carrots and dill. The small garden is now fully planted and the larger plot is about 1/4 full. Tomatoes are hardened off and ready to go in this week if the weather cooperates. Peppers, too.

We had some sad success this past week as well. There are two fewer moles upending the plants. Brian gave me a mole trap about a week ago and I guess I've learned the trick to using it. One mole was causing all the damage in and around the small garden. I honestly think he had about 300 feet of tunnels just in our raised bed and its edge. The 2nd mole had a strong interest in our potato plot.

I've been waiting for bean planting to write about this next topic. Everyone knows the story "Jack and the Beanstalk". Given that people have created many thousands of stories over many years, do you ever wonder why particular stories manage to stand out? What is so special about this story that has made it so popular and endearing? To me, it's the magic beans, of course! Everything else in the story is unremarkable - except for the giant. But it's the beans that get Jack to the giant. But why does the story work? Why does it allow us to "suspend our disbelief" about the magic beans and go along with the story?

Take a dried, dead looking bean, stick it in the ground, water the spot, then wait a few days. What happens is truly amazing. By some incredible biological chicanery, a plant beg
ins to emerge. Soon it matures, flowers and creates a pod with new beans. We take these phenomenathey are routine, but they are truly astonishing events. Not one of us could even begin to explain how all this happens.

So, if a small seed can perform such an amazing feat, it's only a small step, especially in a child's mind, that the plant it creates could be grossly over sized and able to reach the clouds. It's only a minor exaggeration of the miracle we see repeated endlessly.

Monday, May 12, 2008

A Busy Saturday

Saturday was a busy day!
Penny and Grace delivered lots of straw, some of which we immediately put into service in the small garden. We mulched the peas, the more mature greens, and the cabbage. Penny and Grace also planted more lettuce, radishes and spinach in the small garden. It's starting to look as if we will see some fruits of our labors in a couple weeks.

Then, we turned our attention to the herb garden in the back. We planted several different culinary and non-culinary herbs and mulched the entire bunch. Herbs don't care much for mulch, but I don't care much for weeding, so they lost out. Right now they look small in that plot, but with time they will fill the area nicely.

Stan is preparing the potatoes for planting, which we plan to do next weekend. He quarters them and then lets them skin over to help keep them from rotting as they sprout.
Our temperature sensitive plants (primarily tomatoes and peppers) are still in pots and they make a daily 5 foot commute from inside to outside the garage; they are doing well.
Since we are nearing the middle of May almost everything grown from seed can be sown. By the time the seedlings emerge, we will be past any reasonable danger of frost. Beans (we have a new variety this year) are top on the list.
Hope everyone had a great Mother's Day.

Monday, May 5, 2008

The First Weekend of May

As we wait to get past the last frost date in Indiana, we didn't plant anything else in the garden this weekend. During the next couple of weeks we can start planting seeds of frost sensitive plants that will emerge after mid-May, potatoes, and many of the herbs.
I brought 12 tomato plants home from my office in Kokomo and am hardening them off on the back porch. They got very tall in the windows of my office - so tall and skinny that I had to cut nearly 2 feet off the top of the plants. They were too leggy because our tinted windows block out a portion of the light spectrum. The tomatoes and peppers I've been babying at home are doing very well.
Moles - or mole. We have at least one that is ravishing the small garden. Brian purchased a trap that we'll put into service this week. I hope to publish funeral arrangements next week.
I tilled the south 1/2 of the back garden and incorporated fertilizer. The tiller had a major structural failure the last time we used it. Robert Carter was kind enough to weld a couple of steel brackets on it to support its weight. Now it runs like a sewing machine, well, one that bucks and drags you around.
Most of the plants we've bought are root bound, so I have been transplanting them in larger pots for a couple weeks before setting them in the garden.
One more thing - VOTE.