Monthly Archives: June 2014

A Dirty Lunchbreak

The spinach bolted into our salad last night.
The spinach bolted into last night’s salad.

Yesterday was beautiful. Hot and green, the type of day I ache for during winter and spring. The back yard was lush and loud with birds whose songs I wish I recognized. Mostly sparrows I assume, because despite my best—ie, faltering—efforts, I have yet to cultivate a landscape that attracts a variety of birds. I have been seeing monarchs, though!

Yesterday was one of my “garden half empty” days. Despite watching the red maple dance in the corner where concrete used to be, from under the deep shade of the apple tree we pried into barren, sun-baked dirt 12 years ago, my thoughts turned to what we haven’t done.

2014-06-03 10.20.46

We never finished pruning the apple tree this spring. It’s too wide, too dense, throws too much shade.

When and how do I harvest the various greens I transplanted from winter sowing?*

For all that effort, why do we only have enough for three dinners?

Which are weeds and which might be little flowers growing from last year’s seeds? And are these two plants the Cardinal Climbers I sowed with such hope this spring?**

2014-06-03 12.06.30

The good thing about a garden in summer is that there is always something to do. Figuring it is better to mope and putter than sit and mope, I organized seeds (why do I have four packets of peas and only one of kale?!), studied the planting guidance for various greens, started overthinking, got mad for wasting time, and set out to let the garden provide direction.

  • Thinned the container of lettuce sowed in mid-April. Produced a cup of microgreens.
  • Transplanted a tomato into a container with a water reservoir, and placed it out front as an experiment in summer sun. For most of the year, our north facing three flat throws a formidable shadow.2014-06-03 12.12.17
  • Ate some strawberries. Wondered why ours are so often deformed. Decided not to care.
  • Cleared some room in the strawberry patch for the last, somewhat stunted, tomato seedling to do more location experimenting.
  • Sowed arugula and lettuce in shallow containers where they will get half day, morning sun.
  • Pulled some baby morning glories and other obvious intruders.
  • Took tons of pictures.

In short order, moping flipped to optimistic musing. While nibbling a microgreens sandwich in the cool shade of the apple tree,  I dreamed and schemed about what to tackle next. Lunch over, I went back upstairs,  grateful for the freedom to work with dirt encrusted fingernails.Apple tree: 5/11/14

Apple tree: 5/11/14

*One of the benefits of blogging is that I work harder to answer my questions. Here is some guidance on harvesting spinach. I also learned about Malabar spinach which thrives in mid-summer. It’s not really a spinach, but has similar qualities. Maybe I should add it to my aspirational mountain of seeds.

**A friend gave me some Cardinal Climbers almost ten years ago. I will never forget seeing a hummingbird in our back yard that fall, and I am sure it was attracted by this vine. I was gifted some seeds by Karen, my gardening guru, and tried to germinate them this spring. The story of nicking and soaking is up next.

Ipomoea x multifida