Wednesday, July 27, 2005

45 pounds of blueberries

My roomate Elle has a friend, Amanda, who lives on a blueberry farm just outside of the city. Amanda came to our White Trash party and then invited us to pick berries out at her place. We responded with wholehearted enthusiasm.

Long story short, four of us went out to the farm and in an hour picked about 45 pounds of blueberries! That was only about six plants worth of berries too! They were hanging in big fat bunches like grapes. Beautiful. "Blue Crop" was the variety.

Anyway, it's blueberry season, in case you didn't gather from my story. Coming very soon: blackberry season. Can't wait.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

1st sunflower

I've got my first sunflower blooming right now in the sideyard. Took long enough! But at least it got here in time for the White Trash party.

Also looks like my first tomatos are ripening at Caruthers Street. Otherwise, just more blooming and growing there.

At Reed, I dug the last of my red potatos about two days ago. I got, maybe, 5-7 pounds of beautiful, smooth, thin skinned red spuds. Picked more snowpeas, which seems to never stop giving. While there, for the sake of neatness, I dug out the three old kales.

Glads & Garlic
My elephant garlics have all bloomed and the floral orbs are huge. I cut two of them to take home. Also, the mystery bulbs bloomed finally, and they're gladiolas, which I suspected. Yellow. Very pretty. I cut the two stalks that had bloomed and took those home as well.

Monday, July 18, 2005


I've been looking around town for fruit in public places to pick. There's a lot of that kind of thing here. All of these older houses have apple or cherry or pear trees around them that some previous owner planted, and every year, the fruit just falls to the ground, uneaten. It's rare that I pick anything from in front of somebody's house, since it's in an ethical gray area, though legally speaking it's in the public right of way and not on their property (just FYI). Mainly, I look around at the public parks.

Right now, I see figs forming all over town, halfway full. The blackberries at Mount Tabor are blooming and setting fruit, though none of them are anywhere near ripe yet. Same with the apple trees. The pears that I used for pear butter (three little trees in an industrial area, next to the sidewalk, beside a glass factory) last year in are full of small fruits. It'll be another bumper crop. Unfortunately, the pears at Mount Tabor seem to be MIA. Still, it looks like another year of frenzied fall canning. Can't wait!

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Guerilla Garden annex

There's a little edge of parched earth along our fence in the parking lot next door, which is for a bar. Every so often, a landscaping crew of young Mexicans comes along to mow the grass and kill weeds. So far "weeds" has included a lot of what I have planted in the little dry strip. However, a three foot stretch of calendulas has been allowed to survive, and they are large, healthy, and in full bloom.

Yesterday, I quickly executed my next horticultural intervention. I stuck in a row of comfreys that I dug out of my garden at Reed, where they grow quite agressively as a weed. As long as there's some root left, there's no getting rid of comfrey, and that's why I chose it for the Guerrilla Garden anex. I also laid down a scavenged soaker/drip hose to ensure success. When they start looking nice, I'll maybe take some pictures and post them.

Here's more about comfrey:

a good comfrey picture

Info from

More info from the Alternative Field Crops Manual

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

End of an era

Picked the last of the turnips today. They just kept on giving til they couldn't give no more. I'll probably be planting more for the fall/winter.

Now I have several empty spots in the garden. They'll be saved for winter veggies, like kale, chard, turnips, potatos, collards, whatever.

Also dug out some troublesome comfrey plants to plant in the parking lot next to my house. I've been cutting them down for three summers and they just keep coming back. They'll be perfect for a harsh environment.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Caruthers ICU

Thyme saved
I soaked some rescued thymes from the community garden in buckets of water, and most of them eventually came back to life. Several of them were just decorative varieties, rather than culinary. I planted attractive pairs in some large flower pots in front of the house, with a purple oregano/furry thyme combo, a Wedgewood (culinary) thyme & golden (decorative) thyme combo, and an English (culinary) thyme all alone to give to Evan. One Mother-of-Thyme plant, a groundcover, was put in the ground in the median strip next to my cannas.

I soaked some spelt berries from the grocery store, and as they began to sprout, I cast them in three large, unused beds in the shadier spots of the yard. I'm hoping for interesting fall foliage. They're where I previously put the amaranth, coleus, and other sunflower seeds, all of which refused to sprout in the extended cool weather.

Reproductive cycles
Practically everything is either blooming or producing seeds right now. The purple cosmos are in full bloom, as are the wild carrots. The nasturtiums are forming fat seed pods, the cannas too, and the little blue mystery flowers that I put in the copper kettle are going to seed too. Sadly, they have stopped flowering.

Monday, July 11, 2005

just updates

At Reed...

-pulled more Turnips & snow peas
-Arugulas are developing interesting bean-like seed pods
-red potatos are dying off, possible from sickness, possibly because it's time to dig them out
-there were a few raspberries, as usual
-elephant garlics are in full bloom
-the mystery red beans are forming large pods
-the acorn & delicata squashes have suddenly taken off and are huge
-roma tomatos are coming in well

Despite the fact that every year people have more zucchini than they can handle, I bought and put in another one. It was a "black beauty" from Wildcat Mountain Farm.

Also put in a regular thyme in the herb & perennial bed. It was a seedling that was abandoned by another gardener here, who bought two trays of expensive organic vegetable & herb starts, then left them to die in the sun for the last couple of months. Finally, after they were almost all dead, I picked up a few struggling survivors and set them out. I prefer to think of it as horticultural rescue, rather than theft.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Drowning in turnips, dreaming of spelt

The last couple of times I've been to my garden at Reed this week, I've just been harvesting. More Turnips, more turnip greens, more snow peas. Nothing else to report.

My home garden at Caruthers is a flower fest. Everything is coming in beautifully. Yesterday, I planted some sprouted spelt, hoping that come fall, I'll have amber waves of grain. I think people plant winter rye for the beneficial effect on the soil; so maybe this'll work the same way.