Sunday, August 14, 2005

Expectant pause

It's still the down time right now, waiting for things to produce and die. I've picked a few small tomatos at home, but that's about it. Waiting waiting waiting.

Also, I'm getting ready to sew seeds for fall crops, but I've put it off 'cause it's so hot and I'm not looking forward to all of the watering I'll have to do for the seedlings.

At Caruthers, my fence sunflowers are coming into full bloom, and they look very nice. It all worked out more or less as planned, which is quite satisfying. I've cleared some other spots around the yard for a late season planting of larger sunflowers. Hope they do as well as last year!

Otherwise, not a lot to report. Just waiting.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

End of beans

Not actually sure when I did this, but at Reed...

I pulled out all of the rangeybed of miscelaneous beans and cleared the plot. Someone had come along and taken all of my scarlet runner beans. The fuckers! Somebody also decided to dig up my *decorative* elephant garlics to get bulbs, I guess. Since I let them go to flower, there were none of any size and they just threw down to plants where they yanked them out. Fuckers fuckers fuckers! I mean really, digging something up is going way beyond sneaking off with a tomato or two.

In the place where I'd previously had the red potatos and right next to it the compost heap, I cleared away everything and made a large, well composted plot. The compost holder was moved to the rangey bean plot. It gets the least light and casts the least shade over there; so that's a better spot for it anyway.

All told, it was a lot of work, but with rewards. I found four more red potatos that I'd missed before, and I dug out a huge mound of beautiful compost for my new bed of greens.

Mystery squash
My delicata squashes are not what I expected. The plants have gone crazy and are taking over the world, but the fruits they are producing are clearly mixed with something else, maybe small pumpkins from the look of them, which might prove tasty. Nonetheless, it's going to be an interesting dining experiment whenever they're finally ready.

I have only a small, struggling row of everbearing raspberries, but they reliably produce a few berries every time I go to the garden. I've started collecting them in one container in the freezer, and I'm sure I'll end up with enough for a desert eventually.

It's full-on blackberry season. I've already picked about 3/4 of a gallon, and eaten plenty as well. So good! It's prickly, time consuming work though. Still, I'm determined to get enough for jam this year.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Autumn garden prep... Already!

Well, yesterday at Reed I watered a lot, and in the time between moving the hose, I pulled out all of the arugula plot, weeded it & some others, and picked a large bag full of white bean pods in the bed where I'd thrown the seeds earlier and then forgot about them. Later, I sat on the porch in the warm evening air and shelled beans, just like I used to do at my grandparents' house in the Georgia countryside when I was a kid. Shelling beans is a very zen activity, and it makes me wonder why all farmers aren't infinitely wise.

The clearing of the plots was in preparation for puting in my fall crops! Already! Jesus, time flies. I'm mostly planning on greens, such as collards, more turnips, kale, chard, but I might go for some root vegetables as well. Carrots? Potatos? Don't know how well those would work. I might also try brussel sprouts, since I like them, and they like the cold.

Also going on at the garden, I picked the last of the snow peas last week, but I'm leaving some on the vine to fully mature. I want to get some seeds out of them. They did so incredibly well, I want to grow more next year.

The delicata & acorn squashes are off like gangbusters. In just a couple of weeks, they;ve transformed from struggling seedlings to voracious spreading vines. They're also covered with small beginning fruits. Very exciting!

All of the tomatos are full of fruits and nearing ripeness.

My pattypan squash & zucchini are getting large & will hopefully produce soon.

In the same bed where the white beans grew, there are many of what I think are scarlet runner beans, which are, like, purple & red mottled pinto type beans--nice to look at. Lots of pods almost ready to pull.

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