Tuesday, October 28, 2008

onions & potatoes

onions & potatoes, originally uploaded by Margo and George.

I meant to get a photo of these up sooner, but it took me a while to catch up on my photo-taking. These are some of the onions (red) and potatoes (red, white [russets? idahoes?] and 'peruvian' blue/purple) - all from my garden! Yum! Very exciting to find them after my strange summer.

Plum Island trek

Plum Island, originally uploaded by Margo and George.

So, this is what I got up to on the Saturday this past weekend. I have always meant to head up to Plum Island, which is a national wildlife refuge (largely bird conservation: it's on the migratory path and is a ~6 or 7 mile long island off the coast of northern Massachusetts). Normally, I like to visit the Crane beaches alongside the Crane estate in Ipswich, which is directly across the water, facing Plum Island, on the mainland. Saturday, I got curious and relatively ambitious, and kept driving north. I should have been able to take Route 1A, but as it turned out, last year's spring floodwaters washed out the Parker River bridge. I had to find my way over from the detour point to Route 1, and from there look for signs that might direct me back. Eventually I made it onto the one road that leads onto the island. A helpful billboard on the side of a barn-like building warned me in foot-high letters that there is "NO EVACUATION." I pondered this for only a few moments until I crossed the bridge and saw that in the fairly limited amount of non-U.S. Fish & Wildlife-owned land, there were the inevitable array of summer cottages, deserted because of the season, of course. I also recall that nearby there is a lone nuclear power plant. Yeah. I get it now. So I kept on going, and took the only right turn I think I could have taken, and paid my $5 at the ranger station, and went all the way down. There are about 6 miles of beach you can wander, and it's lovely, pristine, and quiet. Sadly for me, it was a very windy day, the water was very choppy, and rain clouds were approaching. I stayed for a while to watch egrets feed in the salt marsh on the lee side of the island, and saw some tiny little terns (I think) racing around in one egret's company. Eventually I gave it up because of the wind, but I think I'll have to trek up here again. It really is lovely, and I was surprised how many people were on the island doing the same thing I was - enjoying the outdoors one last time before the weather turns on us.

inside the cold frame

inside the cold frame, originally uploaded by Margo and George.

So, it seems that my little transplanted rosemary plant objects strenuously to being moved. It appears to have root shock. I coddled it as best I could with some water and TLC but it looks dicey, even though I moved it "indoors" in order to protect it from the inevitable frost. The geraniums at least are happy, and as I said before, the hornets have made a home in the stone wall over there. They didn't bother with me quite as much this weekend, happily. Also, the worms (big night-crawler variety) seem to be happy in their new home.

"Snow, north."

According to the old farmer's almanac...that's what's predicted for this week. On the other hand, the weather forecast locally keeps indicating that Sunday is my best day for finishing up with the various tucking in and stabilizing of the cold-frame over at the old garden plot. Happily I scored some plexiglass from the junk pile so I can secure some of the drafts.

Still, what with reports from the Vermont and Maine contingents, snow is indeed happening, north. Frost is happening south and west. I guess we're in for it shortly. I could really do with a little more October, though - crispy leaves, bright reds, yellows, oranges, and shades of purple and pink as well in the leaves. It's been a great foliage season for color, if a short season.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Rescuing the Geraniums

Sunday was garden-day, once more. Fortunately we had nice warm-ish weather, and the threatened rain held off; it kept a steady ~58* F most of the day with patchy sun. Not bad to work in at all.

So, I cropped the rest of the tall weeds and uprooted them, leaving a big hay-stack of ex-weeds lying atop one of my beds. I haven't quite finished marking out those plants that I want to protect a little for their winter nap - several members of the herb-garden family, that is.

I moved the rosemary and a surprise tomato plant (still alive? it's a mystery) but nevertheless, I moved it "inside" to the makeshift coldframe.
Very makeshift, as you can see from the photo, but I think I may get away with it, or at least I'm willing to give it a go.

I used a couple spare screen windows that I found in the junk to frame up one wall - filled with all the rocks that my plot seems to propagate so well. I figure, it's thermal mass! I'm also planning on using water-filled jugs as additional solar heat collectors.

So far, however, one of my other rock-walls has harbored a nest of either hornets or ground-wasps - not sure which, and it doesn't matter so much except that of course, they think I'm the enemy. This is problematic, as I have nothing against my striped winged friends, except of course that while they keep my scented geraniums company, they also get upset when I go in the coldframe to tend or add plants. And they sting. We're at an impasse, and I'm hoping that with the onset of colder temperatures, they'll go dormant or something. I have to admit, I've forgotten what they do to overwinter. I don't want to evict them, but I also have no desire to get all kinds of welts from their stingers. Ow. So...one dilemma at a time. Next dilemma is how I should go about filling in the odd-spaces - probably sheet-plastic.

While weeding and moving the rocks around, I also discovered a huge fuzzy black caterpillar, interesting enough to almost make me go find a bug-book to look him (her?) up to see what kind of wings it'll have when it's no longer a caterpillar.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A Ruckus in the Bracken

Columbus day weekend we finally got a break in the weather; some warm, sunny weather each day, so I headed up to the beach with a book and my knitting to enjoy the sand and the Atlantic while it wasn't too windy yet. By November it will be rainy and windy and chilly, so this was a real blessing. On Saturday it was so still that there were plenty of birds and it was really quiet. I took a different path down the back side of the hill towards the upriver side of the beach, and enjoyed walking through the saltmarsh. Low tide, I found a spot on a nice sandbar with a little slope, wandered around looking at funny footprints of various critters (not only seagulls, but other birds, as well as lizards, snakes and marks made by the dune grasses as they twirled in the breezes, making faint circles in the sand). Read a Murakami book, "After Dark" - a nice break from the other stuff I've been reading lately. Purely fictional and speculative, thoughtful and slow-paced.

On the walk back up the path, near sunset, I managed to startle a group of deer in the underbrush - I couldn't see them but the sound of their hooves in retreat and all the crashing through the thick bracken was unmistakable.

Returned on Sunday, a little earlier in the day - got a fair amount of knitting done and finished the Murakami, but had to retreat a little further up the beach: there was a wedding going on at the Castle Hill estate, and the party was impressively loud for 1pm - I couldn't believe the sound of their voices alone would carry that far, and they were only a bunch of twenty-somethings playing volleyball on the beach! - still, it was scaring away the usual wildlife. No deer today, clearly. Just to clarify based on earlier discussions...: Deer in the woodlands and the saltmarsh are wildlife; deer in my garden (or yours) are edible pests.

Monday was a little overcast, so I declared it domestic catch-up day. Laundry and gardening, mostly gardening. Lots of weeding to do, as I'd neglected the garden plot once the rains, lightning storms, and various family and personal commitments had conspired to keep me away from the garden...okay I just plain neglected it: what with one thing and another, week by week, I'm realizing it really isn't that easy to get over to the garden plot, as it's > 1mile away from where I live, and if I don't take the longer commute-route home...or if it's dark when I leave the office...I've been learning how many things can be obstacles to getting in decent garden time. Including forgetting to bring jeans & a tee shirt (can't garden in heels and slacks. not so much anyway.) And then past a certain point, there's no point planting hot-weather crops in...early August! Plant biology is flexible, but not that flexible.

Instead, on Monday I opted to weed, put some of the garden to bed, prepping the beds for next spring, and transplanting some of my tender plants to a location where I reconstructed my haphazard little cold frame made of lots of scrap windows. Hurray for junk-day! I have so many stones, that I've started constructing a wall of stones to retain heat and it's leaning against a pair of scrap screen-windows. In theory, this will provide both thermal insulation and a little necessary ventilation. We'll see - it's all an experiment, but hopefully I'll get away with it.

In the process of digging up the various beds, weeding, and general maintenance, I was excited to find not only vigorous earthworms, but a tiny garlic bulb, a cucumber, 7 red onions, and a whole bucketful of various types of potatoes! The Peruvian blues (purple potatoes) and also red potatoes, and some white fingerling looking potatoes, but for all I know they could be russets, but the skins on these look too thin. At any rate I found so many that I was able to bring home a bunch, gift some to mum, and plant a bed for next year as well. Very exciting stuff, for me at least. Plus my herb garden has largely soldiered on bravely through the weed invasion. That bodes well, as next year I plan on planting more herbs and leaf-bearing plants, and fewer veggies, the better to avoid the temptation of the jerks who've broken into our garden plot this year to rifle through the Duchess' tupperware tool bin and steal fertilizer and other easily portable goods, leaving big footprints in her planting beds along the way. Unbelievable, when you think about it, but apparently quite common (!) that people would break in through a fence just to steal vegetables. And mind you, Belmont is not, repeat NOT, a low-rent district, so it's not as though anyone in the neighborhood has any trouble putting food on the table. So, there's my little rant. Apparently though, it's been going on a long time, and happens to community gardeners the world over, according to some of the books I've read.

Still, I'm excited about the potatoes, and finally feeling enthused about gardening again - the rain for some reason had really discouraged me this summer. I like cool weather gardening though, and I enjoy meeting people at the community garden. Monday I met a woman who's focused her garden on medicinal herbs; she teaches about herbalism in Boston and we had a great conversation about uses and misunderstandings of herbal remedies, lichens, plants, mushrooms, bees, western and eastern medicine, and so on. So, I'll be back at the community garden plot in the spring, and maintaining it off & on through the cold season, in spite of my frustrations this summer.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

In spite of weeds, some vegetables survived!

Seriously, I brought the secateurs, warned by the humor with which my friend the Duchess of 78A had queried just *how long* it had been since I'd succeeded in getting some garden time...I should have brought a machete. I kid you not, the weeds - in particular the 'fat hen,' milkweed, and yellow foxtail grass were as tall as I am. Sadly, I am not one of the more diminutive examples of my gender, so those grasses were tall. I should have taken photos, but I was on a mission {"...Must. Clear. Weeds..."}, and honestly although I am willing to admit that the sad state to which my garden has fallen is due solely to my neglect, I don't particularly wish to immortalize the image. It's just rather sad. Daunting, actually.

So, I hacked at quite a bit for quite a while, first to just clear a path to the compost bin, hoping to dump my compost, at least, before the purple-grey rumbling cloud of doom looming over the treeline let loose its load of rain and lightning. I managed to drop off the compost, at last, and then did an inventory of the remaining, surviving plants that had at least tolerated the unfair competition from the weeds. The herb garden soldiered on, bravely, considering their relative size. I got a nice bouquet garni from there to take home. The raspberries? "Weeds? What weeds. We have thorns and big canes and big leaves. Pah!" So I ate a few raspberries and moved on.

The potato plants presented a mystery: where'd those beautiful plants go? Damrosch talks about "beautiful flowers" - clearly I had not only missed the blooming (must have happened pretty quickly) but the entire bloom and fade cycle, as not only were there no flowers, there were indeed no remaining plants. Really. A meticulous search of the two beds where in the spring I had gathered them revealed not a trace - not even a leant-over faded corpse of a plant. Nothing. In fact there weren't even any obvious places where the stump of, say, an eaten plant had been, leaving a small hole to the root structure.

Puzzled, I got out the gardening fork. I started digging, tentatively at first, to loosen the soil and explore what might have gone on down there. Finally I gave in and started pawing through the earth with my hands. I discovered 3 reassuring things: 1, that the soil is and remains a good velvety black, and loose (not packed); 2, that big fat earthworms have been happily maintaining things under ground (thanks Loly Worm!) and 3, that in spite of the distinct absence of above-ground plants, I have beautiful, glorious purple potatoes. I harvested a bunch from one section, and will go in search of more this weekend. Hooray! They're so shiny and purple, I'll have to include a photo. Later.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

I feel famous!

tiny handknit gift stockings, originally uploaded by fOllyfOliO.

I feel famous! Follyfolio decided to use the little pollinator-bee house I gave her as a prop in a recent photo of her creations.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

In spite of the rain...

Well, in spite of all the rain and lightning-storms we had while we were up camping at Acadia National Park in Maine, I must report that we did have a restful vacation. Maybe more restful since we simply couldn't attempt any hikes (again, the lightning...).

So, instead, we discovered a lot of little local fun: a local farmer's market in Southwest Harbor, where we picked up yummy local eggs, bacon, sausages, bread, chevre cheese with chipotle and herbs, raspberry jam, an assortment of edible flowers (mostly nasturtium) and a handful of fresh basil...you get the idea.

My hiking buddy also adopted a begonia, which I imagine has flourished in its new home. I discovered and bought a friend a little wooden "house" for pollinating bees. This was all part of a local weekend-long "Quietside Flamingo Festival" that raises funds for a community center in the town, the Harbor House.

We tended to have some sunshine mixed in with the cloud banks during the day, so we developed a regular routine: while it was briefly sunny before returning to its overcast preface to the evening-thunderstorms, we would find a good spot to cook over a campfire. The national park nicely provides a number of places with fire-rings that have built in grills. Handy, that: we'd make a late brunch with our food-schwag, and maybe drink some of the wine (had to pick up some more of the local blackberry wine, *yum* - thank you Bartlett Maine Estate Winery).

Then we'd catch maybe a couple sunny hours with rough surf conditions at the one sand beach on the island (can you say riptide? never mind. We had fun diving into the waves.) Then we'd cook again, and if it rained we'd head into town: there were a couple movie theatres, one of which serves fresh-baked pizza and wine. (You notice the recurring theme here?)

Normally, when I go hiking/camping, it's all about the outdoors. This time around, though, the weather really dictated what we could and couldn't do. So why be miserable? We got our first real taste of what the sky had in store on the first night: we discovered the hard way that our tents had been located precisely in the middle of a slight low spot in the campsite pad: in the deluge, which was sudden and heavy enough to have drowned our roaring fire, we realized if we didn't rescue our things from the tents quickly, we'd end up in a flood. We raced our things to the refuge of the car, and hung our sleeping bags up by the internal "clotheslines" we'd each set up - originally intended for our washcloths. It worked well enough, as we didn't end up with wet bedding. Still, if we hadn't acted fast, we would have been drenched: there was between 1 and 2 inches of water in/under the front two feet of each of our tents.

We knew we weren't going to be able to make a fire to cook, so we headed off in search of a Mexican place we'd seen and been curious to try: XYZ (Xalapa, Yucatan, Zacatecas) in Manset. Dinner was delicious, and the panic of the flood was eased by a nice pitcher of sangria. Their mole sauce is fantastic, the fresh bread and spicy sauces (it wasn't your usual salsa verde, it was two different sauces, herbal, spicy, tangy...), and everything was really fresh and unbelievably good.

Not such a bad vacation.

Camp food: We also figured out that we really liked having yogurt with granola in the morning. One morning we forgot to pick ourselves up some yogurt, so I realized I could make custard over the fire. Very exciting moment - which probably sounds foolish, but of course when you cook over a wood fire, you often have a teensy weensy temperature problem. That is, it tends to get very hot, very fast. I took more care with the coals, and fed the fire with small twigs to keep the heat under control, and managed not to singe the custard. I was so psyched that it came out perfectly, no lumps or anything, and it was dee-lish.

Now I have to face the overgrown garden. I'm somewhat in denial about dealing with it. I think my solution is just to plan the cold-weather crops, and see what I can salvage from what's survived in spite of the rains down here in Mass. I'll let you know.

Solutions for the Urban Gardener: Hothouse on Wheels

hothouse on wheels, originally uploaded by fOllyfOliO.

Now why didn't I think of this?

A local farm, the Codman Community Farm, owns (and presumably constructed) this rolling greenhouse. Now if I had one, not only could I safely park it in my apartment parking lot, but move it according to the sun as it moves around during the year!

Thanks to follyfolio for bringing this to my attention.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Gone Hiking!

Well, hopefully the garden will survive another week of neglect and weed-jungledom, because I'm heading up to Maine to hike and pick blueberries and sit on the beach. Yes, there is *one* sand beach on an otherwise rocky island, not that I object to rocks, klinker, or 50F degree Atlantic water. It didn't stop me as a kid, and it won't keep me from swimming now!

Thanks once more to the Duchess of 78A for agreeing to water my forlorn tomato plants. Goodness knows the potatoes seem to be thriving in spite of my neglect, as are the raspberries!

See you all in a week, barring a rainy day that allows me to post from the island's library...but I admit that's not terribly likely. :)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Stealthy cucumbers

cucumber plant..., originally uploaded by Margo and George.

I just realized I have a tiny little cucumber developing, in spite of having been neglected, and shaded by the surrounding potato plants. I'm so hopeful!

What I do when I can't get to the garden...

cable knits..., originally uploaded by Margo and George.

It's true, I knit.

Since we've had so much rain over the past month, and because my community garden plot is over a mile away (I do not have the luxury of gardening chez moi), I've been having a long-term lesson in what can happen when every window of opportunity one has to get to the garden (post-work on weekdays, around other commitments on weekends) - well, I kept getting thunder and lightning and rained out. At least the plants got plenty of watering...

At least with the knitting, by the time I'm done I'll have something nifty to wear. Plus, I'm discovering that they're coming out with some really great soy/cotton, linen/cotton, bamboo/cotton blends that work well and wear well. And my wool sweater will be done (finally) in time for autumn. I'm learning more as well about the different types of wool that are being developed - think of it as the homespun / hand-dyed analog to gardening's heirloom varieties. Some of the hybrids of sheep, of goats, and even of the camel family, are being slowly developed down in Australia and New Zealand. Hmm... a friend of mine kindly offered to hunt down some samples...Hooray! Happy yarn dance!

For now, however, it's too hot to have a big hunk of wool in my lap. I'll stick to linen & cotton mixes until it cools off.

borage flowers

borage flowers, originally uploaded by Margo and George.

I'm too embarrassed at how overgrown my garden got while I was preoccupied with other things, so instead I will post these borage flowers and hope you don't notice! Ha!

Being serious once more, I really love borage flowers, because they shade from that beautiful muted blue, through lavender, to the only shade of pink I can tolerate. Just lovely, and spikey too! I admire plants with thorns - although technically the fuzz on the borage plants are not thorns - given the sheer mass of my borage plot, they amount to thorns at this stage of the game. All sight of other plants in that little bed are hidden beneath all those cucumbery-scented leaves. I can only hope Theo the toad is hiding safely under there.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

This blog not equipped with Smell-o-vision, sadly

It's been a complicated month, starting with a complicated couple of weeks, what with helping my mom with her medical difficulties (she's doing well now, and resting). Over the second weekend, I stayed at my mother's to be available to help, and we had some quiet time; we also got some rain - which gave me the opportunity to re-experience the wonderful aroma that the ferns on the east side of mother's house give off after the rain showers. It made me realize that that's what I think of as what green smells like. Should green have a smell? I think so, and that's one of the smells, associated with the evening calls of robins. I should have taken a photo, but didn't think of it at the time.

I have since, however, become somewhat annoyed with the perversity of this month's precipitation. Every single window of opportunity that I had to get to the garden, I got rained out - no, not merely rained out, but thunderstorm-and-lightninged out. Did I mention the garden's on rolling terrain, in a meadow? So - not necessarily the smartest place to be during a lightning storm. Also, quite annoying for the seeds: it's not exactly smart to try to plant seeds in running mud, or into soil that's about to be pelted with big heavy drops so that they'll splash right out again. *PLOOSH*


Okay, so in the department of "making lemonade cause you got lemons" - I have been learning about all the nifty edible weeds that grow in my garden, instead of growing other plants I had been planning ... Photos to follow, but basically I've been making salads or stir-fries from the purslane, pigweed, and fat hen growing in the garden. Hey, I'm predating on the invasive species, what? :) Oh, and that's just one more use for that Sara Stein book. Ha!

Also, I still plan on getting seeds into the ground, and I hope my tomatoes and a couple zucchini seedlings that I was given have somehow prevailed, in spite of the vagaries of the weather. I will enjoy the cold-weather crops (more spinach and radishes - and hey! I have so many potatoes to look forward to!!!)

So thank you for enduring my unintended hiatus. Mum's doing well and we just had a family visit this weekend in Maine, chez Aunt and Uncle; who also nicely gifted us each with a couple of plants (again, photos to follow). Thanks!!!

Since I haven't been able to garden, at least I've been able to knit. A friend recommended I get involved in ravelry.com - a knitting and crochet enthusiast site that's in beta testing. Lots of fun - but addictive! Still, if you've been checking my Flickr feed and wondering why the heck there were so many photos of yarn and knitting instead of plants...now you have your answer.

I hope now to return to my regularly scheduled gardening, blogging, and maybe now I'll have to include a little knitting. That's the update, thanks for your patience, and now if the weather will just cooperate...

Friday, June 13, 2008

Weeding until dark

So, I managed to get over to the garden plot to take another shot at weeding, and to pull some of the now truly invasive raspberry canes that have popped up in random locations outside their designated allotment.
Happily, they are going to a good home. Those too mangled in the process of uprooting went on the compost pile with the weeds. And there were a lot of weeds. The mullein is now very tall, and the herb garden - though seemingly drowned out by all the crabgrass and mysterious little weeds as well as the sneaky convolvulus that pops up everywhere and tries to twine its way around something ("oh, I'm so well twined in here, you wouldn't *dare* try to pull me off, it might hurt your plant!" "oh you're history. I'm patient and you, are compost!")

Much weeding was done, and I used some rope to hold back the allotted raspberry canes for now, until I have the necessary strength to do a proper job with the wire and tensioners that the Duchess of 78A procured. The mosquitoes were once again out in force, so I made use of the inadvertently abandoned (since it was largely unnecessary during the hiking trip) canister of bug spray, brought by Chiquitita. Thanks! I didn't think to return to the car to use it the first night I was out around 8pm, and my hands, forearms, and ankles are just covered. >gggghh<

The potatoes are also thriving, so that's encouraging. Looks like it'll be a good weekend for gardening. Now, I must go to bed.

It's not my fault...

Katie over at gardenpunks got me sucked into this travel map thang. man!!!
Seriously I'm a sucker for maps, so here's mine. I still hope to fill in more. Maybe Vancouver, Montreal/Quebec and Alaska for starters...

Thursday, June 12, 2008

There's a resident garter snake!

...and he's fast. I just caught sight of him slithering into the shelter of the now-towering raspberry canes. He deserves a name too, but since I didn't see him, it's hard to name him as I didn't properly see him. The name 'Sam' has been suggested, and I think I'll let the issue ride for a while to see how it works on him. :)

Sadly, no photo: he was far too quick slithering under cover for me to even think to reach for my camera, let alone snap a photo.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Birthday salad

mesclun greens, purslane
arugula and mint
lettuce and borage

emails and meetings
miscommunication, oops
still, celebration.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

weeds have taken over; or mea culpa, mea maxima culpa

weeds have taken over, originally uploaded by Margo and George.

I think this shot says it all. At least the potatoes are running amok too, and seemingly outcompeting the weeds, if that's possible? Not that I'm complaining about that, being a great fan of potatoes. Even better, I inherited these freebies - which is also why they're popping up unexpectedly in beds I'd thought I'd cleared...oh well. I guess I'll make other plans for that bed...that include potatoes.

Still, it was quite a jungle, and I need to get in there again - I had to sound the retreat sooner than I'd prefer, because the mosquitoes were simply out in force, dive-bombing me and doing a spectacular job of it.

At least I could splash some cold water on me - it had cooled down significantly from daytime, but was still muggy and warm. Back tomorrow!

herb garden, with weeds

herb garden, with weeds, originally uploaded by Margo and George.

Well, it's nice/reassuring to know that at least most of the herbs withstood the onslaught pretty well. Look at the dill and chamomile! Mint, simply needs no comments. It's certainly not the blushing bride of the herb garden... still - I had to yank a lot of crabgrass and other things with purple splotches that I've never known the name of, but that aren't edible, nor do they provide a nice flower or nice scent, so...Yank!!!!

weeds run amok

June1008 024, originally uploaded by Margo and George.

and critters. I see that someone, I say someone with four feet nibbled my peas right off at the middle! varmints!!! Plus because I went away and then didn't brave the garden to tend it properly over this 90sF weekend, naturally, the weeds ran amok and the mosquitos, naturally, think they own the place too.

and for my friends who work in IT and threaten dire events all the time...

Razors pain you;
Rivers are damp;
Acids stain you;
And drugs cause cramp.
Guns aren't lawful;
Nooses give;
Gas smells awful;
You might as well live.

--- Dorothy Parker

for ilex

angry camel, originally uploaded by Margo and George.

If Herman the frog is the heart of "Whatev" - camels are the soul of disdain.
(btw, the original statue can be found in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC)

Monday, June 9, 2008

bladderwrack and klinker

bladderwrack and klinker, originally uploaded by Margo and George.

Should have brought a bag of this stuff back for mulch. dangit.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Haiku for a Saturday night...

"Autumn Moon":

Beneath the full moon of autumn,
my neighbor plays his flute
out of tune.

Ozaki Kôyô

mesclun greens, about to bolt

So, clearly I'll have to nab the mesclun greens for a lunch tomorrow: they're close to bolting, what with the abrupt heat we've had. I was visiting with my aunt today, and was happy to be able to not only show off my garden, but also hand along some of the fat radishes that came up. All in all, a good day!

Hopefully, tomorrow will bring some before & after weeding photos; as well as put my (belated) seeds into the ground. It's been raining ever since I came back, and now today was...hot and muggy. :/

french breakfast radishes

I was so psyched to find these - in spite of the fact that my garden - whilst I was away hiking - had not only grown like mad, but in fact had become overgrown with weeds. Looks like early tomorrow morning, before it gets so hot (today was in the 90s) I'll be packing a thermos of coffee and heading over to garden land for a little weeding.

But not before a nice breakfast of radishes and eggs, num num!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Evil deer...

Evil deer..., originally uploaded by Margo and George.

Maine has evil deer :)
Actually, I just thought it was hilarious that my attempt to take a quick shot of a small family of four deer while they strolled back under cover of the woods revealed only the reflective green eyes of one of them - and nothing else! I had to laugh, and share.

Obligatory Sunset photo

Obligatory Sunset photo, originally uploaded by Margo and George.

Voila! Here is my obligatory sunset / ocean photo from where we were sitting, reading our books, near Otter Cliffs.

...and after

After, originally uploaded by Margo and George.

Yes. I ate it all. All of it. I was very hungry. :)

Lobster dinner: before

Lobster dinner: before, originally uploaded by Margo and George.

Yes, after hiking 12 miles or so the day before, I earned this lobster lunch/dinner (yeah, it did serve as two meals in one) at Beal's Lobster pound.

alpine plants

June0408 110, originally uploaded by Margo and George.

See if you can pick out the: alpine cranberry, blueberry, alpine raspberry (I think), as well as the lichens and a couple other alpine plants. All of them crammed into a crevice between two boulders atop Mt. Cadillac.

Mr. Loon

Mr. Loon, originally uploaded by Margo and George.

Towards the end of what turned out to be a ~12 mile hike on Sunday, we got to see a loon fishing in/on Bubble pond.

flower-filled tarn

flower-filled tarn, originally uploaded by Margo and George.

This is to make up for the icky wood-tick photos from yesterday. This is from Sunday's hike up the South Face trail up Mt. Cadillac. It had rained all day on Saturday, and so all the little tarns were filled, as well as lots of flowers being in bloom. I don't know what the white ones were, but the purple appeared to be in the rhododendron family (although maybe they were technically azaleas...).

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

camp dinner, friday night

Friday gave us decent weather, but we were moving around the island, and later setting up our campsite at the Blackwoods campground.

Dinner was low-key: garlic bread (fresh garlic); pasta and tomato sauce, and grilled asparagus and mushrooms (all cooked over the campfire, thank you very much!) Granted, I brought a tablecloth this time, which for a picnic table is probably silly, but it was nice to have a "clean" surface to eat from, and then hang up on the line afterwards. It's not as snazzy as it looks though: it's a polyester thing I found on clearance at LinensNThings, ha ha.

Lichens, several spp.

Lichens, several spp., originally uploaded by Margo and George.

Acadia is incredible for its sheer number of lichen species growing on various substrates. I won't go on at length here about them, but suffice to say I've come to appreciate and be amazed by these fungi-alga (or -cyanobacteria) symbiotic relationships. They're amazing.

The large stringy type front and center in the photo is of the Usnea type (Usnea filipendula?); so named for its production of (antibacterial) usnic acid. Also, historically there has been a folk remedy associated with this particular lichen - that is, that wounds should be staunched using this particular lichen. While the morphology is actually very convenient (the long strands with tendrils resemble cotton bandage - and so might function the same way) it turns out usnic acid (which this species produces) has antibacterial properties. Each species produces its own chemical defenses; usnic acid is just one of the many, often unique, chemicals produced by individual lichen species.

Lichens are bioaccumulators - while they are slow-growing and incredibly tolerant of their specific environment (and lichens of one kind or another can be found all over the globe, from Antarctica to the American southwest deserts to Alaska and the Maritimes, rocky shorelines and the foggy Pacific Northwest forests...), they are self-sufficient in that their pairing of fungal and algal (or bacterial) partnership grants them respiration as well as photosynthesis, so they obtain what they need from the atmosphere and go dormant when there isn't enough moisture present - they cannot excrete. Therefore, they're good indicators of the presence of airborne pollutants - some species tolerate certain contaminants quite well, while others will die off when the pollutant ratio climbs past a certain point.

Acadia simply has an incredible array of species, and is the reason I became interested in learning about lichens at all.
For a quick survey and a *far* better array of photos than my own, go here: http://www.lichen.com/portraits.html Their text book, which I used for my class, is incredible.

Lady Slipper orchid

Lady Slipper orchid, originally uploaded by Margo and George.

detail of the lady slipper orchids

Lady Slippers

Lady Slippers, originally uploaded by Margo and George.

Okay, these are the orchids, more specifically the Lady Slipper orchids that I saw as we repacked from a brief stay at Seawall Campground in Acadia National Park. I've always camped at Seawall, but this time around we decided to stay at Blackwoods CG because it was closer to most of the trails we planned on hiking, etc. (Ah, the price of gas).

Well, we arrived quite late Thursday night, so we set up our tents in the dark, and had just - *just* gotten to bed and were drifting off when the 4am Official Town Meeting of the Birds of D Loop warmed up. They are incredible. I had the leisure to count some 20 different bird calls just in our little area. There may have been more, I'm just not that good of a birdwatcher. At any rate, they kept us up for a while longer until I personally passed out from exhaustion.

Wood ticks

Wood ticks, originally uploaded by Margo and George.

These, however, are in my book, "bad bugs" - they are wood ticks. And there are a lot of them in our garden meadow. Lots of them. After I took this shot (and you can tell my hands were shaking) I smashed these guys. Oh, the violence!

Charlotte's children

Charlotte's children, originally uploaded by Margo and George.

I would normally be freaked out by spiders, but I had to give these ones the time of day: they will, after all, be good "bugs" in that they are spider eggs, so far as I know, and will go out and eat bad bugs. So, instead of smooshing them, I took a photo instead.

Yay! early radishes

Yay! early radishes, originally uploaded by Margo and George.

So, it was fun doing some of the thinning of the rows, since I discovered some of the radishes had grown so enthusiastically that the rows needed thinning and I could actually eat some of what I thinned. And hey, they're all photogenic too.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Weekend Update

So, I've been scurrying around at work trying to finish up a few things to hand along before I take off for a long weekend. I'll be up in Maine in Acadia Nat'l Park, hiking with my buddy Chiquitita until Tuesday, so you won't hear from me until Wednesday at least. The "Duchess of 78A" has kindly offered to water my plants while I'm away, and Lunabelle's and Stella's Mom has offered to feed and water George. (thank you everyone!)

GardenPunks - Thank you again for your good wishes - I'm remaining optimistic about motorists' attitudes. And yes, I'm afraid my commute by bike is indeed 14.2 miles each way. Oh well. I have two bike shops and several snippets of bike path along the way. And like I said, killing two birds with one stone: cardio + less gasoline purchases in my budget and my footprint.

Thanks to everyone who's been commenting - more updates (and probably lots of photos from the hikes) to follow next week (or, more realistically, next weekend). Crossing my fingers for decent weather...

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Mad dogs and Englishmen...

So that was me, this weekend - I slept in as many mornings as I could. Why? Because weekends are for resting. And then heading out in the hottest part of the day to first walk your bike up a big , steep hill, so as to reach the garden on the other side of said hill, and hoe and dig in the garden during the hottest possible part of the day.

I must be mad...

All this while keeping an eye out for sneaky wood ticks. Ick! Unfortunately, ticks seem to be the one negative point to my otherwise very nice community garden. *shudders* I do hate ticks, I really do.

Still, it was a good weekend in the garden. I hauled some rocks of the right size into the middle of two of the beds, so that I could stand in the middle of the raised bed and weed or thin any plantings easily within reach, without losing as much growing space as I'd lose if I'd put a plank down instead. Still have to get going on the top part of the fence - our anti-woodchuck measures.

Asian seed varieties...

As recommended by a friend: we were talking about growing Asian varieties of vegetables, and I hadn't found any yet in my local Asian grocery markets, so she referred me to Kitazawa Seed company - looks good so far, and I've ordered a catalog. Hooray! Now, if I could just find someplace that offers that variety of spinach (?) that I used to eat in China, it was called 空心菜 "kong xin cai" or "hollow hearted vegetable" - it resembled spinach, but was long and tendrilly like pea shoots (also yummy in season) and I had it with garlic all the time.

I had found a few places that sold seeds, but they are in Canada, and bear the warning that apparently this member of the Convolvulus family (!), Ipomoea aquatica, although I know it's edible!, is considered a noxious, invasive species, and apparently is generally banned from importation without a license from the USDA. I know I've seen it at the Asian grocery markets, so I wondered what was going on.

Then I met another of my community garden neighbors, and she is in fact growing a bunch of asian varieties of veggies (yay!), as well as originally hailing from China herself. So, she explained that kongxincai is really difficult to grow from a seed anyway, and that I should do as she's doing, and grow it from a cutting, having first - not unlike bamboo - cultivated its roots in some water first. Also, it will need a lot of water (it prefers very wet soil - after all, it is 'water spinach'). So, clearly this is going to be a little while before I can grow it...plus I haven't seen any at the market recently. Patience, patience...

Oh well. For the moment I'll have to settle for making 土豆丝 tudousi - peppery julienned potatoes - with my new slicer gadget from Kotobukiya market.

Unexpected Hazards of Bike Commuting

This was not one of the perils I expected to encounter while commuting by bike.

When I decided to get launched back on the bike-commute thing, I had been more concerned with the relatively hostile mood of morning commuter motorists (a significant factor here in Mass.), as well as the condition of the roads along the way (major potholes as well as nifty storm-drains that aren't always 'grid' patterned but are instead horizontal slots - sometimes running in the direction of travel).

I was hoping to use more of the bike paths, but my route runs cross-wise to the general direction of most of the bike paths near me. Still, I have a couple routes chosen that at least use more 'secondary' or less-trafficked roads, with some shade, and it's working out alright. So far.

This morning though...
So, I'm riding along, and encounter two bumblebees having some kind of dogfight - right at eye-level for me, and I couldn't just go around: cars beside me, naturally.

What else to do?
and hope they don't end up *thwacking* down the back of my shirt, just to add to my difficulties.

I escaped unscathed, this time.
As one friend put it, can you imagine trying to explain this one at the emergency room?

Thursday, May 22, 2008

one little, two little, three little goslings...

Not that this has anything to do with gardening...well, no: I was walking in Boston's Fenway Community Gardens - and saw these guys with their veritable herd (not just a gaggle, a herd, okay?) of other goslings being minded by two obvious babysitters (since they couldn't *all* be from one set of parents).

These guys were wandering around, eating and making little funny wheezy whistly noises, and then abruptly all started crossing the dirt road. Then these three fools decided abruptly to sit down and groom. Clearly they weren't afraid of being shooed away or anything. They were cute, and I had to throw the photos up online.

radish seedlings

radish seedlings, originally uploaded by Margo and George.

Voila! the seedlings I thinned - why waste good seedlings? See the baby radish roots?

Bed #1 seedlings

Bed #1 seedlings, originally uploaded by Margo and George.

Yes, those are my gardening gloves - one pair at least - hung up to air out and rinse the dirt off. I'm so excited the seedlings are coming right up! From left: peas (two rows of sugar snap), then arugula, spinach, lettuce, radish (french breakfast variety), and mesclun greens. I thinned the radish row a little and got some yummy greens from it for dinner, I was so excited! Now I'm hoping that by Monday or so I'll have fresh salad greens.

Bed #2 seedlings

Bed #2 seedlings, originally uploaded by Margo and George.

Finally! Over the past few days, things have sprung up! I am pleased to report that in fact, the package and books don't lie - borage leaves do indeed smell like cucumber. Yummy! Sadly the sage in the center row is just struggling along behind all the others, but I still have hope. Borage on the outside looks strongest, radish rows on the next rows inward are looking health, as are the beet rows (next rows, moving inward).

Sunday, May 11, 2008

And on the eve of Bay State Bike Week,

...with the price of gas not quite $4/gallon, please take a peek at this recent article by the folks over at EcoGeek: 6 Stupidly Simple Steps to Saving Billions of Gallons of Gas
all the more reason to hit the road on a bike. Speaking of which, if you're in the Boston area (or curious about why we're so nuts about our roads) you may want to check out Bicycle Driving.

Mr. Toad: Quick Update

In haste, after a tiring but good weekend in the garden. Mr. Toad actually stayed on, and I found him once again while I was rearranging the garden mini-greenhouse made of storm windows. Apparently he likes my little makeshift stone walls that I've been building for the purpose of thermal mass. I made some extra stone walls, and hopefully he'll stay on and live in my garden! I was also told that you can encourage a toad to take up habitation by taking a cracked old clay pot that you've got (i.e., the crack should serve as a little doorway for him) and turn it upside down and leave it in a corner of your garden. I can always try. We'll see which he prefers: the stone walls or the clay pot!

Update: my co-workers and I have decided that if he stays, his name shall be Theo. :)

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Mr. Toad's formal portrait

Here he is, whether he was ready for his close-up or not. Poor thing, he was probably scared, but he took it very well. Afterwards, because I was afraid I would step on him while I was putting things away, I put him inside the little mini-greenhouse: when he made his way out, it would steer him into the corner of my plot rather in the center where he'd been.

Mr. Toad visits the Community Garden

EEEEEEP! I love frogs and toads, and I've missed seeing the tiny ones in particular. So today, as my mother was visiting the garden and I was digging up some of the many stray raspberry (or blackberry?) canes for her to take home, suddenly she says "Oh No! Be careful! A little hop toad! Right there!"
This is the part where I turn into an instant five-year-old, I love toads, and I was so excited.
So, naturally, this little update superseded any other updates I ought to be posting to this blog! but I can't help it.

Here is Mr. Toad in his natural element - and in scale. I managed to get a couple close-up shots of him (see next 'post'). Tiny little guy, I was afraid as I was cleaning up for the day I'd step on him, and he's a good little guy to have in your garden - some people say they're good luck, but they're just plain good: they eat bugs and beetles!!! So he's welcome in my garden patch any time.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Busy week...

It will probably be Saturday Tuesday before I'm able to catch up on posting. I've been very busy with work deadlines and other commitments this week. Sorry, and thanks to everyone who's been reading and commenting. I'll re-emerge soon!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Herb/rock garden, so far

Herb/rock garden, so far, originally uploaded by Margo and George.

So this was the trouble I got up to today. After breakfast with another gardening pal, we enabled each other at one of the local gardening stores. ("Hm, I thought it'd be nice to stop at the nursery today. Are you up for that?" "Oh please. Twist my arm." "Cool!") They had lots of spring perennials and herbs out, so in we went, or rather out, as most of their goods are outside in the rain.

I brought home two tri-color sages, a pineapple mint, an orange mint, an (ornamental, 'Dyers') chamomile, a dill ('fernleaf'), a thyme ('pink chintz'), rosemary ('pink flowering'), and an oriental poppy (Papaver orientale 'turkenlouis'). I'm saving room for some promised gift-strawberries, spearmint and I don't know what else. (Thanks mum! ) I was also warned by my mother on the phone that that poppy wants to be planted where I intend to keep it, as they don't take well to transplanting. Hm, good thing I already want to keep it at the back, stopping the tide of invading raspberry canes...

I also bought a set of red onions (*sigh* - 110 days to harvest? ) and a couple garlic shoots. While I was planting those (onino and garlic) in a separate bed, I found a number of leftover/orphaned potatoes from the gardener of several years ago (the plot had remained unworked for a couple years, apparently). They were sprouting, so I organized a row for them and made the onions, garlic and potatoes all neighbors. I have a faint feeling that I'm breaking some kind of companion planting rule there, but... well the potatoes were free, so if they fail, I won't cry about it. It's an experiment.

The Progress of the Rake

The Progress of the Rake, originally uploaded by Margo and George.

...but of course, as time passed, the Rake got a little tipsy, and lived up to his name. Nevertheless, in spite of the rain, a good time was had by all at the Hoedown. In fact, they were off-duty today, as I only had to use the trowel and the "dutch cultivator' (?) - a hand-hoe type tool, in order to put my new acquisitions into their new beds. The rain was pretty gentle today, instead of the pelting stuff we got the other day, so the going was easy. Picture of the new (and as yet unfinished) herb garden/rock garden to follow.

Hoe, Rake, and Fork

Hoe, Rake, and Fork, originally uploaded by Margo and George.

This is my 'formal' entry photo for the May Dreams Gardens May Hoedown - my hoe and her escorts, the Fork and the Rake, were behaving themselves. For the moment...but as with all hoedowns, things tend to get a little the worse for wear as time passes...

Friday, May 2, 2008

Now THAT is BRASS...

...as my mother would say.

Or maybe I should entitle this post "Oh no, not another learning experience!"

So, I was perusing my flickr site, looking over my stats, and seeing what interesting sites had referred to my photos. Sometimes it's interesting: one week the municipal government of the city of Saltillo, Mexico referred to me. Another day it was a Laotian website. Always in the past, my photos have *not* appeared on any other site, they have merely been linked or referred. Today was interesting.

My post talking about my garden fork and new shovel, along with a photo of same, wasn't just linked to - it was copied wholesale. As far as I can tell, the only reason the photo was credited (oddly enough) was that the whole post was copied - meaning, if I hadn't posted the photo directly from flickr as a "blog this" function, thereby automatically putting a footer at the bottom with a link to my flickr identity, I wouldn't have been credited at all. I checked their "blog" and found that there were a number of other obviously-lifted personal blog posts as well. There is no human being, seemingly, behind this commercial blog - no email contact, no profile, nor even a pretend author that is backed by, say, the marketing department.

While I like the tool, I am distinctly annoyed that they didn't take five minutes to post a comment and make an attempt to contact me and say "hey, it was nice of you to say good things about our tools. Mind if we re-print over on our blog?"
Sadly for them, and by them I mean the Fiskars company, it appears they are either using software that searches for a keyword and autocompiles their "blog posts" and I guess they don't think it's necessary to ask, or they don't care if they offend the very people who are saying "gee, what a good product." Which, I'm now thinking, can work both ways.

I'm curious to see if this post, which is not so glowing, will shortly be put up on their little marketing blog. I have learned two take-home lessons from this experience: one, it looks like it's worth it to pay the $4.95 / month for that CopyScape 'sentry' service, and anyway I don't recall having been hired as a copywriter for their company, so I don't feel obligated to keep my mouth shut. Two, in future I won't be mentioning any commercial or brand names. Suddenly I see why people use pseudonyms for corporations on their blogposts. I should have realized! >< *kicks self* In the end, I decided to comfort myself with a comment on "their post" (actually mine, which - *ahem* now neatly has a permalink [http://fiskarsgardenblog.typepad.com/garden/2008/04/the-tools-of-th.html ] to THEIR BLOG ) as the only means of communicating my annoyance. I may well be talking to myself, or the ether. But at least I've made my token objection. After I re-read and previewed my comment, I clicked the "post" button, and what to my wondering eyes should appear, but the message that I have copied and pasted below for your viewing pleasure. As for me, I'm now speechless.

This test is used to prevent automated robots from posting comments.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Bay State Bike Week

In other states, it's a month, but here in the Bay State, it's only a week, May 12 - 18. Still, in the interest of supporting the idea that people should spend more time on a bike or at least not in a car, because I miss bicycling to work, and just generally voting with my feet; I plan on commuting by bike at least a few days per week throughout the warm months here. Thanks to Katie for motivating me to get involved in my state and be counted.

I also "registered" as an individual participant in Bay State Bike Week, after which the website assured me that they'd be in touch soon. I'm really not sure what they think they're going to be in touch with me about - I know my way to work, I know how to ride a bike, I already spent 7 years commuting by bike (and not owning a car during that time), I know what route I'll be taking, and I'm even going to go out of my way to use as many portions of bike-trail (such as there are) as possible, in order to reduce my risk of traffic-induced injury. Not to mention those post-winter frost-heave induced canyons we blithely call "potholes" - they're often a foot deep. Wheee!

Still, if any of you are local to me and want to register as a "buddy" - regardless of whether we really are going to commute together, it would be great to increase the sheer visibility of the event. I may also finally join MassBike as well... At any rate, drop me a comment and let me know.

And if my family are reading this, yes, I will indeed be wearing a helmet. (Now I feel like Red Green).

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Control over watering...

ilex raised a good point in a comment today, and I was going to directly reply in a comment, but then I realized how long my comment was going to be, I thought I'd better just post on the subject.

She asked about whether it was a difficult transition to go from container gardening (where I get to control the plant's water intake, i.e., not too much or too little) to planting outdoors and therefore being largely subject to rain, and I think that's a valid question. I hadn't given it a whole lot of thought, as such.

In the past, my containers always outside, or on windowsill; in fact, one year they were in full sun all day long on a second-story balcony, so while they avoided bugs to a great degree (yay!) drying out was a major problem: I had to soak them every single evening without fail. In addition, containers are less tolerant of extremes of temperature and moisture: they're smaller (in the sense that they have no access to other water sources - they only have what you give them) and so are more prone to drying up, particularly the clay pots, given that they have more exposed surface area. Likewise, they are vulnerable to the cold - a particular consideration in the exposed position on that second-story balcony I had. My housemates and neighbors thought I was nuts that year; I collected baseball-sized rocks as thermal mass to surround the containers in the early spring (read: February). It worked, but yeah, they thought I was nuts. Until I was eating salads harvested from those pots, so...

So, sun (or lack thereof, in the case of one place I lived) and pests brought in by others (e.g. houseplants from the supermarket bought by a roommate, introduced aphids and whiteflies) were the problems I dealt with, rather than water-control being an advantage.

As for the outdoor garden - so far, I have either lugged jugs of water into the plot, or had access to water spigots (when they got turned on for the season; they were off for the first several weeks). We've had a fair amount of rain recently, so for the immediate future I'm not concerned. I'm also covering the seedlings, and plan on investing in some chickenwire cages to cover my rows, to protect them from the ravages of the woodchuck.These nifty ones (picture above) belong to another gardener at my community gardens, and are made of better-quality, more expensive screening (rabbit-fencing?). I think for my purposes chickenwire will do alright.

That said, there are in fact a number of community gardens in the area of Boston. the ACGA has a nifty search engine that, if you are an apartment-dweller like me, will help you search, by zipcode, for a garden near you.

I chose this garden because it lies directly along my daily commute to and from work, and is about a mile away from home. Granted, there's a BIG hill between us, but it's not the end of the world. This makes it easier to maintain the garden during the more extreme weather: I had planned all along to stop by in the evenings on my way home and water the plants (with jugs of water, since I haven't invested in a hose). I have a watering can with a decent spout that won't slosh the little seedlings right out of their homes, so... I think I've got it covered.

I guess the answer is, I'm more concerned about the woodchuck and bugs than about the plants drying out during the hot months, or about either too much or too little rain. If it rains too much, I have means to cover the rows and steer the water away (those raised beds plus the storm windows which I can prop up to give them a little shelter). If it rains too little, I plan on watering them regardless. The disadvantages are bugs and other pests, at least so far as I can see at this point.

Later in the season, I'm told that our meadow is a bit of a cold sink, so that factored into my decision to invest in some lumber in the fall to construct a couple cold frames.

I hope that helps clarify some of the factors I considered when I decided to transition from the containers to the garden.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

rain gauge

rain gauge, originally uploaded by Margo and George.

Made a brief visit after work today - arrived 7ish, close to 7:30, but there was still a little light and it had stopped raining long enough for me to trek out to the plot. Perfect time to install a rain gauge, right? AFTER the rain stops? Yeah, well I missed it this time. I'll check the NOAA page to see approximately how many inches we got this time. Lessee here... according to NOAA/NWS archive, over the past two days we got 1.97 inches
Okay, I can live with that. So about two inches of rain.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

planting seeds...bed #1

planting seeds...bed #1, originally uploaded by Margo and George.

And here is the first bed I measured out and planted. Here's the (hopeful) score:
left to right:
two rows of peas in "drills"
a row of arugula (last year's seeds - an experiment to see how much germinates)
a row of spinach; if the arugula fails, it'll become a second, successive row of spinach
a row of simpson green leaf lettuce
a row of french radishes (red and white, a little more carrot-shaped, and supposedly a little milder / sweeter)
a row of "mixed salad greens" i.e. mesclun mix, the baby salad greens I love from the market.

I'm ever hopeful - and covering it with a storm window after I gently watered the seeds in. We'll see what comes up.

That's the news from Plot 78b! See you next time!