Archive for the 'Status check' Category

Spinach, reseeded

I did, after my extended stay at O’Hare, finally arrive home over the weekend. I’d been gone for 12 days on what felt like the longest business trip of my life, including stops in Oregon, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia.

When I left Iowa, the snow had indeed begun to melt, but was still shoulder-high and causing trouble. I returned to a mostly snow-free landscape, although the disappearance of the white has left Iowa khaki-dreary—no blossoms, no green grass, no growth. This happens every year—there’s always a period of time between winter and spring (and by Garden messspring, I’m not talking about the post-equinox season, but the actual reappearance of color) when the landscape offers nothing to the eye other than wide swaths of blandness.

In my backyard, a small patch of snow survived in an area of the yard that’s shady most of the day. But the garden is, once again, uncovered, and what a mess it is, although it’s a mess that’s going to feed the garden nicely once the growing season starts up in earnest. Most of the bed is matted with leaves and decaying plants that I never pulled up before the snow brought any hope of that abruptly to an end, and I think I can probably just turn that stuff under so last year’s plants and leaves give this year’s plants a little bit of boost.

But on one end of the garden, garlic is already sprouting through the layer of mulch I put down when I planted it last fall, and when I crouched down to take a look, I noticed something particularly exciting. Baby spinach that I did not even have to plant!Not only is the garlic getting its grow on, but there are some baby spinach leaves coming up out of the ground.

I suspect my poor gardening practice of letting the spinach bolt and not dealing with it in a timely fashion has resulted in some inadvertent reseeding, and that means I’m all set up for fresh greens without any work on my part whatsoever.

Rock on.

Resolving the aloe problem

So here’s what I did to resolve my aloe problem: I attempted benign neglect as a resuscitation solution. This, my good readers, is the botanical equivalent of scrunching my eyes shut and wishing everything would go away. That being said, it had been recommended by commenters as an approach, so I assumed it would actually work.

Now, what Heather recommended was actually applying a bleach and water solution, and I admit I was too lazy to actually do that. But I did at least let the plant dry out, and then…

Aloe plant, dyingOK, that’s where I became exceptionally lazy. Although I kept reminding myself to go get some cactus mix potting soil, I also kept forgetting, and there was all that never-ending snow. And after awhile, I just shoved the plant back in the dirt it came with.

The other day, while washing dishes, I bumped the plant with my arm. It flipped right out of the pot, clearly unrooted, and when I picked it up to put it back in, I realized it was, most definitely, a very sick plant. The two final tentacles are mushy and a little bit gray, which is never a good idea for, you know, a plant that’s supposed to be green.

I’d hoped to at least give it a proper burial in the compost bin, but a this point, I worry about spreading its rot any further. Any advice (which, clearly, I may or may not follow) on that issue?

Seed order: unplaced

Snowy walk“Have you figured out what you’re planting yet?” asked Betsy’s husband during dinner tonight. We had escaped into the Old Capitol Brew Works for the only thing that, tonight, would really take the edge off the weather: a burger, fries and a beer.

“No,” I sputtered. “I haven’t even really thought about it.”

I talk a big game about the whole seed catalog thing, but the fact of the matter is that I’m having a tough time wrapping my head around the fact that it’s ever going to be spring again. I’m back in it, just like I was last year, whining all the time about the weather and obsessively checking my Motorola Q to see if another Emergency Email Network message has arrived, bringing news about the next life-threatening cold temperatures or travel hazard-creating snowfall.

So, no. I have not ordered anything. I flipped through my SeedSavers catalog about six to thirty-two times right after it came, and then Bikes in snowset it aside, certain that I’d have plenty of time to deal with it later.

I know I have to place an order soon, but it feels very odd to think of working the dirt when there is a layer of snow at least a foot thick between me and the garden. That photo of the bikes? That’s my neighbors’ yard, but you get the idea, right? That’s how it is in my yard, too.

Scary thoughts

Pumpkins that I did not have time to carveIn the summer, traveling away from my garden makes me cranky. I might miss a small shoot of something, or the peak of a particular vegetable. The person assigned to watering in my absence might bail on me, or Iowa might flood. There is so much that could go wrong.

Lately, though, I’ve been on the road a lot, and there are many travelogues coming from the Eastern Seaboard. (OK, maybe not the actual Seaboard, but a heck of a lot closer to said Board than I usually hang out these days…)

The travel, combined with the shortened days, have resulted in an odd disconnection from the garden. I have not seen it in a week, because that was the last time I was home when it was light outside.

This occurred to me last night when I arrived home, after it was already dark and with the certain knowledge that I’d have to be out the door again in the morning before (all together now) the sun comes up.

I probably need to get out there with a flashlight. There was a hard freeze this past weekend, and I suspect there’s all kind of damage that I haven’t even seen yet.

But I have plans for the upcoming weekend. The weather is forecast to be not, well, terrible, and with a little layering action, I think I’ll be comfortable out there in the backyard for an extended cleanup. And there’s opportunity today and tomorrow to be home during hours that include light.

Fellow gardeners, you know what that means. Good light, decent temps and a list of garden tasks? There’s no option but to schedule a little time out in the plants, even if they’re on their last legs.

And in the meantime, per the randomly-placed pumpkins above, Happy Halloween. Just remember, kids…cavities are always scarier than garden clean-up tasks…

Them’s some powerful beans

Apparently Steven’s comment was right—there are many more beans to come. I harvested another handful this week, and they are destined for some good eatin’, although I have not yet cooked them. I’m a little overloaded with vegetables, still, and have hit that point in the season where I’m a tired of dealing with them.
Fall beans
Of course, that means I feel guilty about not dealing with them, because come February I’m going to be craving them, and I know that now, but I’m just weary of harvest.

Weary, and kicking myself for even saying that. Ah, the dichotomous life I lead.

When I saw the flowers on the bean plants a few weeks back, I figured I might get five or six more beans, but I harvested a solid handful—plenty for one—and left some on the plants for a future meal.

The plants themselves? They’re so bedraggled they barely even resemble their original selves. But they’re still producing like champs. Go figure.

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