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ruthless gardening

June 14, 2008

zora naki

i’ve had to be a bit cold-hearted lately. i was thrilled that so many things were growing and doing well that i was cheering them all on – Grow! Grow! – except for the weeds of course. All the stuff I planted on purpose is chugging along, and then i have these renegade potatoes coming up everywhere.

I must have overlooked some wee little potatoes in the soil from last year, or else they may have been incorporated into the compost that I so lovingly layered underneath my topsoil. Anyways, potatoes were running amok through my raised beds. They were doing so well, in fact, that they were overshadowing the growth of everything else, with a giant canopy of potato leaves blocking the sun from reaching all of my other seedlings.

So i had to be ruthless. I yanked them all out. And then I took a closer look at some of the beds. Things have gotten a bit chaotic in the back garden as there has been a lot of spring showers and everything sort of got all swollen overnight (over week?). Even my second batch of spinach has already gone to seed. The peppers were struggling under shelter of the giant brassica leaves of the brussel sprouts (how tall do these things get before they start to grow sprouts?).

So then i had to be ruthless again. I composted all that gone-to-seed spinach, and used the space for the struggling pepper plants and moved a few other things around as well (note to future self: don’t try to transplant beet seedlings). It feels bad ripping out flourishing plants, but it is necessary. And it did result in a nice early harvest of baby potatoes with dinner this week.

The difference in the vegetables planted in the raised beds versus the regular beds is amazing. The swiss chard in the raised bed is ready to eat (and my mutant chard from last year is now taller than my 5-year-old) while the seedlings I plopped in regular soil are still wee and spindly.

The broccoli is infested with green caterpillars that are chewing giant holes into the leaves. I’m a bit squeamish about them, so i’m getting my daughter to be ruthless, picking them off and dropping them in a pail of water. I harvested some broccoli for the first time (it doesn’t really grow in a giant head like in the supermarket, but rather a bunch of long stalks with buds on the end – who knew?) and washed it and steamed it (it was really delicious). I was somewhat dismayed to discover that i had missed a few of the creatures in my rinsing, and they too had been steamed. But – what my family doesn’t know, won’t hurt them, right? I guess i’m a ruthless cook too.

i meant to take pictures of everything i harvested this year, but i’ve already missed a few, except for this one.

I’ve left it a bit late, but i plan to de-grass a portion of the front yard this weekend and plant some potatoes (at least). Let’s hope the rain holds off long enough…

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