I've been remiss in posting several brief videos I took this summer of animal activity in the garden. The first two are of the tremendous activity bees have kept up on the fennel plant. It probably won't translate well, but when I see these, I think of scenes from Bladerunner or Star Wars, in which huge vertical structures accept vehicle docking at multiple levels.
The third one is pretty hard to watch, entirely attributable to poor photography. It is a view of the compost pile, freshly turned by compost captain Stephen Lee.
I opened the garden for a couple of hours in the afternoon and quite a few families came through.
Three Chinese-American boys became quite attached, staying over half an hour and wanting to eat various veggies. I gave them a few cherry tomatoes, and even a tomatillo. The older boy wanted to take home seeds and plant. Wait until spring I suggested. He may come Saturday, when I said we'd be there.
His father came by, not speaking English (Jerry is in the 4th grade at Brackett and is fluent). He found a caterpillar in the carrots.
I opened the garden for an hour, and welcomed one mother with daughter, and another parent and child too. She might be interested next year as she can't garden at her place (too many trees), but she declared herself a novice. I told her we are all learners, and we have some very good teachers!
I sat on a pail and tried to draw the Brussels sprouts. Such plants! The leaf veins really resemble rivers on maps, with smaller branches and brooks flowing in. I tried to count all the sprouts on one plant. There must be around 60, counting all the very little ones and too-big ones. Perhaps 40 to divide now, probably more as time ripens.
Late September marks a transition to Autumn in the garden. We've recently planted several plots in cover crops: Beets, Soy Beans, Onions, Potatoes and the Three Sisters (Corn, early Pole Beans & Pumpkins).
Some crops are showing signs of slowing down: Bush Beans, Broccoli, Cucumbers, Eggplants, Peppers, Summer and Winter Squashes, Tomatoes and Watermelons.
Other crops are still at peak: Pole Beans, many of the Greens, Okra & Tomatillos. And a few crops will be peaking later this Fall: Brussels Sprouts, late-season Cabbage, Carrots, Kale, Leeks, late-season Lettuce, Parsnips, Radishes & Spinach.
The first watermelon from the June 4 planting, and was it good! It was tough to get a photo before it disappeared entirely.
Tomato major domo Lisa Bielefeld displays perhaps her three best results of the season.
We're looking pretty good after the great storm. I set right one climbing bean in the Three Sisters bed, and tried to straighten up a more-or-less fallen brussell sprout plant; it needs a stake. One of the people I gave tours to had never seen one. She had never seen a Kohlrabi either!
I opened the garden for an hour-plus, and we had several waves of parents and kids come through, some with grandparents in tow.
I gave one grandmother some basil sprigs, which she much appreciated.
In the photo, you can see this baby girl was transfixed with the hot pepper plant. I myself was attracted and tried to draw it last time, today bringing my color pencils. Not up to the real thing of course. Too bad we (speaking for myself and probably the baby) don't care for the taste of hot peppers!
Another fine harvest, and the first little Kentucky Wonder beans from the July 9 planting.
I opened the garden this afternoon for about an hour.
First I gave a tour to my neighbor and her daughter, who were walking their large but sweet dog.
Then I went and invited the people at the playground to come see the garden. They didn't come for a while so I sat and tried to draw the Thai Dragon peppers, but I need a color pencil to fill in! So many — perhaps we should give a few away!
Then all these families came, a number of grandmothers/mothers and children, and at one point there must have been 10 children and almost as many adults roaming the garden!
I carried on lots of conversations, telling the kids how flowers turned to fruits, etc. The eggplant! I explained the Three Sisters bed. I talked about the squash borers and the hornworms. I showed our new plantings — the spinach seedlings were showing just a little green! I untied the cauliflower to show them, and pointed out the mini cabbages.
One boy had a few cherry tomatoes. One little girl wanted a glass of water so I poured same with the hose, and then sprayed her and her brother and her mother and her grandmother, a retired California school principal in the very town my wife's brother lives (Richmond)!
The little girl and the boy liked the spray, mother too (it was hot). OK, I didn't really spray the grandmother.
One boy was quite impressed with all our basil.
Picked our first sunflowers, cauliflower, okra, and soybeans. We dug the last of the potatoes. Spinach will go in where the spuds came out.
These are the watermelons on August 6. Notice how much taller the plants on the right are. This is because the plants towards the left are being shaded for a few hours by the sunflowers on the left.
And a thing of beauty it is.
Something is eating holes in the cabbages, and left us some evidence. We don't know (yet) what it is or what to do about it.
These peas were planted April 23, 2011, and are poking out of the ground 7 days later.
Introducing Willy, the Philosopher's Stone, freed at last
Willy is a huge chunk of granite that surfaced in bed #1. The obsessive-compulsive gardeners wouldn't leave it be to stifle anyone's roots, so spent half the day digging and levering it out of the hole, moving it to a place of honor where it will provide a comfortable place of rest for the weary philosopher-gardener.
...when the Mountain of Mulch appears at Lalicata Landscape. Guy and Bobby have again donated a truckload of compost to get our garden started right.
April 9 was opening day for the 2011 season. (Opening was scheduled for April 2, but we got fooled by the April 1 snow.) We measured out the enlarged garden, planted 11 fence posts, and staked out the main paths through the center. Next week we plan to put up the fence, rototill, and start playing in the dirt...if it doesn't snow again.