|garlic from the garden|
Gita and I took a walk last night. The air was cool- almost cool enough for a jacket. The katydids and crickets sang for us. I could smell the scent of flowers- maybe datura, maybe mockorange, maybe the last of the oriental lilies- I wasn't sure. I could smell them, but not see the source.
It's the time of year I wait for most in Minnesota. Time to harvest what's been growing all summer. Time for the mosquitoes (and this year- japanese beetles) to die off and leave us alone. Time for the ground to get a bit dry. Time to think about what day I'll go to the State Fair. Time to notice the first leaf or two start to show a little yellow or red.
I love late summer and early fall. A friend once told me that he doesn't like early fall, because he knows what's coming next. True maybe- but I'd rather not think about it.
Maybe we'll have another winter like 1999-2000 where it was warm enough on New Years' Eve to be outside without a jacket. La Nina is done with us for right now. It could happen. I could harvest tomatoes in November. maybe.
The garlic at top was just harvested today. I ran a bit of an experiment to see if cutting off the scapes really makes the bulbs grow larger. Judge for yourself. The bunch of garlic on the left had the scapes cut off, on the right, the scapes remained (and produced a nice little crop of seed garlic).
As far as I could tell, cutting off the scapes made no difference. In fact, I think the largest bulb I harvested was one of the two that kept its scape. That one was buried deeper too- maybe 8-10 inches- so that may have affected it as well. But overall I didn't see a big difference. I may let all the scapes stay on next year.
|kale, with tomatoes and zucchini mixed in|
|and a bare patch for replanting|
|the ligularia is always a watering indicator for the rest of the garden|
Had we planned better, the tomatoes and zucchini would have been in the middle of the spring veggies, and beginning to sprawl all over the empty real estate.
That said- there wasn't much planning this spring. A little here, a little there. More so than usual. Next year we'll be organized. maybe.
The ligularia are now just beginning to flop over and look tired. It's been at least a week since we've had rain. It's been such a lush summer, the ligularia have been unusually happy and tall until now. They're letting me know now that I may have to water the whole garden if it doesn't rain in the next few days.
Sometimes, this time of year it's hard to know what to do with all the fresh produce. Tonight I made a quinoa pilaf with fresh kale and some salmon with dill. Except for the quinoa, (ok- and the salmon too) everything came from our garden. Tomatoes (Opalka and Garden Peach), chives, garlic and broccoli for the pilaf, kale and garlic for the stir-fried kale, and dill for the salmon. It took about 45 minutes and was delicious. If I do say so myself.
Of course, the kids wouldn't eat the salmon. (Yuk, daddy!) So they had fish sticks, the semi-natural kind. But- check this out- they also had a generous helping of kale! They ate it all on their own as well. They enjoy picking it in the garden, and when they know that that's what is on their plate, they eat it with gusto. It amazes me- but it's true.
Stuff from the news:
Earlier this week I read this article from the Minneapolis Star Tribune which announced that the city of Minneapolis has made it legal to have a front yard garden. Or at least a native prairie plant garden. No mention of vegetable gardens.
It's a good step. The regulations are catching up with the reality. Minneapolis has had a growing number of gorgeous, wild front yard and back yard gardens for years now. It's been almost a decade since I lived on that side of the river, but the growth of urban gardening was already well on its way over there in the Seward and Longfellow neighborhoods, in Uptown and Northeast. Hopefully the city will no longer be the proxy for the neighborhood neatniks hoping to harass their neighbors.
This one area where St. Paul has been out in front of Minneapolis. St. Paul has been a bit more lenient about boulevard plantings and front yard gardens for a while. Our block has a number of them, and many admiring passersby. One neighbor a block away has a boulevard rain garden 40 feet long, with new england aster and cup plant nearing 8 feet tall! Technically it's supposed to be no taller than 3 feet, but so long as nobody complains and it doesn't block the view of cars at the stop sign, it's seemingly OK. Better than OK- it's gorgeous.
Maybe it's just the more laid-back attitude of St. Paul, the same lack of hurry to impose order that kept the historic buildings of downtown and Crocus Hill standing, while those of downtown Minneapolis ended up as rubble during the 'urban renewal' of the 50's and 60's.
|what the --- Fleet Farm?|
In other non-news, I was perusing the Fleet Farm flyer that came in the mail this week. I don't get out to Fleet Farm often. It's a big box and they're all out in the far suburbs, but they sometime have nifty farm and garden stuff that's hard to find in other places. I found the maple syruping spile that I used and wrote about this spring at Fleet Farm. So when the flyer comes I like to take a look and see what they're stocking.
So I was really surprised to see they're now selling parts for automatic assault rifles (see above) WTF? and that's not the World Trade Federation.
Really- why? This isn't a hunting rifle. I took a look at the website referred to in the ad, and the barrel can be used in a semi-automatic or fully automatic M-16 type weapon. You can't legally hunt with a fully automatic weapon. The only use for such a thing is for mass slaughter-- of people.
I grew up in a hunting family, so I am familiar and even comfortable with guns. I took the 'hunter's safety' class in Wisconsin when I was 12. I never was too thrilled with killing animals, but grew to enjoy being in the woods and the waiting and stalking and watching.
So it's not that I dislike guns altogether. What I dislike is seeing a mainstream retailer in a suburban area selling a weapon designed for mass murder. I don't think it's even legal to sell the gun as a unit, so apparently they've gotten around that by selling it as a part to be attached to an otherwise legal weapon.
There's a lot of anxiety in the country right now- that I understand. Political impotence, markets crashing, the growing awareness of peak oil and peak almost everything else. I hear of people hoarding gold. Maybe this is another symptom of that anxiety. More worrying is the possibility that the right-wingers who are so fond of their firearms are stocking up and hoping to give Armageddon a helping hand.
That's not a survival tactic. Growing a garden is a survival tactic. Having one of these seems more geared for future thieves and wannabe warlords hoping to take advantage of chaos and disorder. It doesn't bode well for the future of my country.