Been way too long since I’ve written about gardening. And that – not local politics – is what this blog is supposed to be about. Since it is spring, I am not doing much with the native plants, except enjoying their outrageous blooms. The dirt beneath my fingernails is from changing over from winter veggies to summer. It is from digging out the greens that have gone to seed and adding compost to the garden in preparation for the tomatoes. All the while, I am still harvesting sugar snap peas which have been plentiful and delicious.
I was not going to do tomatoes this year since I will be away from the garden – and this blog – for most of the month of May. Hearing the disappointed sighs of my husband I capitulated, but only after I got a promise that he will keep an eye on them and water as needed. Actually, I plan to set up an automatic, spaghetti-tubed, low-volume, highly-magical system. I will photograph and post as I set it up.
But now, I’d like to do a retrospective on what I learned from my winter vegetable garden. It was a mixed bag. Slugs were crazy destructive, and none of my feeble attempts were very successful. Still we ate salad made from romaine, leaf lettuce, mizuna (a bit like arugula but in the mustard family), and arugula. And as I mentioned above the sugar snap peas were tasty. There were just about the right amount of them to keep us fed but wanting more.
Pictures are worth a thousand-million words, so here’s the season in pictures.
November 19, 2010: Lettuce and sugar snap peas are planted. So much promise!
January 23, 2011: Little collars made from plastic containers work for a while until the beasties manage to slither beneath them to dine indoors. Not effective! Furthermore, analysis of the logs shows that they are a slug nursery. Slugs lay their eggs in the wood and adorable, tiny sluggettes crawl out to bulk up on my lettuce.
February 25, 2011: They may look silly, but picking out the slugs with chopsticks turned out to be quite effective, though labor intensive. Furthermore it must be done under cover of darkness when the slugs are out-and-about, dining and socializing. I know that when my neighbors caught sight of me – and I’m sure they did – in my pajamas, armed with a flashlight and a pair of chopsticks, their suspicions about me were confirmed. But what was I to do? I tried valiantly to protect some wildflower seedlings growing along the sidewalk. Alas, it was not a great wildflower year in the So. Pas. wild parkway garden.
March 28, 2011: Mizuna and arugula are a bit more resistant to slugs than tender lettuce. Starting seeds in pots and transplanting them when they are bigger, or just buying 4″ pots is another partial solution to the slug problem. As you can see we did have lots of greens to eat.
April 24, 2011: Greens, except some larger lettuces, are dug out, the garden is replenished with compost from the compost pile. I added about 4 small wheelbarrows (wheelbarrow is behind peas) of decomposed, or ripe, compost to the garden.
April 26, 2011: Planted 2 Tomato Sun Gold (yellow cherry tomatoes), one Glacier (mid-sized, early), and one Sweet Olive. Today I picked up another red cherry and planted it as well. It didn’t have a cultivar name.
Got plants at Bellefontaine Nursery in Pasadena. Thank you, Alan!