Thursday, June 05, 2008

Weeding is Fundamental

Since it's been nearly two weeks since I last visited the garden, I decided to head over after work today to inspect the beds and to do a little cleanup (before it's too hot tomorrow to do anything!).

Here's how everything looks:

This is an overall view of the garden beds, and as you can see, things are really taking off! The Southern Belle had informed me that sprouts had started growing like crazy, but wow! Now I believe her!

Starting with the top of the upper (main) garden, you can see that the tomatoes are really looking robust and are even starting to set blossoms (faintly seen at the top left). The basil is still settling in, and the peppers look a little iffy, but the carrots and cilantro surrounding the bed look like they're coming along nicely.

The next section contains (left to right) the black Kabouli garbanzos, carrots (and pac choi at the far end), and mizuna, all of which are growing thick. Of course, so are the weeds! So I spent extra time on this bed, clearing out weeds and thinning carrots. (I'll head back early next week to harvest more greens.)

Here in the next section, the cannellini bean plants are looking much bigger than the last time I saw them. I didn't see a whole lot of growth from the summer and winter savory (in the middle) but they're there. And the right edge of the bed is reserved for kale and other autumn greens... to be planted soon.

In the last section of the main bed, the melons are still just poking along, but the first leaves are out, as are the first signs of the nasturtiums that I hope will weave around the melon vines.

The lower bed, seeded with second or third plantings of beans and greens, is starting to fill in nicely, with mizuna and garbanzos here in the foreground, more lettuce, and Tiger Eye beans behind that. (Something has dug up a number of those bean seeds, which is why the one row is only half covered.)

At the top end of the lower bed, the two rows of Hopi red amaranth have been invaded by green weeds -- making those rows fairly easy to weed. I don't have many of the Chinese broccoli plants coming up, but with any luck these few will produce good stuff. And the second row of cilantro has small leaves poking up, too.

Up by the deck, the favas had to be staked earlier this week, and they've set plenty of white blossoms with the black "eye" dots, so it shouldn't be too long before the pods start to develop!

Unfortunately, the first row of carrots -- so carefully thinned two weeks ago -- have served as dinner for something (a rabbit, probably). I'm not sure how well those will survive or what I might need to do to protect the carrots in the main garden bed from ending up on someone's dinner plate. (Someone other than me, that is!)

After a warm hike home and a cool shower, I threw together a large salad for dinner, using ingredients both from my garden (mizuna, lettuce, weeded lambs' quarters, and basil) and my CSA pickup for the week (Butter Crunch lettuce, radishes, strawberries), with crumbled goat cheese, crushed walnuts, and a black raspberry vinaigrette to top it all off. Very satisfying!

It's definitely time to start making twice-weekly visits to the garden, both to weed and to pick, so I'll have to make sure I schedule time to do it all justice.

Because after the hard work comes the sweet rewards -- and what could be more basic than that?

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