Sunday, October 17, 2010

Garden Day 208

I'm kind of embarrassed about how little I've posted over the last several months. It's not for lack of material, quite the opposite. But ironically when I've got a lot of interesting things going on, I'm more likely to be doing them rather than writing about them. In any case, today I finally got up to the garden when it was actually light enough to take some pictures. For the most part, it's empty, at least of edibles.

As you can see, the dominant crop is marigolds! I'll get to those after I hit the remaining vegetable highlights. If you look over on the left side of the garden you should see a blueish-green squash. Our garden neighbor, Jeff is growing those and said we could take one. He doesn't know what kind it is, just that it's some African variety that a friend had given him. I need to look up info on how to tell when a squash is ready to pick. He said it's a pretty light, mild type.

The parsley plant got big fast! We've already made one big batch of tabouli and are set to make another. Next to the parsley, the arugula got too big before we could eat much it, but I harvest the small, inner leaves and have tried cutting whole plants back to see if we can get some more tender new growth.

This year's garden looks like it will begin and end in lettuce. A month ago, when I thought at best we had a couple of weeks left to garden I planted some greens. I wish I'd done more, especially spinach as only one plant came up and it is just now really growing. My garden notes will include a line for next year reminding me to be optimistic about the length of the season into the fall. There's little to lose in that approach.

One of the pleasant surprises of this year's garden was tatsoi. A friend gave me seeds and I didn't plant any last spring but finally did with this last round of greens. I was expecting them to be more like bokchoi with more bulb/stem than leaf, but they're not. Our plants are a little tattered yet from the hail storm but I still think they're attractive little rosettes of green. We've been enjoying it braised with garlic, ginger and galanga.

Now, about the marigolds. I planted them back when I planted the beans to keep away bean beetles. Either they worked or there just weren't any bean beetles to keep away. In any case, I greatly underestimated how much they would grow. In my shady backyard garden they never get much larger than they were when I bought them, so I planted quite a few of them fairly close together in the garden. They got huge! When I was tearing out the dead veggie plants last month I was set to rip them out, too but just couldn't because they looked so nice. Instead I decided to keep them and maybe make some garlands or a rangoli when Diwali came around. I may have to change those plans, too.

Today I noticed there were several kinds of bees, butterflies and moths feeding on the flowers. Since marigolds are so pungent I never thought of them as being attractive to insects. There are so few other flowers around now that imagine nectar is at a premium. The poor little guys' days are numbered, of course. But I just couldn't see depriving them of a source of food.

So I guess I'll leave at least some of the marigolds for a few more weeks--frost permitting. It's not like there are any vegetable plants to compete with at the moment. And they're looking remarkably good given that I haven't watered them at all during the current drought.

1 Responses (Leave a Comment):

The Little Ragamuffin said...

I can see why you were searching for "marigold garlands" :)I think I may need to make a few more for myself as well. Thanks for the kind comment you left. And here's to the end of a successful garden season!