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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A strange year

Risa sets out the potatoes in beds 3 and 4. In three weeks or so, she'll also add them to beds 1 and 2. They're fairly spread out, as she hopes to do other things in the same beds: squashes, peppers, tomatoes, corn, peas, beans, greens. It's 73F out and she's feeling the heat, partly because she went training in the morning for a kayak event and her arms feel like rubber.

In this picture from the rooftop, you can see where the "chicken moat" is, with mulched fruit trees in it. Blobs of green in the garden include elephant garlic, rhubarb, and "walking" onions. Bed 6 at left now has 8 blueberry bushes, though you can't see them here.

Same area last fall. Brown stripes are shredded leaves over straw.

As Risa sets the spuds and covers them with straw, she encounters elephant garlic that has sprouted underneath last year's cardboard. The cardboard is now gone --food for the plentiful worms -- but there are the whited stems, lying along the ground beneath the old straw. She pulls them up, snaps off the greens, and pockets the blanched stems to carry into the house. A good substitute for onions in many recipes.

The usual bees and flies on the reservoir's green waves today, all round the kayak's prow and swirling in the whirlpools behind the dip of the paddles. Usual for this year, but what a strange year. There were many cucumber beetles. What prompted them to hatch?

All Nature seems at work. Slugs leave their lair,
The bees are stirring, birds are on the wing --
And Winter slumbering in the open air,
Wears on his smiling face a dream of spring.

-- S. T. Coleridge

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