Friday, July 16, 2010

Potatoes? Can you just grow those?

I spoke ill of my garden in the last entry. Let me just amend with the fact that the real pride and joy of the farmland here is the potatoes! Josh has been tenderly nursing them in containers. Do you know what a potato plant looks like? I was raised in a suburb of San Francisco and my parents were not gardeners of food, so I definitely had no idea what many things looked like, or if they grew in the ground, on trees ... or in plastic containers!
Speaking of being far-removed from our food and what the heck it looks like, I had a conversation with a grocery bagger the other day about chamomile. She said that, until she started working at the co-op, she had no idea that chamomile was a flower. I then commented that I have discovered a whole host of things that I didn't realize a person could just make. Like, really, who makes a marshmallow? No way. Who grows a potato? And I went looking for jar lifters and was told that "no one cans anymore" so no stores carry these necessary items. Really, sweetheart? These skills are coming back with a vengeance. I bought jars and now I need to lift them out of boiling water without breaking them or burning my hands! Stock some jar lifters! Doesn't Oxo make jar lifters?!
So my garden ... There are a few things that work and imbue me with enthusiasm and hope in spite of my deep-seated pessimism and Russian-novel-driven angst and self-torment. Josh planted the potatoes and we harvested and ate the first batch - see above. How do you know when to harvest? It seems that the plants die back when the potatoes are ready. Fascinating, right?
Then there are the peas. Josh threw a billion peas all over our yard. We have peas everywhere and they fruit like mad, baby! I believe I already spoke of my peas, so I won't bore you with more. But I will say that if you have never grown your own, and you like them, you really should throw some around your yard. You can even grow peas on a balcony if you live in an apartment. That crispy, snappy, sweet goodness is simply divine right off the plant.
Speaking of divinity, the Berry - any color and creed - is my very favorite. Our strawberries have been teasing me all strawberry season... which is pretty much over. All of Seattle's strawberries behaved badly this season because of the crazy weather and complete lack of spring, but ours were especially rotten. I caught glimpses of berries that would shrivel up and fall off. We have several species and the one above looks like the only plant that might deliver. My cat killed a rat the other day, so that's one berry-robber down.

There's so much hope in a green berry, isn't there?

And yet.

We have a species of green strawberry, and I realized the other day that I won't know when to eat them!
Our lettuces are going pretty well, too. I planted a few more rounds, so we should have lettuce for a while. I also want to plant squash and a cover crop and I just don't know how that will all work. I listened to a radio show on gardening on Tuesday and, basically, you are supposed to have several areas for planting so that you can leave an area fallow every year. Ug. I seriously need to get someone out to get rid of our awful vinca so that I can plant a cover crop in the current bed. We really need to build humus.
I set a goal for myself: Do one small thing in the garden every day. I have done this ... zero times. Sam simply won't let me get anything done while he is awake. That leaves approximately 2.5 hours of nap time to do IT ALL. "It" often includes feeding myself, cleaning up ... and my Mexican soap opera. What? I need to keep up my language skills!

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