Monday, July 31, 2006


Greetings from the Northwest corner of Queens, New York, home of immigrants, full-power from the generators of Consolidated Edison, and of course, Urban America's Favorite Backyard Garden. Yes, that's correct, with the power back on full-throttle & a conspicuous lack of both torrential thunder storms and hellacious heatwaves, it was a fine week in that little patch of soil we call our own (or at least that we rent).

Following a week during which none of the representatives of any major gardening periodicals was able to show up -- due to a healthy desire to avoid those parts of NYC lingering, if only temporarily, in the 19th Century -- the parade of worshippers resumed. And I'm proud to say that after a summer of hard work, we finally passed The Gardens of Versailles, now trailing only the Jardins du Luxembourg for the title of World's Greatest Garden.

I'm cautiously optimistic.

The arugula, red lettuce & green lettuce having finished their brief life cycle, my wife got around to laying some spinach seeds, which germinated quickly. The shoots are already well above the soil, though you wouldn't know if it was spinach or a weed from looking at it. But spinach it is, it's growing nicely, and I'm thinking we make like Popeye by Labor Day. Mmmm.

The tomatoes are doing well, with both plants now producing fruit, and the two pepper plants are just that at this point: plants that produce peppers, by the bushel (that was a pun; "plants" meaning . . . plant, like a factory, but in this case a plant that produces pla-- ohhh, never mind). If picked while still green, they have a clean, slighty bitter taste, with a bit of a kick. But when left to ripen, the red ones are fiery: Strong, with a real smokiness. And too damn hot for this fella's tongue to eat whole. But chopped up, sliced, diced or with the ribs & seeds removed, they make for a powerful cooking ingredient. I'm psyched.

Finally, the coleus & dusty miller I planted way too late in the season as seed a few months ago are mature enough to transfer to pots, or as ornaments in some of the flower pots we have on the deck (the pics in those two links are general species pics; our specimens are, of course, far more beautiful & intelligent than those in the photos; c'mon!). I'd hoped to use them as "trim," as adornment to the annuals in the flower bed, but alas they never got large enough to survive the rain and invading cats & squirrels of that more "natural" environment. So it's in pots near the home for them this summer. But next year? Seed earlier I guess.

The rest of the annuals are looking good. The combo of regular but modest watering, fertilizer before planting, and mulch to keep in moisture & reduce weeds worked well this year. It's been a far more successful summer on the flower front than last, despite having more plants, comprised of more species.

So that's the report from an obviously pleased, (very) amateur gardener. Back next week with another update. I'm hoping it'll be as positive as this, but nature can throw a wicked curve, so we'll see.

By the way, no one would ever guess this, but Blogger's giving me a hard time this morning uploading pictures. So this week's picture -- from the far reaches of our Northern Fields -- is gonna have to wait. If the situation improves, I'll update this post with a pic later in the day. If not, you'll get it next week (Blogger permitting).


Update: August 1, 2006, 7:43 AM: As promised, I'm adding the picture of our North Field now that Blogger is working again. I have no idea who those people walking around in our garden are, by the way. I told my wife to shoot trespassers when I'm out, but she's such a softy. I'll have to speak to her about this.


Blogger DED said...

Your garden, and power lines, will certainly be tested this week as 100 degree temps are forecasted for Tuesday and Wednesday.

I'll certainly be moving my potted plants to the shady side of the deck and hope that our power lines hold.

12:14 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...

I'm terrified.

12:17 PM  
Anonymous Barry said...

Wishing you the best of luck as the thermometer threatens to climb upward, again. Might not be a bad idea to save water in empty milk jugs and any other usable container you have around. We survived a scorcher of a Summer a few years back doing that very thing - garden took a minimal hit and produced until the first frost. But, that's out here and not in your neck of the woods.
Taking a break from the 'craziness' at CFN and will probably be checking in here at over at wease's blog a bit more often - the nastiness (on both sides) is out and full bore.
Best to ya' - good gardening

2:54 PM  

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