Saturday, August 28, 2004

Cultivant mon jardin.

The past week has been enough to try a saint, between work and home. For better or for worse, I'm back again and starting to build up that callous against everyday life in the city.

Haven't talked much about my garden lately because, quite frankly, I've not been spending much time in it. It, however, in spite of my neglect and a really strange growing season, has been treating me better than I deserve, I think. I am never not growing anything by seed again. Have had total success in that foray, and it's so much cheaper than buying plants! My dollar a packet Burpee tomato seeds (two varieties) are growing tomatoes like a girl on fertility drugs grows babies. I've had to stake everything up three or four times, because the plants are almost collapsing under the weight of the fruit. (twenty plants, each with three to five fruits apiece.) When I returned home on Saturday of last week, I had like ten fully ripened tomatoes. Since then, it's been a tomato for breakfast, two for lunch...and an extra brought along to share.

The zucchini were a disappointment this year. I'm not sure what I did wrong - only got one, and the plants got root rot. Raphaella tells me that I got one more than she did. Might have been the alpine conditions up here on Winter Hill. Funny thing is - I did pretty well with the cucumbers. No disappointments there.

The herbs, well, they are in such proliferation as to be considered almost invasive. I've been putting thyme and rosemary in bouquets I give to friends. My mint might make a few extra jars of jelly for my lamb-eating friends. I've gone through the basil, the parsley and the chives a number times over and they just keep regenerating! What a joy.

Yes, the peaches have ripened as well. The tricky thing with these is that you've a very small window between their being ripe enough to pick and their ending up as mulch. I got two shopping bags ful -froze a bunch, made a few jars of peach butter (like apple butter, only with peaches...nice! Just take 4 pounds of peaches, skin, pit and slice them. Cook down slowly. Mash a bit when they are soft enough. For each cup of fruit pulp, add 1/2 cup of sugar, cook until sugar's dissolved. To all this, add a couple teaspoons of cinnamon, a teaspoon of cloves, a half teaspoon of nutmeg. Continue cooking until mixture thickens. When done, pour into clean, sterile jars and seal. Will make three 12 oz jars.)

Since the cosmos are now fading and all that's really left of things are marigolds and a few snapdragons, no doubt I will start weeding and pulling stuff up next week. I'd like to get a few mums to put on the front steps and attempt to grow, as a last hurrah of sorts, some kale. I'd start things now, but we have a whole team of Brasilian guys scraping, power washing, trying to pretty up the house. It's kind of pleasant listening their take on the language, combined with the sounds of things being improved.

No comments: