>> Tuesday, November 10, 2009
My cabbage, on the other hand, was largely a failed experiment. They did grow to enormous proportions - check out this stem:
We did eat one head before they got to looking quite so bullet-riddled, and it was the spiciest cabbage I've ever tasted. Query: what kind of critters want to eat something that spicy? It never makes sense to me what things the garden pests will like best. Bugs love strawberries - okay, that makes perfect sense. But then bugs also love artichokes. Huh? I don't even know how they get through those fibrous leaves, much less spit out all the little spikes.
I can only say "mostly" with regard to our organic gardening because I have one weakness: poison ivy. That horrid stuff follows me around. It stalks my ankles (pardon the pun). We had massive infestations of it at our most recent rental townhouse, and I had my first ever poison ivy rash from it. I'm amazed I never had a reaction to it before given a) the amount of time I've spent in the woods, and b) that my immune system is completely absurd and reacts to all sorts of things it shouldn't (like foods), so should theoretically be overly sensitive to something as irritating as poison ivy. That one horrifyingly itchy blistery rash was enough to make me completely paranoid, though.
When we moved here and I found poison ivy in both front and back gardens, I caved, and bought a pesticide that supposedly specializes in poison ivy. I have no idea what's in it and frankly don't care. My concession to my organic gardening was to use as little as possible. It worked. Mostly. I just discovered 2 stems and 6 little poison ivy leaves in my front garden this weekend. A pox on the stuff!
Back to the things that are supposed to be in the garden. Here's my kale. It tied with potatoes for 1st place in my garden. After harvesting more than half of it, and following several hard frosts, it still looks like this:
Other successes included two varieties of incredibly good peas, several varieties of lettuce and arugula, a pretty crop of onions, and some delicious butternut squash, including one that is staggeringly huge. The mint, of course, is threatening to take over the whole garden, and some of the other herbs did really well, too. Complete failures included okra, some cool twisty gourds that never appeared at all, and carrots (one feathery frond appeared but never grew a root).
I wish we had more space for vegetable gardening. The only part of our yard that gets enough sun for veggies is the front yard. Thankfully, the neighborhood isn't so persnickety that anyone is inclined to complain about our unruly veggie patch in the front yard. We did mix in flowers and try to make it look vaguely like an overgrown perennial patch rather than just a vegetable garden, but we're really out of room for any more vegetable gardens. While we live here I'll have to just make do with a little veggie garden dabbling, and lots of trips to the farmers' markets.
While not edible, I am particularly proud of my holly. I'm partial to holly generally since it's my namesake. However, when we moved in all our gardens were in shameful condition, and the poor holly plants were practically dead - largely bare branches with a few scraggly blighted leaves. I couldn't even tell at the time if I had a male and female, which is necessary if berries are desired. Lots of organic acidification and TLC later, and here's my female holly this fall, a year and a half later: