Archive for April, 2009

Pease on earth

This year I decided to grow vegetables, starting with peas and starting early. My wife and I gardened the bejeepers out of the yard in front of our first house a few blocks from here, but we were mainly growing shrubs, not food. Angela grew lettuce and broccoli one year in a little box I built for her, and she raised some beautiful pumpkins several years in a row. But for the most part we saw the garden as a decoration, something to complement the charm of our little 1912 craftsman cottage. Passers-by stole the pumpkins just before Halloween.

The embattled first flank

The embattled first flank

Over the years I’ve become interested in the distance our food travels from the ground to our table, and I’ve decided that for me, the shorter the distance the better. This year, I could hardly wait to start growing vegetables.

I sowed a row of Sugar Sprint snap peas (from Territorial Seed Company) in a plot in the back yard at the end of February, and then another row in early April, and then a week later I sowed one row of Sugar Sprint and one row of some Ed Hume snap peas that Angela bought (she doesn’t suffer the idealism that I’m prone to – I would have eschewed this brand) and which are bred to resist enation. 

We’ve got peas coming up in all rows, though the weather through March severely retarded the first row. Can I say that about peas? They look good now but I’m sure they would have been much further along if we’d had any kind of decent weather.

Farmbox #1

The first of several planned "farmboxes" to be stepped up the hill. Here the cloche has been pulled off because of the warmer weather.

In our front yard, which is steeply sloped, I built a terrace box last year and grew clover in it over winter, then hoed that under in March. My daughter Mara and I sowed some Slo-Bolt lettuce and some Sorrento broccoli in early April. The broccoli, sown in clumps, came up quick and looks strong. The lettuce jumped up, too, but doesn’t seem to want to grow now and is looking a little pale. Maybe it needs more nitrogen.

Angela got some tomato starts in the ground a week or so ago, along with about eight pumpkin seeds, one of which has already emerged.

The adventure begins.


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