Thursday, May 2, 2013

Getting Back To "Normal"

I made mustard this morning,
 which I haven't done in a while.  It's been quite a year, and we haven't exactly reverted back to a processed-food diet, but in the last year we've made a lot more exceptions than we would have otherwise.  I am hoping that I've finally turned a corner on the back problems and can get back to normal--or whatever passes for it around here.

We had another hard freeze this week, but it's still a nice spring.  Technically our last expected frost date is about May 10, but
 the wild squash are coming up anyway.  Monday night's frost took out a bunch of them, but this little guy popped up today.  I have decided not to grow squash this year to get a break from squash bugs, so of course I'm being plagued by volunteer squash.  I'm not sure exactly why--we compost, but I roast the pumpkin and squash seeds--but since we also have an amazing amount of wild cilantro,
which I didn't grow last year, I think it's just the sort of stuff to expect in our garden.  I'm ripping the squash out, but I'm keeping the cilantro.  This particular patch is in the bed which will ultimately hold the tomatoes, but as cilantro hates heat, it will be dead LONG before the tomatoes really take over.  So, free cilantro!

I went to Costco this week, and this beautiful carnation followed me home:
The smell is heavenly.  I have pot where I grow carnations from seed, but they never grow straight up, so I'm hoping this will inspire them.  Speaking of delightful smells,
 they had a lilac bush as well.  I met the nicest German lady while we sorted through the plants looking at the different varieties.  She selected a nice white one which will only grow to 4 feet tall.  The one I picked can grow up to 12 feet tall, and is supposed to have purple flowers with white edging, which I've never seen before.  This spring I have missed the smell of lilacs in the air, as no one in our neighborhood has them.  So, we had to get our own.

Last week, I met another lady who gardens.  This time we were in the plant department at Fred Meyer.  For the most part, I'll be using my own seedlings for the garden, but wanted to get some extra peppers as a couple of my varieties were very slow to get going, and I've learned one has to strike early if one wants the best selection in peppers and tomatoes.  So I was looking through the peppers, and this lady next to me told me it was too early for peppers--which it very much is, and I could appreciate her help, as a very common mistake among new gardeners is to assume that, because a plant is for sale, it's safe to plant.  So, I mentioned to her I had a greenhouse.  One thing I've noticed about gardening conversations is either the person is really into it and wants to know what you've had good luck with and what you think of different things because they're always acquiring new information, or they are a dispenser of information--accurate or not.  This one was of the latter variety.  She has a greenhouse as well, but she said it was too cold in her greenhouse yet for even lettuce, telling me the soil had to be seventy degrees in order for anything to sprout.  That was surprising, as I'd read that lettuce won't even sprout if temperatures were above 70, and I don't think our soil heats up to 70 degrees until maybe June or July, and I've seeded lettuce directly in the beds at the end of February with success.  But, this was obviously not the sort of person to ever change her opinions--wrong or not.  Usually, I just shut up at this point, because these are also not the type of people who really need another person to have a conversation.  I thought about mentioning that we'd been harvesting spinach for a month, and had lettuce coming up voluntarily in the front flowerbeds, but decided to be REALLY perverse and mentioned that we had wild squash coming up in the garden already.  Lettuce can grow early, but squash needs some heat.  This displeased her, so first she told me they were most likely sterile hybrids (which probably exist, but while I've had every other problem known to squash plants, not getting inundated with fruit isn't one of them), then told me that I was planting the wrong cucumbers anyway, because there was only one cucumber in the entire world worth eating--and that it was so good one could even eat it without peeling it.  I love cucumbers, haven't yet met a variety that wasn't worth eating, and only peel the ones from supermarkets that are coated in that weird wax stuff.  I almost mentioned that I canned pickles, but assumed I'd be wrong in either the canning in general or the pickle recipe I was using or at least the type of pickling cucumber I used.  One thing I've learned from this sort of person is that no one else is ever doing anything right.  So, to really chap her, I selected not only a six-pack of peppers that can't be planted this early, but also a six pack of tomatoes which she also said weren't worth eating.  Really, I'm relieved she wasn't bashing my ability to grow eggplant--heaven only knows how THAT would have turned out.

In the meantime,
our broccoli--which I'm sure I also did completely wrong--is ready to pick!  Good thing my garden pays no more attention to that sort of people than I do. 

Things are moving along so nicely in the garden that I remembered to swing by the restaurant supply store for this:
a spoon that's tall enough for my biggest soup pot!  Every time I use my industrial stock-pot it seems I dirty every utensil we have fishing my spoons out of the bottom of the pot.  So, bring it on, canning and gardening season!  I'm ready!!!!!!!!!!

1 comment:

Son of MCMLXXV said...

I love the way you handled it! Those kind of people are ultra annoying. I love your garden blog I would learn more from this than any know-it-all I run into!!


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