Thursday, June 16, 2011
It's A Race
After yesterday's day long soaker totaling about 3/4ths of an inch of rain, garden plants grow faster than I can keep up. For dinner I pull clumps of young, tender beets, hardly making a dent in the row. I snip off a slender red thread root and steam the stems and leaves of the thinned young beets. Thinning will be a daily activity, along with offering young spinach for sale at $2.95 a zip lock bag.
Bean plants, both pole beans and yellow, bush beans emerge with first leaves, pushing back clumps of dirt in the challenge to reach for the sun. An eighty foot row of arugula, lettuce, curled leaf spinach, turnips, mescal greens, Chinese radishes and more is a thin line of green in the soil. Tomatoes are twice tied to stakes, trimmed of suckers and ready for wire cages. Potatoes are beginning to bloom. I'll be going around trimming blossom tops of onions to promote bulb expansion.
If it rains, I get a day off. Yesterday's rain gave me time to run to Amish-land for a new thermo-pane window. Rolling down Irish Ridge in Jorge's SUV, I see fields that are carefully tended with black plastic row covers to prevent weeds. Young plants pop through cut outs in the plastic. At the end of the ridge road, just before we turn off to Optic Road for the Amish Wal-Mart, three hundred foot rows of tomatoes carefully staked with red, white or blue poles, held back with two lines of rope on either side of the stalks is an amazing spectacle.
My Amish friends tell me that they have advance orders for 1000 quarts of strawberries. This year the berries are late. I sit in the kitchen talking with the elders as a truck pulls up and the driver honks his horn.I consider it a rude English gesture, but the comment is made that perhaps the driver is unable to get out of the truck easily. The youngest boy is sent to investigate. I mention late October to begin a greenhouse attachment to a chicken coop, knowing that life for the Patriarch is full of summer toil.
After a short hiatus, the hummingbirds fight for space on three feeders. Dawn counts five as she heats a cup of coffee. It seems strange to think of the time differences between the summer solstice and the dark days of winter. It's still light when Mandy and I venture out at nine pm for a final check of the grounds.