Garden aftermath, year 2

The garden is all in now.  Just like last year, I was gone for a lot of the summer, but I can still pronounce Garden 2011 a roaring success.  Only two growing seasons from an arid, hard-packed clay bed, and now there’s deep, soft, dark-brown-if-not-quite-black-yet soil, and millions of worms.  You can’t even scratch your fingers in the mulch without disrupting worms, and plunging a shovel in feels like mass murder.

The tomatoes produced virulently; the evidence was all over the ground, too late to benefit from when we came back post-frost.  Similar for the hot peppers, but most (dozens) of the squash and sugar pumpkins survived to be picked.  The kale did very well this year in its new location, and we got several pounds of beets and root onions.   The scarlet runners and peapods were dry on the vine, and I picked and shucked all of those and dried them for an impressive amount of dried beans for eating or planting next year.  Scarlet runners are so attractively purple.

I’m happy to have at least made micro movements towards seed-saving.  The two skills I really need to improve on are seed-saving and seed-starting- the two shoulder season activities.

My favorite bounty of this year was the kale seeds!  Some kale went to seed and dried outside, and we cut it all to save the seeds.  Look at the mound of them- it’s more than a pound of seeds, which feels like incredible wealth, considering how much a little packet of kale seeds goes for these days, when you can find any.  They also feel really cool, a bowlful of tiny black ball bearings.  I’m sure they’ll be viable, because that kale has already been known to self-propagate.  The pods were all grey and dry, almost uncurling and dropping their payloads at touch, and I threshed them all out by rubbing them between my hands.  Great success.

Oh, and I put in a bed of garlic: at the appropriate depth, and at the right time of year for once.  The chickens made a stab at rearranging my rows, but the garlic should still come in droves next year.

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