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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Greetings from the Wormy Pear Emporium

It’s been quite a while since we’ve made any posts. I never thought that blogging could be seasonal, but I noticed that the date of my last entry corresponds to the week that I started the first seedlings for my garden. I was so busy planning, and then working in the garden that blogging fell down a few rungs on my to-do list. Our production schedule for the show slowed down, too, as summer came on, but now we’re back with a new episode on air, and are busy filming the next one.

Ah, back in February the garden was so full of promise…this is our fourth year in this house and I’ve been busy studying our light, water, and wind patterns over the seasons. I thought for sure that I’d figured out a good plan of attack for vegetables in the raised beds, flowers in the side yard, and a mix of both in the front. Well of course I was wrong.

I’ll spare you a complete litany of woes; suffice to say that it wasn’t a banner year. Yes, I grew enough beans and broccoli to feed my toddler all summer long, but toddlers don’t eat much beans and broccoli, do they?

There were a couple of successes: the alpine strawberries (also known as wild strawberries, I think) and Butternut squash. I put six strawberry plants in a raised bed in early April; we started picking berries in June and the plants have been going strong ever since. Well, going as strong as an alpine strawberry goes: they are not heavy producers. But again, my son has been able to go “berry picking” almost everyday and I enjoy watching him almost as much as he enjoys eating them. Hopefully the plants will make it through the winter and repeat their magic next year.

The Butternut squash were intended as a defensive maneuver against squash vine borers. Between the vine borers and the powdery mildew rampant in our yard, I cannot grow zucchini. (Hard to believe, but true). I’d read somewhere that Butternut squash vines are tough so that borers can’t get in. Sure enough, I only spotted one borer which promptly met its demise. The squash crop was not without its casualties, however, thanks to an overzealous husband wielding a gas-powered line trimmer…

I am starting to close up shop in this year’s garden. In some cases, it’s time to move the exhausted plants on to my greater reward (aka the compost pile); in others, I’m just giving up (the tomatoes never really got going at all). I am switching over from production mode into consumption mode. Always challenging, it’s also a little depressing this year because I don’t have much to work with. Last year at this time, I picked ~ 3 bushels of Bartlett pears from our ancient tree. The fruit was certainly not perfect, but enough of it was worm-free to make dealing with the wormy tolerable. This year, the tree put out about a half bushel of worm-ridden pears. I can’t work up much enthusiasm for dealing with the poor things, even to make sauce (which I did lots of last year, and my son loved. He still gets excited when he sees one of the empty freezer containers. Hmmm, maybe I should start putting the broccoli in one of those containers).

At any rate, putting the garden to sleep means that I should have more time now for blogging. And dreaming about next years garden.

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