Saturday, April 17, 2010

Well, it's finally spring and I feel inspired to pick up the blog again. Also, Peculiar recently (well, sort of) got a laptop, so I no longer have the excuse that I can never get to the computer because someone's always editing photos.

Maybe it's a remnant of hibernation instincts, but nothing interesting seems to happen in the winter. Fall is good, and there's often expeditions, vacations, not to mention harvesting the garden. But then after October things get busy and the Christmas fast begins so there's not even any good eating to write much of until Christmas. This year the space between Christmas and Lent was extremely short, so right as we were recovering from the business of Christmas it was time to gear up for Lent.

But Pascha was a few weeks ago and with it, obligingly, came beautiful, bright, warm spring weather. Last year I tried to plant a garden starting from scratch in the snatches of time between my sisters' weddings, moving into a new house and Holy Week/Pascha. Given the circumstances, it was really more successful than could be expected. That's not to say I was happy with it though. I did get a good amount of basil and tomatoes, and even a watermelon, but we decided to take a trip to Turkey right in the middle of the harvest. It was a fantastic trip, but I couldn't help being discouraged to return home to a frost-damaged, bedraggled mess of a garden. I wasn't even sure if I'd do one this year.

But the Baker Creek catalog came again, with its seductive heirloom charms. Then the greenhouse had raspberry plants on sale,and the staff assured me that berries do, in fact, grow well in New Mexico (we'll see about that), and one of the workers gave me 6 tomato starts. . . and now I have my two beds ready to go again and have lettuce, peas and other greens in the ground, with the first little lettuces coming up today.

And so we're off! I started the hot weather crops inside today. In addition to my 6 tomatoes I started some striped Turkish tomatoes, a purple tomato called "Cherokee Chocolate," an early, cold-weather cucumber from Russian, a big rust-colored cucumber from the Himalayas, some purple eggplant that are supposed to do well in short growing seasons, an eggplant that looks more like a tomato, again from Turkey, two kinds of melons and basil. I'm not trying corn again this year. I got a few mediocre ears last year and it takes up alot of space and nutrients. Ditto the winter squash - I did get several pumpkins last year only to have them go bad before we could eat them. For being such a staple crop I have NOT had good luck with winter squash, so I think I'll take this year off. I hope to have better luck with them in the future though, since there are so many interesting varieties out there!


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