My smugness will be my undoing. For several weeks now, I’ve been bragging about my field peas. Originally I purchased a 50 pound bag which I kept in the freezer. I planted it into flats in my greenhouse in order to have young shoots and tendrils to enhance winter salads. Now I’ve been planting it as a cover crop in my vegetable garden following mid-summer harvests of onions and garlic.
I mentioned last week that those plantings have now flowered and produced pods. Those pods have filled out and are ready for picking. I ate a few only to discover that they are, in fact, field peas for a reason. They are not sweet and wonderful like classic English peas, but rather bland and starchy. I think I’ll harvest some for the freezer for adding into a ham stock this winter for a nice hearty soup. It’s obvious that split peas come from field peas. Some of the old-fashioned varieties like Lincoln and Thomas Laxton were probably bred from the field pea.
I’m crazy about fall gardens. The light is wonderful mid-day and brings out the colors. In the heat of summer on a sunny day, things can actually appear washed out as in a photograph taken at noon. I am particularly fond of the newly planted fall vegetable patch — to wit: the large Morning Glory Farm field at the Slough Cove end of Meeting House in Edgartown.
For a couple of years my winter squash production has been dismal at best. Marie researched the various pests on the computer and was diligent in the organic trapping and destroying of vine borer and squash bugs. No matter! The pests won! This year, however, one lone butternut squash came up on its own and produced beautifully. We each took home a bushel. Oftentimes when a squash appears in compost it is some weird combination that is not true to type and is rarely tasty. Usually, they end up in the pig pen. This plant, however, was a true Waltham butternut worthy of saving seeds for next year. The butternut is one of the few winter squashes resistant to the heinous vine borer. One borer can literally kill a vine overnight.
You might consider some nursery purchases. Available now are some asters and mums in four-inch pots. They look great in fall pots and window boxes. Don’t toss them into the compost after a freeze, but plant in a perennial bed. They will come back over 50 per cent of the time. I have some from last year that are still short and compact but more than a foot in diameter. Along with sedum, the perennial beds are looking pretty spiffy.
I treated myself to a few viburnum. I couldn’t resist the berries. One, the Michael Dodge, is quite impressive. It is loaded with yellow berries and the leaves will eventually turn red. Viburnum is practically fool-proof and easy to grow. My son Jeremiah says, “I burn ‘em,” and they live.
I missed my calling in advertising. I could do a great commercial for the crock pot. Lately, I’ve been putting steel-cut oats in at night for hot cereal first thing in the morning.
The roadside garden at McIntosh Motors is very nice. The morning glories have to be twenty feet up into a tree in the middle of some spectacular dahlias.
Since I wrote my last column the political world is all a-buzz with the Mitt Romney 47 per cent comments. How ironic of him to disparage folks who pay no income taxes when he refuses to release years of his own. Perhaps he’s in the 47 per cent.
I find it so fascinating that people who receive government checks for some reason or another look down on others who get assistance as well. I read that of those who get social security, veterans’ benefits or subsidized farm dollars, only 23 per cent think they get anything from the government.
I am especially amused by those folks in their eighties or nineties who have received more than a thousand bucks a month in social security benefits for a couple of decades. They think they paid for it. I know I didn’t pay $1000 a month in payroll taxes my entire work life, and I’m grateful to FDR and my children who pay so I can get a check.
I’m sick of hearing about deficits and entitlements. I think we need to take care of each other.
I might have to end with a biblical comment, “To whom much has been given, much shall be required.”