What is happening? Back in the 1970s there was a rainy Christmas day with temperatures in the mid-50s. It was so unusual that we recorded it on a tape recorder. Rain pounding with sounds of little children. Now Christmas has what I call Halloween weather.
This weather makes it difficult for me to get into the full spirit of the season. I feel compelled to work outside rather than preparing the house for the big event. I drive around in awe. People seem to have everything all together. How do they manage? I was able to toss a few colored lights outside. My wreath never was completed. I’m ashamed to admit that last year I found an old spent evergreen one from the previous season. It never made it into the compost. I rescued it and spray painted it red. I was rather pleased with the results. So pleased, in fact, I resprayed it silver this year and called it a day!
I couldn’t be happier with my vegetable garden. I eat something every day from it. How I wish I had planted more lettuce and spinach.
I found some inexpensive ($25) row covers in the Pine Tree Garden catalog. They are 10 feet long and two feet wide. They fit my raised beds perfectly. I covered a bed of carrots and one of baby kale. I was so happy with the product that I promptly ordered more. I belong to the more-is-better school of thought in every area of my life. It doesn’t always serve me, I’m very sorry to say.
Another interesting but irritating result of the warm temperatures is that I still have insect pests on the cole crops. I have yet to even bother with my collards. They have so many holes in their leaves. My kale looks great but I am skeptical. I soak it in salted water before I examine it with my reading glasses. I don’t care if I eat a bug but don’t want to know about it. Plus my family would go all squeamish on me.
Marie found a great little broccoli-type plant in Seeds of Italy. It is called Spigariello. One eats the leaves which are tender and delicious. I planted it in a timely fashion and would be enjoying it right now if not for the cabbage worm. I will be replanting in February in an unheated hoop house and covering it with Reemay to thwart the pest. I believe Feb. 1 is the date we go back to 10 hours of daylight, which most plants require.
I am going to toss a few poppy seeds about after the new year. They resent transplantation and seem to know when to germinate early in the spring.
There is a house on Spring street in Vineyard Haven on the right before Franklin with a hedge of roses in bloom. Behind them a foundation planting of holly is sporting seasonal berries. Go figure!
I was rummaging in the freezer and found a container of fava beans labeled “to be shelled.” I had blanched them but did not slip the skins. I do like favas. For starters they can be planted in the early spring with the peas. The flowers are an interesting black and white. The pods are quite large and loaded with the flavorful bean. I suppose they resemble lima beans in texture so most of my family detests them. Great! All the more for me. I sautéed them with some olive oil and balsamic vinegar and had them with some baby beets and goat’s cheese.
The recent event in Newtown, Conn. is so sad, I am ill-equipped to comment. Given the season, I can only quote Charles Dickens “God Bless Us, Everyone!”