I’m prone to wander aimlessly between topics . . .why should this week be any different?
As a person travels west along Clevelandtown Road from the Katama Road to Morning Glory Farm, there is a fairly new sidewalk with a large, square curbstone on the left. The other day a big dump truck coming toward me forced me over into the curb. It promptly gouged a large hole in the sidewall of my six-month-old rear tire.
Alan at Island Tire said he has at least two repairs weekly from that very spot. People, beware.
Later, the generator at my large vegetable garden stopped working . . . the icing on the cake of my day! I know we had a tiny bit of rain last week but, trust me, no way nearly enough. Dipping into trash barrels with watering cans to water baby seedlings is one sure way to learn appreciation of a workable faucet and hose. I’ve said it before, we are incredibly lucky to have available, clean water in this country. Never take it for granted.
A few years ago I grew scorzonera, aka black salsify. It is a black root resembling a parsnip. It is a delicious vegetable popular in the United Kingdom. At any rate, I discovered several that had reseeded in a pile of weeds and gone to flower. The flower is remarkable. It resembles that of echinacea but with lime green tips on all the petals. It would be worth growing in the flower bed alone.
I also have parsnip reseeded all over the place. I never seem to get it together in the early spring to harvest and prepare them. Therefore, they flower by now and are too tough to eat. Such is life.
Probably too late, I ordered some jumbo Virginia peanuts from Gurney Seeds. There are few companies that offer them for sale. They are a big hit with children. The plant is a legume and somewhat resembles a low-growing pea. The nuts are produced on root tendrils underground. They are a favorite of voles, so this year I planted them in a raised cement bed to foil the little pests.
While rummaging in the pantry recently, I came across the last few stragglers of the 2013 sweet potato harvest. They were putting out little sprouts. Never one to waste the potential of life, I planted them. I am anxious to see if they will produce.
Usually I order them and they never look wonderful upon arrival. They are bare-rooted, wilted plants wrapped in moss and cardboard. It takes weeks for them to recover. They require a long growing season, so those weeks are not easily spared.
Why do I bother? My most beautiful flower bed is in one of the paths of the vegetable garden. Reseeded dark blue bachelor buttons, nigella and Roman camomile are absolutely striking.
Another nice combination are the red poppies in a patch of last year’s cilantro flowers — the only good thing about cilantro, if you ask me — it tastes like soap to me.
I’ve had deer eat every one of the flowers of Caesar’s Brother iris. I’ve never had them eat iris before. They’ve been too busy polishing off the daylillies.
I grow tuberous begonias for one of my customers. She sends the tubers from White Flower Farm in January. Instead of a price tag, there is a picture of an arm and a leg. At any rate, they take a full month to even emerge on a 65 degree propagating mat. They are jaw-droppingly beautiful in bloom by July!
The strawberries have ripened. I did get a net on them in the nick of time. The catbirds love them so much that they land within feet of me to get a quick bite.
I will not be winning the first pea of the season contest. After rabbits ate them to the quick a couple of times, they are finally just putting out the first flowers.
The Colorado potato beetles have arrived in force. I am still able to hand-pick. I put them into a cup of soapy water. They, like the red lily beetle, see me coming and drop as my hand approaches. I try to get the cup under them first. Honestly, life is a series of stupid tests of one’s patience and humor.
That’s all I’ve got this week. I’ve got several work deadlines, which very well may not be met.
Happily, my choice for the next governor of Massachusetts, Don Berwick, qualified for the Sept. 9 primary ballot. The Democratic party met in Worcester last weekend. Fifteen per cent was required to make the ballot, and Dr. Berwick got a nice 22 per cent, just under Martha Coakley’s second place.
He is a former pediatrician and Medicare chief. He is committed to ending hunger, poverty and homelessness in our state. Check him out before the primary. I think you will be impressed.