Growing and planting

Very busy couple of weeks. Doing what exactly? I’m not sure. Some weeks are just like that. Although we did fill the dumpster – sadly (but secretly slightly relieved because I am procrastinating due to the unpleasantness) we didn’t get to the cellar – or at least not finished. There was a ton of garbage still to remove and it took up more space than I anticipated. But! With the exception of all the old drywall and refuse in the cellar – we have now removed all the garbage.

The gardening is coming along in spite of neglect and a massive amount of grass, weeds, beetles and some other insect that likes to eat leaves into lace.

Pretty thrilled about a few things. Grant Line Nursery was running a 75% off sale on trees. We bought 10 and will be planting them everywhere on our block. Really excited about this. Can’t wait to put some in and share with the neighbors.

Speaking of neighbors – so very grateful to have good ones. This week alone we’ve received pie, building supplies someone had left over, an offer to help with installing our windows from our neighbor with a bucket truck – and other generous gifts of assistance, support and encouragement. Just really grateful. And touched.

Thank goodness for the rain. Take a look at these – full water cubes! That’s a beautiful sight. These are Amanda’s for watering her garden next door.

water

We haven’t watered anything. But, here’s how everything is growing. Never grown any of these things before. The soil was poor so selected seeds based on that. Thought cantaloupes might grow because when I was a kid, a Mennonite community bought property nearby that was considered terrible and not very productive. They farmed cantaloupes very successfully and sold them to all the groceries in the region. Here’s the first of ours – hoping for about 8 from the few we planted.

cantaloupe

Then there’s the Delicata squash. I read these are easy to grow. And, they are. They don’t store or ship well, apparently, so they’re not a familiar squash. They’re very tasty – with a texture similar to but less grainy than a sweet potato (and not sweet). I hate sweet potatoes – but love this squash!

delicata squash

The vine is HUGE! These photos (of the right and left sides of the plant) don’t convey the amount of space the vines travel. There are lots of small squash on it right now. They are supposed to be cared for by placing something under them to help discourage rot – need to get that done.

Left side of the vine.delicata 2

Also growing green beans. Made the mistake of planting the beans behind the Mexican sunflower thinking the beans would outpace the flower, but they didn’t. Now they have too much shade and aren’t really producing. Maybe next year.

green beans

And, tomatillos – also a new one.

tomatillo

They are full of blooms, but am a little concerned they’re not being pollinated because there aren’t as many tomatillo starts as might be expected. Meeting tomorrow with Amanda from Lots of Food and a beekeeper. Would like to keep a hive on one of our roofs

Tomatillos look like what we used to call a jimson weed – which I’d always thought was poisonous. So, I looked it up. Seems they’re related (and jimson weed is poisonous). Here’s the scoop on jimson weed:  “Traditionally used as a folk cancer remedy, also for asthma, rheumatism, Parkinson’s disease, as well as an antispasmodic, hypnotic, and narcotic. A powerful drug that should never be used without supervision. Overdoses are easy and always fatal. Handling seeds may cause eyelids to swell.”

And, there’s this funny entry from Wikipedia:

In the United States the plant is called jimson weed, or more rarely Jamestown weed; it got this name from the town of Jamestown, Virginia, where British soldiers consumed it while attempting to suppress Bacon’s Rebellion. They spent eleven days in altered mental states:

The James-Town Weed (which resembles the Thorny Apple of Peru, and I take to be the plant so call’d) is supposed to be one of the greatest coolers in the world. This being an early plant, was gather’d very young for a boil’d salad, by some of the soldiers sent thither to quell the rebellion of Bacon (1676); and some of them ate plentifully of it, the effect of which was a very pleasant comedy, for they turned natural fools upon it for several days: one would blow up a feather in the air; another would dart straws at it with much fury; and another, stark naked, was sitting up in a corner like a monkey, grinning and making mows [grimaces] at them; a fourth would fondly kiss and paw his companions, and sneer in their faces with a countenance more antic than any in a Dutch droll.

In this frantic condition they were confined, lest they should, in their folly, destroy themselves — though it was observed that all their actions were full of innocence and good nature. Indeed, they were not very cleanly; for they would have wallowed in their own excrements, if they had not been prevented. A thousand such simple tricks they played, and after eleven days returned themselves again, not remembering anything that had passed.

The History and Present State of Virginia, 1705[32]

Love that, “they turned natural fools”…wonder who ever decided tomatillos – which do look similar – would be a good thing to eat!

Finally – over the last week or so – we broke out one of the many areas of concrete that were causing drainage issues. Haven’t really found anything interesting in the dirt underneath – except the front end of this LTD Hot Wheel. Pretty cool. In 1976 my dad bought a new LTD – yellow with a brown top (sounds pretty ugly – but in ’76 it was probably pretty great). I think it’s a sign, ha. Except shortly after purchasing, that car sustained serious damage in a tornado!

LTD

The concrete pad we broke out went right up to the exterior brick walls of the building. So, it was a real surprise this weekend when I went back there and noticed there was a marigold blooming there. Don’t know how the seed got there.

fleur

Michael called it the flor de muerto because of how they’re used in Day of the Dead traditions. I googled it and found this really interesting site called Maya-Ethnobotany.org. Their gallery is very good – especially the photos of ants carrying flowers. But then, I really like ants.

That is all.

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