The Garden in a Rainy June

June 14, 2009 at 10:25 am

Brad Moldofsky

For several weeks now, I’ve been enjoying spinach omelets for breakfast, spinach on my lunch sandwiches, and—most recently—a dinner of soup featuring sautéed spinach. The densely packed leaves have been growing out of control, what with the rainy, cool weather we’ve been having. Meanwhile, the tomato and pepper plants that I hadn’t left protected on the porch are dying amidst their broccoli and collard neighbors. The spinach has been heavily nibbled by either insects or critters. The eaten parts seem too rounded to be tooth marks, so I’m leaning toward insects and making sure I rinse it all carefully.

Alongside the spinach are healthy chives and green onions that I nibble on raw when I don’t have an important meeting coming up. Five of the six cucumber seedlings have been destroyed by birds who swoop down into the uncovered portion of the garden from time to time. The peas are stunted, I believe, by the lack of sunlight, but the beans are coming up healthy and the basil and parsley that surround the dying tomato plants are holding their own nicely.

In the front yard, a potato stalk that had grown nearly 3 feet tall cracked halfway up and toppled over in the wind or was pushed by somebody. Nonetheless, new shoots have come up and I believe the spuds are doing well. To be certain, I dumped a load of compost and soil on top, to prevent the fruit from being exposed to sunlight, which would render them inedible. Parsley and basil are coming up in the brick herb spiral that my older boy and I built last year.

The two square foot gardens in back have had mixed success. Everything but the tomatoes, peppers and eggplant are growing well. One broccoli is budding well, and parts of it are actually turning into yellow flowers, which are apparently edible, though a little spicy. Actually, the entire head of broccoli is technically a flower. But eating the yellow part was a first for me. Mostly bland, I’d say, with a hint of unpleasant sulfuric broccoli scent.

One problem is that the plastic poultry netting fence I’d constructed for the western raised bed is only two feet tall, and the potato plants are growing through the mesh so quickly that soon I’ll either have to redirect them, trim them down, or raise the cage another foot.
So despite most everybody complaining about the inclement weather, I’ve diversified the backyard farm well enough to take advantage of the situation. Now all I have to worry about is the fact that we might be selling the house before I’m able to harvest everything.