Archive for July, 2009


July 17th, 2009 No comments

Expected rooting: 8 weeks.

9 cuttings

07/13: Planted 1 per cell in 9 cells.


Categories: Perennials Tags:

A Week in the Garden at “House of Blues”

July 16th, 2009 No comments
Mint plants await their new companions

Pots awaiting new mint plants*

We sometimes refer to our Seattle house as “House of Blues,” although it is a very happy house.  The exterior is painted in three shades of blue, and the nickname also signifies a love we have for certain Southern music.

My week of gardening included starting nine rosemary cuttings, planting six yellow portulacas in the window boxes for upstairs, and doing routine watering and clean-up of the front garden.

Today I noticed the mint starts had begun to root in their glass jars.  They’d originated as a small bundle of organic mint from Safeway’s produce aisle and had been placed in water on about July 8.  What valiant, assertive little sprigs these plants are!  The roots form at the ends of the cuttings, not at nodes, and even the frailest little stems seem to be rooting.  In the back herb-and-flower garden, four pots wait expectantly.  When the mint cuttings have formed sufficient roots, they will join older mint plants from the front garden, which are already at home in the pots.

*In the foreground of the photo– strawberries.

Categories: 2009 - Journal Tags:

Mesclun, Ed Hume

July 15th, 2009 1 comment

Ed Hume / Gourmet Blend
Leaf lettuce, kale, endive, beet greens, spinach, swiss chard, sorrel, corn salad, radicchio, cress, and mustard depending upon availability.
Expected germination: 7-14 days
Expected harvest: 30-50 days

24 seeds

07/15: Planted 2 per cell in 12 cells.
07/18: No visible change.
07/24: Four to six cells excavated, perhaps by squirrel.
07/24: 10 of 24 (42%) have shoots 1/8″ to 3/4″ tall.
08/01: 12 of 24 (50%) have shoots 3/4″ to 2-1/2″ tall.
08/04: Planted out.
08/07: 2″ to 5″ tall.
08/15: 3″ to 7″ tall.
08/16: Begin leaf harvest.
08/23: 4″ to 9″ tall. Harvesting but thin.
08/30: 1-1/2″ to 6″ tall. Harvesting but thin.

Categories: 2009 - Annuals Tags:

Beans, Fava

July 15th, 2009 No comments

Long pod / Cool weather broad bean
Expected germination: 7-14 days
Expected harvest: 85 days

12 seeds

07/15: Planted 1 per cell in 12 cells.
07/18: Three beans have pushed up enough to become visible at the surface.
07/24: Two cells excavated, perhaps by squirrel.
07/24: 5 of 12 (42%) have shoots 0″ to 3/4″ tall.
08/01: 6 of 12 (50%) have shoots 1/2″ to 2-1/2″ tall.
08/04: Planted out.
08/07: 1-1/2″ to 6″ tall.
08/15: 3-1/2″ to 12″ tall.
08/23: 7″ to 19″ tall.
08/30: 10″ to 25″ tall. In flower.
10/27: Started intermittent harvest. Good addition to soups.

Categories: 2009 - Annuals Tags:

Being You

July 15th, 2009 No comments

For weeks I have been trying to write about “being yourself.”  It’s a slippery topic.

I once wrote the following: “To write truly, just make sure you are yourself when you sit down to write.”  (And I should have added, “Keep on checking as you go.”)  The trouble is, I have a big struggle with being myself, myself.

The most helpful things are so simple that it’s no fun writing about them: pay attention to the air in your nostrils; tell the truth, or at least, don’t lie; focus your eyes; keep your own counsel; do what’s right so you can sleep; be poised for action; don’t refuse to be “here,” use your imagination to lighten-up parts of your body.

After a while the whole thing sounds crazy, and the truest things sound craziest.  Well, that’s a beginning.

I picture myself at nineteen.  I am the passenger in a shiny Chevrolet driven by the young man I am dating.  We are driving across the industrial belly of Seattle, on our way to a nightclub.

I am tensely pretending to be what I already am– a nice, attractive nineteen-year-old girl– and desperately trying to think of something that a nice, attractive nineteen-year-old girl might say.

My date turns to me with a disconcerted look and says, “Don’t strain, for God’s sake.  Just be yourself.”

I don’t remember what I thought next, but it must have been something like this:

“Oops! Oh no!  What have I done?  He sees though me!  What if he never calls me again?  How can I fix this?”

And, not knowing what else to do, I would have intensified my pretense of being who I already was.

Because I had no idea what it meant to be yourself, not then and not for a long time afterwards.

The feeling of being not-yourself is a smarmy feeling.  You feel ashamed all the time.  The moral judgments are unrelenting.  If you’re kind and nice, you’re on your case immediately: “I’m so insincere, so sugary, so slimy, and so awful– I bet people see right through me.  Why can’t I be spontaneous and sincere like everybody else?”  If you’re bad, as we all are sometimes, then you’re bad, of course:  “The real me has put in an appearance, and  I’m bad to the core,” you think.  There’s no way out between being slimy and inauthentic or rotten through and through.

Categories: Filosofía Tags:

Spinach Leaf Miner

July 14th, 2009 No comments

Top - Spinach Leaf Miner Damage

Top - Spinach Leaf Miner Damage

Over a couple of days about a third of the swiss chard leaves developed large brown areas from the size of a quarter up to more than half of the leaf. The damage resembled Sunset pictures of Anthacrose and Excessive Sunlight but the circumstances weren’t right. Then we noticed small white blobs under the leaves but they weren’t fuzzy enough to be shed aphid skins. We have now decided that we’re dealing with spinach leaf miner.

The pictures are from a small patch that we just found on one of the remaining leaves. The white blobs – always in a row under the leaf at the edge of a brown patch – are the empty spinach leaf miner eggs.

Underside - Empty Spinach Leaf Miner Eggs

Underside - Empty Spinach Leaf Miner Eggs

Categories: 2009 - Journal Tags:

Weekly Summary

July 10th, 2009 No comments
Where are they now?

Where are they now?

Our first plumbing job.

Our first plumbing job.

Date Lo Hi Notes
07/04 60 86 Harvested some black currants. Thinned and ate some turnip tops.. Broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, and swiss chard heat stressed. Shaded them and watered daily.
07/05 60 85 Started ongoing swiss chard outer leaf harvest.
07/06 56 69 Harvested some gooseberries. Installed two 50′ soaker hoses but performance was unsatisfactory.
07/07 56 70 Started ongoing romaine and butter lettuce outer leaf harvest. Reinstalled the soaker hoses – performance improved but still unsatisfactory.
07/08 55 66 Fresh blackcurrant crumble! Wow!
07/09 57 74
07/10 59 81 Third (and maybe final!) arrangement of soaker hoses. Planted out the peppers and celery from 06/02 and many of the 06/26 seedlings. Started a third batch of radishes. Thinned rutabagas – cooked and ate the leaves and stems. Replaced a section of PVC pipe, 45° elbow, and hose bib used for watering the bushes in the front yard.
Categories: 2009 - Journal Tags:

Radish #3

July 10th, 2009 No comments

French Breakfast
Expected germination: 5-7 days
Expected harvest: 23 days

18 seeds

07/10: Planted 2 per cell in 9 cells.
07/18: 17 of 18 (94%) have shoots 1/2″ to 1-1/2″ tall.
07/23: Planted out.
07/24: 1/2″ to 1″ tall, with foliage diameter 1″ to 3″.
07/25: Several plants found recently dug up but mostly undamaged. Replanted.
07/26: Two plants found recently dug up but mostly undamaged. Replanted.
08/01: 2″ to 3-1/2″ tall, with foliage diameter 3-1/2″ to 10″.
08/03: We’ve let these grow larger than previous radishes. Started harvest today.
08/07: 2″ to 6″ tall, with foliage diameter 6″ to 12″. Harvest continues.
08/12: Completed harvest.

Harvest: 24-33 days

Categories: 2009 - Annuals Tags:

Back Garden Ornamental Maintenance Begins

July 10th, 2009 No comments

Now that we have our “Hose Garden,” an auxiliary watering system installed by Mike, I’ve begun yard maintenance in earnest.  I refer to the lawn and ornamentals.  The end of the week seems a good time to approach the back garden.  Thursday evening the waste disposal containers are put out, and Friday morning they are taken back inside the gate.  Time in the backyard organizing disposal can coincide with watering, weeding and trimming the lawn and ornamentals.  Saturday I plan to mow the lawn, finish watering, and prune, the latter perhaps with help from a certain snazzy Englishman, if he is not otherwise occupied. –MJH

Categories: 2009 - Journal Tags:

Black Currant Crumble

July 9th, 2009 No comments

This one is for anyone who craves black currants in a crumble with a sparkling taste and simple ingredients.  The topping is economical and multi-purpose.  Use it for any fruit crumble and for Dutch apple pie.  This recipe serves eight, but the ingredients lend themselves to smaller batches.

Oven: 375 degrees, f.


  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter or solid margarine


  • 4 cups fresh black currants
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 T. cornstarch
  • 2/3 to 1 cup sugar*

Prepare the topping by cutting the topping ingredients together with pastry fork.  Set aside.  Wash, drain, and tail and top the currants, and set them aside.  Mix the cornstarch and water together until very smooth.  Stir the sugar into the cornstarch mixture.  Gently  stir the mixture into the prepared berries and set aside to rest 15 minutes in an oven-proof dish.  Sprinkle the topping over the currant mixture and pat the topping down lightly.  Bake in a pre-heated oven until the crumble is golden and bubbly.

*The lesser amount of sugar makes a tart crumble, the kind we like.  We recommend using the lesser amount the first time you try the recipe– and go from there.

Categories: Recipes Tags: