Thursday, May 26, 2011

We both were feeling "blue" over the disappointing dinner on our anniversary. That seems kind of shallow, I mean, who cares? In the scheme of things it isn't important. But, we rarely take days off from work completely. Working at home, in such a flexible fashion means that work is always there, the line is rarely drawn. So a stolen weekday off after the semester's end is much anticipated. And Bob's job is very, very demanding. Finally, '09 and '10 for him were filled with surgery and recovery, especially at this time of year. Both summers were impacted significantly.

I decided that we had to do something fun and life-affirming last night. So we went to Becker's in East Greenbush and bought the annuals! Bob said, "this is like going to a botanical garden." (Or, he added, like Magic Wings.)

Worked like a charm, Now the problem is that I want to go outside and plant them! Most years, I wait to buy plants until I've rototilled, and I target that for shortly after Memorial Day. My grandfather said that the ground isn't warm enough for tomato plants until then, and I always follow that rule. I see others planting much earlier, but occasionally they lose their more delicate seedlings (such as basil) when we have a cold snap. I never do, and my plants always catch up. Another piece of wisdom that works: plants seeds when the moon is getting bigger, as it grows toward the full moon, not after the full moon, as it is gradually getting smaller.

I make sure I clear my plate of deadlines and spend two full days working outside in early June, assuming the weather is right. I rototill, get my plants, and put them in. After the seeds are up, I take another day to mulch to prevent weeds and keep in moisture.

However, jumping the gun to combat blueness has created a distraction! I am not concerned about putting the plants in a couple days before Memorial Day - it's close enough, and it isn't predicted to be cold anyway. But I didn't clear my plate! And this is a Samsonville weekend, so I can't catch up then.

This year I'm going to grow something I've never tried before: Eggplant. My sister calls it "the official Giuliano favorite vegetable." That's true. If polled, more than a few of us would list eggplant parmesan as our favorite food, me included, and the rest would say it was top five or higher. The plants I got are white eggplant = I'm especially excited. I only grow things in my garden patch that are winners in terms of productivity, so I focus on cucumbers and green beans in the ground. (Last year I started using Page Seeds after years of buying from Seeds of Change. Not to take anything away from SoC (a wonderful vendor), but Page is local/upstate and the germination rate was unbelievable! The plants were also very hearty with high yields. Highly recommended.) I plant everything else in containers, and that is the plan for the eggplant. My sister-in-law had great success with container eggplant a few years ago. Uncle Bud calls eggplant "the commune plant" because so many kinds of bugs love to eat the leaves. I'm hoping the container approach will help me win that battle without chemicals.

That same SIL emailed me last night. We have a sort of family community garden at my parents' farm. It has the blazing sun that produces high yields, and space enough to have a huge fenced-in area. She let me know my brother tilled it, and it is ready to go! Among other things, I will plant the leftover cucumber seeds and zucchini. Zucchini parmesan is pretty darn good too! I know it has the rep of being overly productive, but to me, that's a feature, not a bug. It does not grow well in Castleton - soil has too much clay and the yard is too shady, but in Samsonville, Bob could almost open the stand of his daydreams.

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