Garden 2014: Memorial Day (Day 1)

Photo May 26, 2 38 32 PM

While some were busy remembering and others were busy posting trite imagery to Facebook, we here at Al Dente HQ spent Memorial Day doing the spring task that we like least. Gardening itself is not that bad, but the cleanup is terrible.

Part of this is because of the jungle that occupies more than two-thirds of our lot’s frontage. It’s the mass of bushes, weeds, stones, weeds and perennials. And weeds. The Wife (pictured above planting some flowers) and I were talking about this earlier during our lunch break. It didn’t look too bad during the first summer, but unless you are willing to spend 2 to 3 hours a week in maintenance, it ends up overgrown and looking like shit.

And six years later, we have done nothing to remedy the shitness. We joke about dousing it in diesel and letting the fuel burn everything out. We’ve talked about renting one of those hourly pickups from The Home Depot and yanking the bushes. Our lawn guy guesses that ripping it out will cost at least $1,500 and that’s without taking a close look or replacing it with anything.

Photo May 26, 2 38 16 PM (HDR)

So, the shit garden remains. I’ve been in it a couple of times. The previous owners had two or three large railroad timbers holding bird and squirrel feeders. I have no idea how they were secured because I pushed them over with no effort. The “driftwood” they claimed was in there turned out to be rotted wood. I got as much out as I could before giving up. I quit easily.

What kills me is that some people would love the challenge of maintaining that. They would revel in keeping up with the season to be delighted by what springs up next. And then there is The Wife who wants to buy out The Home Depot’s stock of RoundUp’s “kill it all” spray.

I digress…

Plants, herbs and veggies are in the ground and my ankles are elevated and swollen. Of course, my body looks naturally swollen so the ankles are just a product of today. I digress again…

This year’s herbs came from Delaney Farms in the town of Onondaga. A lovely redheaded girl helped me pick out my flowers and herbs on Saturday at the Regional Market. She was so damn nice that I’m pretty sure she would have come over to plant everything today if I asked. Delaney brings in the best corn at the market each Saturday and they might have the best stuff in the entire county this side of Emmi’s. And I don’t really like corn on the cob.

This year, I got tomato plants from Wyllie Fox Farms of Cato. This organic farm had been attacked by customers early on Saturday, as I bought their last four Roma tomato plants and their final three San Marzano plants. They are new to the market this year, I believe. They had a big variety of tomatoes, herbs and the like, but the popular stuff was gone by the time I rolled up at 9 a.m. I actually wanted a couple of tomatillo plants but even those little buggers were sold out.

Photo May 26, 2 38 09 PM

So, here’s what we have for garden season 2014:

Herbs (from left to right): Lemon thyme 2013 (Yeah, last year’s lemon thyme has grown back in), lemon thyme 2014, flowering fennel (I can dry it for herbal purposes), basil, parsley and dill.

The two tomato plants to the left are San Marzano tomatoes, while the two to the right are Romas. The one in the middle is for The Kid to take care of. When she was two, she planted her own green beans. Last year, when she was three, she helped her mother water all of our stuff. This year, she gets royal burgundy beans that will yield purple beans at the end. She won’t eat them, but she will obsess over them this summer. At worst, she floods them out and I lose $3. At best, she eats the beans. I’m hoping for at least the middle, where she takes care of the plant and gains a sense of pride and accomplishment.

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