Nasturtium and alyssum

Nasturtium and alyssum

Why does the best gardening weather always happen during the work week? Summer heat and humidity finally arrived and, according to the forecast, it will be around for awhile. Up until now the weather this summer has been my idea of perfect but that is over. Today was 90F (32C) with humidity near tropical. In addition the air is smokey due to forest fires in Canada. Smoke from Canada, humidity from the Gulf of Mexico, and Minnesota sandwiched in between. Oh yes, I think now I am supposed to remember standing at the bus stop at 6:30 a.m. in January and shivering in -40F&C wind chills. Ah those were the days!

The garden grows and grows. The corn is thinking of tassels, the blackberry has a few flowers on it, the gooseberries are almost ripe, the pumpkins are flowering and vining, the beans are going like gangbusters, and I pulled up five garlic bulbs big enough to eat and there is still more in the garden.

The Amy Pond saga continues. We could not find a small enough solar pump or fountain locally so Bookman ordered one on

Corn is waist high!

Corn is waist high!

the internet. It has not arrived yet. We could not wait for it because after two days we had mosquito larva in the pond already. Wednesday Bookman picked up four goldfish at the fish store. The next morning on my way through the garden to catch my bus, I discovered the raccoon had returned in the night. It tried hard to get the fish. It moved the bricks and rocks around, it pulled leaves from the floating water plants, but the fish managed to escape the carnage. The raccoon came back a few nights later and tried again. The fish survived. Except the next afternoon one of the four went belly-up probably from all the stress. The solar pump will be delivered Monday or Tuesday and between fish and pump we should manage to make it through the rest of the summer without becoming a mosquito breeding ground.

Bookman with pepper

Bookman with pepper

One thing I have noticed with the pond, the outdoor neighborhood cats like to stop at it in the mornings and afternoons for a sip. And even though I still have the frog birdbath fountain going, the birds really like the pond a lot. In fact, it seems most critters prefer the pond to the fountain which is staying much cleaner this year because the wildlife isn’t using it as much. In spite of froggy being lonely I will still keep him going because I like to hear the water splashing when it is sunny.

One of the things I have become interested in over the last couple of years is learning about edible weeds, dandelion being the one everyone is most familiar with. Pre-blogging days I actually bought dandelion seeds from a seed catalog even though my yard was full of them. The seeds I bought were for French dandelions, they were supposed to somehow be better than my American ones. I planted them in a row in the garden and eagerly awaited their sprouting, imagining how delicious their greens were going to taste. Not one sprouted.

Fast forward to this year. Did I learn a lesson from the French dandelions? Of course I didn’t. At the plant sale Bookman

scarlet runner beans

scarlet runner beans

and I attend every year they had on offer edible weeds: four purslane for $2 and a chickweed for $1. I have these growing in my garden like the weeds they are. They had not sprouted yet, and it was still early spring. So I bought some.

The purslane was a different variety that what I had seen in my garden. My purslane was smaller leaved and darker green. The purslane I bought had bigger leaves and was a yellowy-green. I planted it and within two weeks it was eaten to the ground. Every time it has tried to come back, something eats it. Meanwhile, the purslane weeds I paid nothing for have been coming up all over the garden and I have been pulling them out like crazy. Nothing wants to eat them, not even me apparently. Who wants to eat free weeds when there are weeds I paid for being regularly snacked on by something?

Marshmallow

Marshmallow

As for the chickweed, it was so very tiny and delicate when I bought it. I planted it carefully, watched it grow and begin to spread. Oh it was starting to look really good. Just a little bigger and I can pick some to add to salad. And then we had a week-long dry spell during which I didn’t think to water the chickweed. Why would I need to, it should be able to withstand a dry week, it’s a weed. Of course it didn’t make it. It dried out and became a crunchy skeleton of its former self. Meanwhile, I am now regularly pulling chickweed from my vegetable beds. It’s everywhere. And even after a week of no rain, it is showing no signs of shriveling up. Of course I have no interest in eating this free chickweed, how could it be as tasty as the now dead one I paid a dollar for?

Have I learned my lesson? I don’t know. If someone told me quackgrass was edible and high in vitamin C and iron and had a slightly peppery taste, put it in a pot with a price tag of $2, I would probably buy it and plant it and watch it die while I cursed the quackgrass I yanked out from the strawberry bed.

Dinner this evening involves calendula flowers made into a pilaf. Did you know that calendula is a cheap substitute for saffron? I just found that out from a book on herbs which is where I got the recipe for the pilaf. There will also be green beans and kale at dinner. Yum.

Bookman saved me by uploading the text before he went off to work. I will add photos and a video tour of the herb spiral and polyculture garden tonight so check back later or tomorrow.

Update: I have internet! I have all my files! Woo! I added the photos and below is a video tour of the herb spiral and polyculture bed. Enjoy!

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