I read a really good gardening book this week called Hellstrip Gardening: Create a Paradise Between the Sidewalk and the Curb by Evelyn J. Hadden. She discusses the challenges of gardening in this no man’s land and offers ideas for how to cope with those challenges. My challenges are poor soil and several feet of snow mixed with salt and deicer that gets plowed up from the street every winter. So far I have two small beds in this area of my yard. They were so hard to get going too but after years of trying and killing large numbers of plants I have found a number that thrive in the badlands. I have space for two more beds and have been trying to figure out what to try and now I have some great ideas thanks to this book. If you are looking to beautify your own hellstrip, get your hands on a copy of this book for some great ideas and inspiration.
The saga of Amy Pond continues. We installed the solar pump last Sunday. It was cloudy but the pump was still working andwe set it all up and were happy. Lesson number one: never set up a solar pump on a mostly cloudy day. The sun came out very late in the day but we did not notice anything amiss until I walked by the pond on my way to the bus the next morning to discover it was empty. What? How? Bookman filled the pond up before going off to work. When I came home that evening of a very sunny day, I checked on the pond. Empty again! But, I noticed the ground on one side of the pond was kind of damp. Can you figure out what happened? Since we adjusted the pump and the little fountain nozzle when it was cloudy, when the sun came out and the pump and fountain were going full force, it shot up and sprayed all the water out of the pond. I am only sorry I never got to see it happen.
We refilled the pond, shortened the fountain stem, and while it was sunny, adjusted it all so the water just burbled at the surface of the pond. Oy. Then we had a raccoon visit again. And now the pump has decided to stop working and we don’t know why. I can’t find that the raccoon chewed anything on the wiring or broke the pump, so it is a mystery why it suddenly stopped working. On the positive side, in spite of the raccoon and the pond being drained to within an inch of empty twice, there is still one, hardy goldfish keeping things mosquito-free. That survivor goldfish is my hero.
Now, I was hoping to reveal something super fun, a repurposing of the Doctor Who salt and pepper shakers we found earlier in the week, but since the pump has decided to stop working the project is postponed. The plan, when it all gets up and running again, is to turn the Tardis into a tiny fountain. At the moment it is just sitting forlorn in the pond with the dalek looking on. Exterminate! Exterminate!
We’ve had a couple of hot, dry days and the peas are definitely done now. Very happily I got almost as many peas this second time around as I did the first. So tasty. I will miss you fresh peas. The beans are still going and now the zucchini is too. We had zucchini “noodles” with a spicy peanut sauce earlier in the week this evening we are having breaded zucchini along with some salad. The zucchini is ramping up its production though so soon we will be frantically making and freezing zucchini bread and trying our hand at making zucchini relish as well as drying a bunch to try in soups over the winter.
Meanwhile, the pumpkin vines are escaping the confines of their bed and zooming off across the garden to take overeverything. And the corn, well, two weeks ago it was chest high on me and now it is taller than I am. We have decided that once we get ears of corn, we will put nylon stockings over them to protect them from critters. Hopefully that will work. We just came up with the idea ourselves and I haven’t gone looking to see if anyone else has tried it with success. I probably should do a bit of research before we go and buy a bunch of cheap stockings at the drugstore.
This week I have a video for you of the anise hyssop and all the bees buzzing on it. You will also see a red admiral butterfly. We have had a huge swallowtail butterfly visit it a number of times but it was not present when I took the video and when it did drop by and I ran out with my camera to try and get a photo I was too fussy trying to get a good angle and a decent close up and it flew away with me yelling “please come back!” after it. Oh well. The red admiral still came by and looks lovely as do all “my” bumblebees. Enjoy!