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Happy potatoes

Happy potatoes

The week gave the garden some good rain and some good sun. Everything is green, green, green and the weeds are growing like, well weeds. It is impossible to keep up with them. Even when we mulch they still manage to find places where the mulch is thin and then they spread from there. Sigh.

The good news is that the replanting of the polyculture bed was a success. The radishes are coming up like crazy, the beets are poking up too and couple beans are just pushing up. I was talking with a gardening friend the other day and she said she had to replant her beets and lettuce too because nothing had come up. I feel a little better now because I can say it was nothing I did wrong. Neither of us was able to speculate why our first seeding did not take, but it’s working now so I’m happy. If only I can get rid of the two rabbits we keep having to chase out of the garden. They have eaten almost all of the sunflowers and they left one of the sweet potato plants with only one leaf. Since the other two plants still have all their leaves, I am assuming they are not tasty. I hope the singled leafed one is not doomed to die.

Speaking of potatoes, the regular potatoes are doing amazing. We mounded up dirt and are now using straw because we don’t have any more dirt. That’s fine, it will be easier to get to the potatoes with the straw than with the dirt. At least that’s what the literature says.

Two years ago we planted a white peony. I didn’t expect the little thing to bloom the first year. Last year it

white peony

white peony

grew into a stumpy shin-high plant that didn’t flower and didn’t look like it was ever going to do anything at all. This year, it has come back big and strong and has given us some pretty bright white flowers with the faintest smudge of creamy yellow in the middle. We got to enjoy them for two days and then it poured rain on them last night and flattened them. Peonies and rain never go together. But the climbing rose is starting to bloom and is doing as well as ever.

Does anyone know what to do with winter savory? I planted some in the herb spiral last year. It is a pretty

winter savory gone wild

winter savory gone wild

perennial herb, and this year it is going crazy. But Bookman has never had a recipe that calls for the herb and we are at a loss as to what exactly to do with it. Any suggestions are welcome! Remember though, we’re vegan so don’t tell me it tastes good on beef or fish, etc. that does me no good.

Because the city is discontinuing the program that provides free wood chips, Bookman and I have been struggling to decide what to do about the wood chip paths through the garden. They have reached the point where the chips need to be replenished. We tried to get a chip delivery from tree companies last year but no one had any which struck me as odd but whatever. I refuse to buy bagged mulch, I don’t trust where it comes from. At least with local chips I know they come from trees the city trimmed or had to remove. I don’t want to buy bagged mulch

changing wood chips to gravel

changing wood chips to gravel

that might be from trees that were cut down for the express purpose. So we decided to put down gravel at least on the main garden path. Those bags are heavy! Since we have only a small car we can only do a few bags at a time but we made a pretty good start.

Our poor corn field. We planted quite a lot of popcorn this year instead of sweet corn and it was coming up great. We removed the row cover fabric last week when most of the plants were a couple inches tall. During the week the wascally rabbits have thinned the field. We still have ten plants but when it was double that you can see why I might be disappointed. Today I planted pole beans by each of the cornstalks and a few extra in one empty corner where we will make a twig teepee for them to climb up. I also planted pie pumpkins and because the bed is bigger than last year I planted even more vines, about 12 seeds in all. If they all germinate the garden in fall will be buried under pumpkin vines. And if each vine produces 2 pumpkins, well you do the orange math. I love pumpkin however, and if I really end up with 12-24 of them I will try making my own pumpkin butter. Have you ever had it? It is so gosh darn heavenly delicious.

The Royal Horticulture Society in Great Britain has been doing some fab work on gardening and climate change. They have a website with helpful information for gardeners and they recently produced a report on climate change and urban gardening. Did you know that just a 10% increase in planting urban areas will help keep cities cooler? Urban gardens also assist with flood control and they help support wildlife. And of course, gardening is good for people too providing stress relief and exercise. Spend an afternoon lifting bags of dirt, cinder blocks and bags of pea gravel and there is no need to go to the gym! Plus, being outdoors you get vitamin D and a big dose of vitamin N(ature), two things the gym definitely can’t offer.

The week ahead looks to be warm, approaching hot, and dry. Good thing the rain barrels are full!

Biking
Yesterday Astrid and I managed to ride 54.2 miles/87km! My longest distance yet. It is a good thing Bookman and I went to the bike shop on Friday afternoon where I got a second water bottle and cage. I also got some snazzy gloves with gel in key places and for the first time my hands weren’t tingling and numb when I was done with my ride. Win! I also got a little under the seat bag to hold my patch kit and what-not. Now the only things I carry in my pockets are what I most want access to, my lip balm and my snacks!

You shall not pass

You shall not pass

I rode out along a regional trail I had not been on before. Once again it took a hop across the street and I missed the signage, went left when I should have gone right and took a tour of the suburbs and the astonishingly large mcmansions and expanses of green lawn. It was completely cringe worthy. The people who were out were nice to me though, saying hi as I rode by.

Eventually, my map and I found our way back to the trail only to run up against a closed sign five minutes later. Apparently with some recent rains there was a mudslide and trail washout. Sigh. So I turned around and got to see the part of the trail I had missed before due to my wrong turn. And then I got to another part of the trail where I couldn’t tell which way it was supposed to go. After much backing and forthing I finally figured out which branch I was supposed to take. The rest of the ride was fairly uneventful.

One part of my ride took me along the Mississippi River a portion of which runs north of downtown Minneapolis.

St Anthony Falls

St Anthony Falls

Minneapolis was founded was a flour milling town and back in the days of the mills, they built an artificial waterfall in the river to power them. The mills are gone now and one that remains has been turned into a pretty fantastic museum. The falls are still there as is a lock and dam system that was created to get the river traffic past the falls. The falls are called St. Anthony. I snapped a photo to give you an idea of what it looks like. you can see part of the falls in the background and in the foreground is part of the lock. There is a lookout park there that was super crowded so I didn’t try to ride in for a better view and photo. Behind me is the old flour mill that is now a museum. Part of the bike trail runs across what was once an old wooden road next to the mill. It’s a bumpy ride, but it is also kind of fun riding over and by a piece of history.

In some recent internet clicking, I came across a website called Velominati. It is pretty hardcore cycling and fairly male-centric but what was amusing was the long page of ”rules” that cover important things like tan lines, the allowed matching options for saddle, bars and tires, how to properly hang your helmet on your bike, those kinds of things. One of my favorites though is rule 38, Don’t play leap frog:

Train Properly: if you get passed by someone, it is nothing personal, just accept that on the day/effort/ride they were stronger than you. If you can’t deal, work harder. But don’t go playing leap frog to get in front only to be taken over again (multiple times) because you can’t keep up the pace. Especially don’t do this just because the person overtaking you is a woman. Seriously. Get over it.

Yes!

There were lots of women out riding yesterday which made me so very happy. And I even got a compliment from one of them. I was moving at a pretty good pace and a woman came alongside and as she passed she said, I’ve been trying to catch you for a very long time! You’re doing great! Squee! Best bike compliment ever.

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