Monday, November 28, 2011

Both coming and going

 It's never "done" outside, right? Not only that I could make things look a little better or work a little more efficiently, it's just that with a living system, there is no "done." One thing could come to an end, but the circle of life rolls right on, over and over and over. Bane and boon to me, and a good thing to remember when I have an overdeveloped sense of my own importance. Some day, I'm going to be compost, too.

Lettuce seeds are finally, finally poking up. This is terribly blurry, but it's repeating all over a bed. The lettuces I planted from transplants are ready enough to eat tonight, once I figure out what to have for dinner.


The nursery-planted onions are also looking pretty nice, despite being used as a bed by Taz on sunny days. Will the dogs never cease their garden depredations? I hope someday to start enough cipollini from seed to grow jars of pickled baby onions. A girl (or future compost) has to dream, right?

From what I read, asparagus is supposed to be cut back when it dies for the winter. It's my great hope that that yellowing is presaging the winter die-back, because our seasons sometimes trick plants into acting strangely. The Anna apple behind the asparagus, for instance, is putting out a last two or so apples.

Even though it was chilly and overcast when I was out there, a few intrepid bees were flying. I couldn't catch enough with the still camera and didn't even think to use the video! I counted four distinct pollen colors -- bright white (one bee was almost completely covered with white pollen, in addition to her pollen baskets), red, and pale and strong yellow. I hope things are okay in the hives. Unless I see drastic and obvious problems, they're pretty much on their own until spring.

If this predator had been inside the hive, for instance, it would have indicated a weakening of the defense system. I watched for a good while and didn't see anything to lead to the conclusion that the yellow jacket was not scavenging among the dead bees out front. Every hive has some, and it's easy meat. Yellow jackets, the jackals of the skies. . .

Elsewhere, everywhere I looked, seeds I had not planted were leaping into growth. Some were welcomed, like this ruby chard. I don't like it enough really to plant it -- but it's nice enough, and edible, and I'll eat small leaves in salads and stuff the big ones, so up it grows, right by a snow pea.


I'm beginning to believe that some of the missed Italian shelling beans will actually get to produce a green bean or two before it gets too cold. I'd never, ever plant beans in September, but here you go!


Volunteer tomatoes, on the other hand, are going to be pulled no matter what the season.The little kale next to the onion gets to live until I want to eat it.


We're still enjoying the fruits of some of the volunteers. A Kubocha squash I didn't plant under the apple tree nevertheless just came out of the oven, soft and ready to puree for soup (yay for bacon trimmings to fry up) and the heavily cut-back kale is still roaring along. Since the tiny volunteer Red Russians among the onions are yet babies, these make a nice stopgap.


el said...

Look at you busy bee doing all these posts! Are you back in the saddle?

All the volunteers I see would be welcome here. I adore baby spinach volunteers: they show up in the oddest places for me.

And by all means hack that asparagus back down to the ground. It needs a bit of time to recalibrate. And your kale: I have successfully grown/overgrown a red Russian kale for 2 years now just by hacking it back. Sure it blooms every year then I find its babies growing in its shade. But yeah, some of the kale leaves are huge, like dinnerplate size, and super tender. Which is good because I grew a lot of winterbor (scotch, heavily savoyed) kale and the kid hates the stuff in her raw-kale salad... anyway, I agree: you can't really be "done," especially where you live! No rest for the weary.

Stefaneener said...

That's me, el -- I'm tired of being such a slugwoman.

I'll give the asparagus until December. Not so much because I'm overgenerous, but because I'm overwhelmed. Ha.

I've been transplanting kale volunteers around the garden. They don't seem to mind. I bet the lacinato would be great as volunteers.

Erin said...

We still have bees slowly flying around too, what a strange weather year for us here!

GrafixMuse said...

Our garden is pretty much "done" once winter takes hold. Not much can be done outside when everything is frozen and covered with snow. Since our growing season is so short, a lot is garden produce is ready for harvest all at once. Canning and preserving happens every weekend for a few months. Winter gives me chance to pause and plan the garden for spring. I both like and dislike the break from gardening. Your pictures of sprouting lettuce, young onions, and volunteers make me yearn for spring and a new beginning to the garden.

Daphne said...

I love all the volunteers. I love when things volunteer in my garden. Right now it is just the herbs though.

Stefaneener said...

Erin, I expect my bees to be out every time it's over 45 here. There is something blooming all year 'round, so they have things to do.

GrafixMuse, you'd have to do a full Eliot Coleman to get year 'round harvests, right? I kind of envy your break, and the insect-dampening it must cause.

Daphne, good volunteers are easy to welcome, aren't they?

Blogger said...

SwagBucks is a very popular work from home website.