Monday, June 25, 2007

Tonight in the garden: Baby crickets! Adorable, no larger than ants, doing figure eights on the back porch, waggling their antlers--no, antennae--to and fro.

Also, the first real snail in a several weeks. And the first tawny slug I've seen in a while, perched atop the hay-covered compost pile in the open yard. Both were doing important work: The snail was devouring a dying nasturium, and the slug would have contributed to the decomposition process, but I can't count on them to stay with these assignments. Tomorrow night they'd discover the beanlings, or the basil, or the Swiss chard which is due to sprout any minute now. So into the deadly vinegar bath.

I hope that if/when I get chickens (to be named Ruby and Hallah, and addressed collectively as chookchooks), that they enjoy the taste of pickled mollusks. Good protein all around, and good calcium in the shells, if they can stand the taste of the vinegar...In the meantime, they get poured onto the weeds embedded the concrete porch.
God I love my garden in the summer. Things I learned this weekend:

1. Bags of steer manure are only .88 at Home Depot.
2. Earthworms don't like steer manure very much. Coffee grounds it is.
3. The Peet's near my house segregates the coffee grounds into tear-proof bags and puts them in an easily accessibly dumpster. I can reach inside said dumpster if I start with the stepstool I keep in my car.
4. Determinate tomatoes are annoying.
5. Indeterminate tomato vines need more support than they get from wussy galvanized metal tomato cages from Home Depot.
6. I can make salsa entirely from my garden except for the onions.
7. Roasted peppers and tomatoes and onions smell like fajitas.
8. Roasted basil, tomatoes and parm is really good.
9. Raspberries turn red waaaay too slow.
10. The ground below where the compost bin used to be really is magical. The beans I've planted elsewhere in the garden either don't sprout, or get eaten by cutworms and slugs before they're two inches tall. The beans I planted where the compost bin used to be grew two inches tall almost overnight, and they don't have so much as a bite taken out of them. They are superbeans! Thank you compost.
11. I think I can make "firewood" out of dried bird of paradise cuttings.