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Chinese Cabbage – Beijing 1989

In the fall of 1989 there was a bumper crop of Chinese Cabbage in Beijing. This was before ‘capitalism with Chinese characteristics’ and everyone was required to buy 40 kilograms (over 80 pounds of cabbage). The Chinese cabbages were trucked into Beijing, piled up on street corners, in front of the state stores – and everywhere. Then it had to be bought, taken home and stored, in courtyards, in apartment building hallways and balconies – everywhere.

Chinese cabbage riding home

 

Chinese cabbage in shopping carts.

 

 

Chinese cabbages stored in Beijing courtyards

 For more Wordlessness this Wednesday click here.   (Forgive the formatting. Computer acting out today)  I’ve written about our time in Beijing here and here.  And here.

 

Microgreens with Dinner Tonight!

Microgreens

I planted these microgreens on February 2 and tonight I am harvesting them for our supper. Nothing could be simpler. Put seed starting mix in a container, press it down slightly, scatter your seeds which can be a mix from a company like Botanical Interests which I used, or seeds of any greens you have on hand – asian greens, radishes, beets etc. – and in two weeks or  so you will have a harvestable crop. In addition, microgreens are super nutritious!  I am sprinkling mine on my lettuce for a real boost.

The peas I planted are taking longer, but I should be able to harvest them in another week or so. I have three more little flats of microgreens coming along, and more pea shoots too. It’s February and I’m gardening!

Pea Shoots

This photo was taken 2-14, Valentine’s Day. Not quite ready for dinner.

Garden Planning II – What Does the Garden Need?

            

Green and wax beans

 

For me garden planning is difficult because I am always rushing about with a new idea for a new project. Things work out in the end, but I understand the unfettered enthusiasm that a new gardener, or a gardener with a new space, feels as she looks out at that space. However, I know that the best way forward is to move thoughtfully, and maybe with a pad and pencil in hand.

            First, inventory your new site. Make a rough sketch, don’t worry about scale, that will indicate the space the house and any outbuildings take, as well as any other permanent elements, trees, shrubs, fences, and paving.

            On your sketch note the aspects, north, south, east and west. This will give you a basic idea of the sunniest and shadiest parts of your site. It will really take a year of careful observation to understand how shade moves across your site. Indeed, if you can keep yourself in check for a whole year, it is a good idea to see what plants are already in the landscape, as well as the movement of light and shade.

            “Form follows function” is one of my favorite quotes. What functions will be performed in your garden? Do you need play space for children? Do you enjoy meals in the garden? Do you enjoy entertaining in the garden? Do you want vegetables and other edibles? Or flowers? Do you want to eliminate lawn?

            I am not really talking about garden design here, which is a very big topic, but if you think about the ways you need, or want, to use your space you can begin to think how your garden planning might arrange those elements into a harmonious whole.

            After you consider what you need and want, you must consider what any garden needs and wants. The first need is a fertile soil. In our neighborhood you can generally assume that you have acid soil. You can buy a soil testing kit that will measure the pH or acidity. You can also get a full soil test from the University of Massachusetts that will not only give you the pH, but also a measure of your nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium as well as vital trace elements. After many years I did a full soil test for my vegetable garden in 2012 and found that all the years of adding compost, lime to raise the pH, rock phosphate for phosphorus, and greensand for potassium really paid off. Now I have good fertile soil with nine percent organic matter. My efforts always go into feeding the soil.

            Since your soil needs organic matter, and your garden will ultimately give you substantial organic matter, find a place to put a compost pile. Compost will not attract pests as long as you only put in vegetable matter. No meat scraps!

            Fortunately you can buy beautiful compost locally. A truckload is a luxurious way to begin a new garden. Martin’s Farm and Bear Path Farm are excellent local sources.

 I have had great success starting a new bed by using the lasagna or sheet composting method. First, mow or clear the space as cleanly as possible. Give it a deep watering. Then spread four or five inches of good compost and water again.

            On top of the compost use a layer of cardboard. Some use several layers of newspaper, but I prefer cardboard. Since you will probably be using several pieces of cardboard make sure there is plenty of overlap. Wet and soak the cardboard.

            Top the cardboard with soil or a mixture of soil and compost. The quality of the soil matters very little because the roots will be growing through the rotting cardboard and into the layer of compost. Once you have your lasagna bed you can just maintain it with annual fertilization.

Of course, you can just dig your bed and till in compost and fertilizers. I always use organic fertilizers and more compost because I am feeding the soil. Healthy soil is filled with living organisms that will give you healthy crops and beautiful flowers. A healthy plant is more resistant to both pests and disease. A healthy plant in healthy soil.

Raised beds inside a frame are very popular now, but I warn you, that even a raised bed with enriched soil will eventually need weeding.

            Water is absolutely essential especially if you have a vegetable garden. An ornamental garden can be left to itself in a drought, and will recover fairly well when the rains come, but vegetables require regular and adequate watering.

            Soaker hoses work well in the garden. The black hoses are almost invisible as the plants grow. They efficiently put the water near plant roots where it is needed. Using a sprinkler is fine, but then watering must be done early in the day so foliage will dry before evening. Most of us try to use water efficiently because in town wasted water has implications for the water bill, or for the sustainability of the well in the country.

            Water is essential for plant growth. It is also a desirable ornamental element. With small submersible pumps available, some that solar powered, it is easy to set up a fountain or even a tiny stream or pond. What luxury to sit in the garden and hear the burble of running water.

            We are edging into the realm of garden design now. Next week I’ll be talking about the mixed border, and lawns.

            Between the Rows   January 11, 2014

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds Catalog – First of the Year

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds catalog 2014

The new Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds catalog for 2014 came in the mail the other day. For the past few years the Baker Creek catalog has been a thing of beauty, but this year’s Whole Seed Catalog, billed as the World Largest Seed Catalog, is 355 glossy pages of fabulous photographs of heirloomvegetables. There are famous, beautiful and excellent nursery catalogs, but this book has taken the seed catalog to a whole new level.

Jere Gettle with Emilee and young Sasha

Jere Gettle is an amazing man. In 1998, at the age of 17, he printed his first heirloom seed catalog. It looked very different from this one. Talk about a Wish Book! It is filled with 1,500 vegetable, herb and flower varieties, profiles of seed farmers, seed explorers, recipes, and information about festivals and celebrations. The Heirloom Festival nearest to us is at the historic Comstock, Ferre & Co. (now owned by Gettle) in Wethersfield, Connecticut on May 25, 2014. The largest is the National Heirloom Exposition which will be held in Santa Rosa on September 9-11, 2014. Produce displays, 100 speakers, vendors and music! Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds seems to be more than a seed company, it works on conservation, education and celebration! They even have a Facebook page.

I have written about Jere Gettle before, but this catalog shows me that he has been very busy since then. His commitment to fighting GMO seeds continues. He not only finds heirloom seeds from the US, but from countries around the world including Syria. He partnered with the First Presbyterian Church in Anselmo to work with the Bare Root Tree Project in Afghanistan. This organization has become the umbrella organization that brings trees, seeds and water systems to Afghanistan. The Heirloom Gardener magazine is in its 10th year of publication and their new Baker Creek Vegan Cookbook joins the Heirloom Life Gardener published in 2011.

The Whole Seed Catalog will be for sale in bookstores, but their beautiful and informative regular catalog will be available as usual.

Broccoli – The Alpha Vegetable

 

Last of the broccoli side sprouts in my garden

Broccoli is a popular vegetable at our house. I like to have a head of broccoli on hand and I’m always happy during gardening season when I go out and get enough for supper any time I like. Even after harvesting the main head of broccoli, I can always collect a few of the numerous side sprouts that appear over  time, sufficient for dinner for two.

I had never thought of broccoli as anything other except a nutritious vegetable that was a staple of my everyday menus. Therefore I was surprised when last week’s Sunday New York Times had an article promoting broccoli as the ‘alpha vegetable’ ready to take on trendy kale as a the winner in the produce shopping sweepstakes. However,  broccoli certainly is a super vegetable when you consider that it is rich in Vitamin A and C and the B vitamins. High in protein, low in calories.

Actually the article was about the NYTimes itself working with the ad agency Victors & Spoils to come up with a campaign that would be as effective in getting people to eat more vegetables and fruit, not just broccoli, as are the familiar ads for soft drinks and chips. It gave alarming statistics from 2010 stating that diet had become the number one risk factor for disease and death, overtaking smoking. It also stated that one in three children is on the way to developing diabetes.

The article reported that the Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human services who write the Dietary Guidelines for Americans found that only five percent of people under 50 are eating the recommended amounts of vegetables. In general we Americans are eating only half the amount of vegetables and fruits that are recommended for good health.

This is not really news, but statistics, articles and books about the importance of a veggie rich diet have not inspired grocery shoppers and cooks to change their habits. It is true that we are all busy and don’t have time to think about our dinner menus, and it is also true that advertising greatly affects what we buy at the market. This has been proven many times over when a novel ad campaign results in substantial upticks in food sales.

What to do? Would a really great ad campaign get people eating better, and increase our national health? The New York Times and Victors & Spoils were willing to give it a try. Reporter Michael Moss, worked with agency staff who spoke to people who didn’t like broccoli and farmers who grow broccoli. They looked at other successful ad campaigns. The result was a campaign that pitted broccoli against kale, the newly trendy vegetable that everyone is talking about and eating. A faux battle certainly worked for Coke and Pepsi when sales increased for both during the great soda war.

They came up with lines like “Eat Fad Free: Broccoli v. Kale” and “Broccoli: Now 43 Percent Less Pretentious Than Kale.” Posters and billboards and other ad venues could be used.

Victors & Spoils designed the campaign, but of course we are not apt to see it unless farm and agriculture organizations had the money to put it into action. We’ll see.

It was fun to read the article and gain some insight about how ad agencies come up with their ideas, who they talk to, and how they identify issues and consider human psychology. It was fun to see them come up with slogans like “Since When Do Super Foods Have to Be Super Trendy?”

Sarah Hollister’s Kale

Because November is Thanksgiving month I’ve been thinking about all the things that I am thankful for. Besides those blessings of wonderful family and good friends I have to add the joys of living in an area where delicious local produce is available for a good part of the year.

Since we moved to Heath at the end of 1979 there has been an increasing interest in the state of our environment, and the state of our health. Out of these increasing concerns we have seen a number of small new, sustainably run farms dotting the landscape. We have seen a rise in the number of farm stands around the county, and the institution of farmers markets that offer vegetables, fruit and seedlings for home gardens, as well as great bread, and other agricultural products, even in midwinter. We have seen the Community Development Corporation’s incubator kitchens lead to a number of locally grown and locally processed food businesses like Real Pickles, Katalyst Kombucha and Green River Ambrosia.

With the rise of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farms we have seen consumers who recognize that farming is a risky business and are willing to share that risk while benefiting from the availability of good produce, and the knowledge that those farmers are also benefiting our environment with their sustainable methods.

In 1993 CISA (Community Involved in Sustainable Agriculture) was founded to help farmers by providing business training as well as agricultural information, to promote farms and local foods, and support the local economy by keeping more food dollars in our community. They are working to make fresh healthy food accessible, and thus make us a healthier community. Many of us are thrilled to be able to buy Local Hero produce.

We will celebrate Thanksgiving with a groaning board of mouthwatering dishes, including broccoli at our house. I celebrate and thank the farmers of the county every time I go to the market.

Between the Rows   November 3, 2012

 

 

“Let’s Pick a Fight With Kale”

Kale in the garden

“Let’s pick a fight with kale,” Chris Cima, creative director at Victors & Spoils advertising agency said. The upshot, reported in the NYTimes Sunday Magazine yesterday is a PR campaign to get people to CHOOSE to eat broccoli – and lots of  other vegetables.

This a a great article with lots of depressing 2010 statistics:  “diet surpassed smoking as the no.1 risk factor for disease and death in America  . . . One is three children is on track to develop diabetes, joining one  in three adults who are already clinically obese” and etc.  etc. etc. But why?  Lots of reasons including that vegetables have a bad rep, while processed and junk foods gets a lot of really good advertising.

Broccoli

At the NYTimes’ behest Victors & Spoils put together an ad campaign (pro bono)  that would make people WANT to eat vegetables.

“What Came First: Kale or the Bandwagon   Eat fad-free.  Broccoli vs kale.  Google it.

“Since When Do Super Foods Have To Be Super Trendy?   Broccoli vs kale.  Google it.”

When the ad campaign that had Pepsi and Coke in a battle, both drinks got more customers.  Can a campaign like this bring more mothers and children to the produce counter? Will the vegetable farmers of America be able to launch it?

Eating fresh fruits and vegetables will lower disease risks. We used to know this. An apple a day keeps the doctor away and all that. Eaten any broccoli lately?  I have a granddaughter who subsisted on broccoli and rice for years. Really!  She is very healthy, but now she eats a few other vegetables as well. No meat though!

Vegetable Literacy by Deborah Madison

Vegetable Literacy by Deborah Madison

Deborah Madison is well known as a chef, and queen of vegetables. In Vegetable Literacy (Ten Speed Press $40) her new cookbook, I learned she had never been much of a gardener until her mid-thirties. I have always said that a walk down the garden path is a walk into the fields of history, literature, myth and science. In the beautifully illustrated Vegetable Literacy, Madison takes us along on her journey from the kitchen into the vegetable garden, the study of botany, and back into the kitchen.

While Madison tells us about her understanding of plant families she explains that if we look as vegetables in a single plant family we can see how they can be substituted for each other. She also shows us that parts of a vegetable we don’t ordinarily eat, are edible and can be used as part of a dish. Her book is organized around twelve families beginning with the Carrot family which is huge. It is comprised of a host of Umbelliferae like angelica, anise, asafetida, caraway, carrots, celery, celery root, chervil, cilantro and coriander, cumin, dill, hennel, hemlock, lovage, osha, parsley, parsley root, parsnips, Queen Anne’s Lace.

Several of these vegetables or herbs are biennials, which means they don’t flower and produce seed until their second year. That’s why we may not see a carrot flower and realize how similar it is to Queen Anne’s Lace, sometimes called the wild carrot. If you pull up the root a Queen Anne’s flower you will notice that it smells very carroty. She points out that every herb in this family goes well with carrots – and that the carrot’s feathery foliage is edible, adding a bit of color and flavor and even extra vitamins.

For each plant family, Deborah Madison gives advice about using the whole plant, good companions, and some kitchen wisdom.

Other chapters in the book include the cabbage family, the cucurbit family and the grass (grains) family. Once considered poisonous, tomatoes belong to the poisonous nightshade family. This family includes the herb belladonna or deadly nightshade, the beautiful poisonous datura flower, and potatoes, eggplant and peppers. We all know the stories about how tomatoes were feared for a long time because it was clear they were in the nightshade family, and therefore would probably kill you if you ate them.

Needless to say the nightshade family is a large one, with a long history, and many popular dishes in the kitchen. Potatoes are such a basic staple that we talk about a ‘meat and potatoes’ diet, for a basic and comforting diet. There are so many types of potato that nowadays farmers markets offer an array of exotic potatoes from old favorites for mashing, to small fingerlings or purple potatoes.

At this time of the year peppers and tomatoes are abundant. I was attracted by Madison’s recipe for Torpedo Onion and Sweet Pepper Tian. Torpedo onions are a sweet non-storage onion with a red skin and elongated shape. I did not have any of those so I substituted my own newly harvested red onions. I had my own garlic and ripe tomatoes and farmers market red peppers. I thought it delicious, and my guests seemed pleased, but if I were to do it again I would serve it on pasta, not polenta.

While the Solanaceae (nightshade) family is large, the edible morning glory family is very small. Only the sweet potato is edible. You can even eat the foliage, which is not true of any of the other potato varieties. In fact, sweet potato foliage is rich in vitamins A, C, and B. We all know that the orange fleshed varieties of sweet potato are an excellent source of beta-carotene as well.

Most of us are familiar with candied yams or sweet potatoes for Sunday dinner or holidays, but Madison suggests a host of other companions from other sweets like oranges to a variety of different spices like cinnamon, ginger and cardamom, herbs like cilantro, rosemary and thyme, as well as surprises like bourbon and white miso.

Because the dish was so pretty, as well as delicious, I include the recipe here. Enjoy the book and the recipe. I enjoyed the new ways of looking at the connections between the vegetables in my garden.

Madison’s onion, pepper and tomato tian

1-1/2 lb small torpedo onions

2 red bell peppers

1 yellow bell pepper

2 medium ripe tomatoes

olive oil as needed

5-6 thyme sprigs

6 cloves garlic peeled and halved

salt and freshly ground pepper

Aged sherry, red wine, or balsamic vinegar, a teasoon or more as needed.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Quarter the onions. Halve the peppers crosswise and lengthwise, remove seeds and veins and cut into pieces about ½ inch wide. Cut tomatoes into sixths.

Oil an 8×10 gratin dish. Scatter thyme, add vegetables in an attractive easy way. It may look like a lot but they will cook down. Drizzel well with olive oil.

Cover and bake for 90 minutes. The vegetables should be soft. Carefully pour out collected liquid into a small pan. Add a teaspoon of vinegar. Bring to a boil and reduce until syrupy. Pour over vegetables. Serve warm or at room temperature over polenta, pasta or grilled bread.

 

A Family of Gardeners – the Hollisters

 

Kevin Hollister

Kevin Hollister and his family live across the lawn and through the woods right next door to his sister Sarah Hollister. Together they share multiple gardens. Sarah has lots of vegetables for the two families, many of them growing on utilitarian or whimsical structures. Kevin hosts Tomato World and Blueberry World, dozens of trellised tomatoes of every sort, and a large patch of blueberry bushes, bent with the weight of the fruit and covered with old tobacco netting.

Both of them have beautiful flowers and both of them credit their parents, John and Amy Hollister, with instilling a love of gardening in them, and the other three daughters, from the time they were tots. Both of them have earned their livings by working with plants and gardens.

Sarah Hollister has a garden business that includes design, installation and some maintenance of gardens. Her own garden was begun by her parents over 60 years ago and has beautiful soil which she continues to enrich with an annual digging in of fall leaves and summer mulches. Because the garden is so large she also adds an occasional truckload of compost. The garden combines vegetables and flowers, with a riotous patch of old Latham raspberries all along one side of the garden still producing.

Sarah loves to create ‘twig’ structures and has built several to hold and display flowering vines. This past spring she gave a workshop on making these attractive structures at the Master Gardener’s Spring Symposium.

Sarah Hollister

While she says she is “all about taste,” some of the many vegetables she grows are handsome. There is Falstaff, a purple Brussels sprouts from Territorial Seeds, and a handsome Savoy cabbage that she plants because she likes the texture. She is also about finding unusual work-saving vegetables like the semi-bush Kakai pumpkin that produces hull-less seeds. You can just scoop them out of the ripe pumpkin and roast them and eat them for a delicious and healthy treat.

Flowers in the vegetable garden include sweet peas, self-seeding delphiniums, veronicas and glowing red crocosmia. Sarah shares many of these plants at the regular spring plant sale at St. James church in Greenfield.

After touring Sarah’s garden, we went through the little woodland that includes Chinese chestnuts and shagbark hickory trees to Kevin’s..

Kevin’s garden has suffered from the wooly adelgid so the hemlocks have had to come down, but there are so many other notable plants like the weeping cherry that he has carefully and artfully been pruning for 23 years. This tree is his particular joy.

Kevin Hollisster with weeping cherry

Kevin studied landscaping at the Stockbridge School at the University of Massachusetts and he still remembers the 200 plants, with full Latin names, that they had to learn for plant identification.

But his work in the garden began even before attending UMass. His first job was mowing lawns for Ally Newcomb’s landscaping business when he was 15, and later for Jim Stewart. “Both men taught me how to work hard and to enjoy it,” he said.

Later he worked for the Greenfield Garden Center, where he found he could make helpful suggestions to gardeners when they came in to buy plants. “Landscaping is a form of art and I have an eye. I could recommend better plants for their needs,” he said. But I know it takes more than ‘an eye,” it takes deep understanding of plants and what they need, as well as an understanding of gardeners and what they are able to give at that stage of their gardening life.

About 25 years ago Kevin was injured on a job site and broke his lower back. Having to use a wheelchair has not stopped his horticultural career. “Plants are my life,” he said. He has a horticultural teaching degree and he currently works at the Franklin County Technical School where he is able to help in other departments, besides horticulture.

In his own garden he sometimes uses his power wheelbarrow which is strong enough to pull Kevin in his wheelchair through the garden.

One big attractions of Kevin’s garden is Tomato World with a couple of dozen plants of 10 varieties, with many heirlooms, including Amish Paste, Cherokee Purple, Kellogg’s Breakfast, Pink Berkeley Tie Dye and Italian Heirloom.

 

Hollister tomato trellis system

I was fascinated by the tomato trellising system. The trellis consists of wood supports at either end with a cross bar across the top. From the cross bar strings are attached every two or three feet and hang down and held in place by a stake in the soil. Tomato plants are placed at the bottom of each string which has a little give to it. As the tomato grows Sarah twines the tender pliable stem around the string. This allows her to see the plant as it grows so she can remove the suckers. The benefit is keeping the plant pruned and providing good air circulation. The tomatoes get plenty of sun and are easy to harvest.

What do they do with all those tomatoes? Lots of canning. Kevin said he and his son Harry do their share. They also like to can dill pickles.

Next to Tomato World is Blueberry World, a collection of high bush blueberries, protected from the birds with tobacco netting draped over a wooden frame. The bushes were bent low with a bumper crop of blueberries this year.

What is striking about Kevin and Sarah is their enthusiasm, the joy they find in the garden and the pleasure they take in sharing what they have learned and enjoyed.

Hollister structure

Between the Rows   August 10, 2013

August Bloomers on August 1, 2013

Of all the August Bloomers, the Daylily Bank makes the biggest statement even though it has started to pass its peak.

Bevy of August Bloomers

Other August bloomer are just beginning. The most notable in this photo is the classic Echinacea or coneflower, with Russian sage in front and pink and white phlox on the other side of the bed. The phlox is late, with light bloom, because the deer had been snacking on the buds. Only once clump of Paradise Blue phlox escaped and it is going well in a bed with Switzerland daisies, and aconite.

Mothlight hydrangea

The Mothlight hydrangea is a dependable August bloomer, beginning in July and going into September.  My other three young hydrangeas, Limelight, Pinky Winky, and the native oakleaf, are all in bloom as well, despite more snacking by the deer.

Blue Paradise Phlox and Yarrow

Sharing a bed with Mothlight, are Blue Paradise phlox and a deep gold unnamed achillea. You cannot see the daisies and the aconite nearby in this photo.

Potted Plants

Closer to the house are potted plants like these petunias, and succulent collections. You can see even the succulent decided to be an August bloomer this year.

Lilies and Thalictrum

As part of the welcoming garden are three lilies, henryi, rubrum and a gold and white lily. Those are white snapdragons, part of the potted collection.  Black Dragon lilies and crimson bee balm are blooming in the center of  this bed, but they are not as lush as usual. I’ll have to add some extra compost this fall.

Thomas Affleck rose and lily

At the very beginning of the welcome garden is the amazing Thomas Affleck rose, along  with a floppy lily. Even before I got it properly deadheaded it has begun to bloom again, and will be blooming well into the fall.

Folksinger Rose

Down on the Rose Walk the Folksinger rose is also putting out a new flush of bloom along with the new Carefree Beauty, both Griffith Buck roses.

 

Dill

I will let this beautiful dill flower stand in for  the vegetables and herbs we have been harvesting, broccoli, summer squash, and lettuce, parsley and cilantro.

Blueberries

We are starting to harvest blueberries, but we have been eating red and black raspberries for most of July. Fortunately, blueberries don’t need irrigation.  The garlic harvest will begin soon, too.

 

Digging, Weeding and Planting Season in High Gear

Perennial divisions

This is the season of digging, weeding and planting. The priority this weekend was to get plants dug for the two big plant sales coming up. The Greenfield Garden Club, of which I am a member, will have its plant sale on Saturday, May 11 at Trap Plain, at Siver and Federal Streets, and the following weekend, May 18, the Bridge of Flowers will have its plant sale at the Trinity Church’s Baptist Lot in Shelburne Falls. This is a chance to get some great plants for your own garden at very reasonable prices while supporting the educational projects of the Greenfield Garden Club, and the maintenance of the Bridge of Flowers. This year I have dug Sheffield daisiies, crimson bee balm, campanuala ‘Joan Elliot’, Terra Cotta Yarrow, purple leaved coral bells and ‘Switzerland’ shasta daisies. I might find a couple of more clumps that need dividing.

Meadowseet

On Friday I was out and about on a variety of errands. I stopped at the Hadley Garden Center to get extra pots for the Bridge Plant Sale, and couldn’t resist buying this large sage plant known as meadowsweet. The Herb Bed in front of the house always needs refreshing and I thought this would really brighten things up early in the season. I also planted a tiny new French tarragon and summer savory. My parsley and basil plants aren’t ready to go in yet, and I have dill seed at the ready. Perennial herbs are starting to green up, chives, rue, chamomile, mint, lemon balm, bee balm, oregano, golden marjoram, thyme and sage as well as the lilies, stocks, irises, and Sheffield daisies.  Even an Herb Bed deserves a little glamor.

The vegetable beds are all dug and three of the beds are filled with onions, planted this weekend.The garlic is well up and looking good. Two beds are planted with lettuce plants, but it is still too cool for more tender seeds. At this time of the year a Monday Report is mostly a planting list. I put in three more tiarella plants down by the peonies where I am eradicating lawn, two native columbine plants, an Eryingium ‘Sapphire’, and a beautiful yellow epimedium. My own epimediums are just coming into bloom.

It’s not even June but the buds are bustin’ out all over, the sun is shinging and there is more planting to do this Monday morning.