Busking and broccoli beds

“Girls, you have to play the same song.”

I am coming out to take a picture of their busk-stop, and I realize each are plowing through a different tune. I think they eventually worked out a system. They must have, because they made twenty-two dollars by the end of the afternoon.


Susanna and Belén at their busk stop and orange juice stand

In other news, my compost is ready! The disgusting corner in the back of my yard paid it’s dues this weekend.

Finished compost

Finished compost–well mostly finsihed…I don’t get too uptight about the odd stick, egg shell, or even piece of fabric, that makes it through.DSCN5436_

I read this book (about a city journalist turned CSA farmer) last summer and I loved it. Especially this part:

Of all the confounding things I encountered that first year, the heat of decomposition–its intensity and duration–was the most surprising, the one that made me want to slap my knee and say, Who knew? That heat comes from the action of hordes of organisms, some so tiny billions can live in a tablespoon of soil. They are in there, eating and multiplying and dying, feeding on and releasing the energy that larger organisms–the plants and the animals–stored up in their time, energy that came, originally, from the sun. I think it’s worth it, for wonder’s sake, to stick your hand in a compost pile in the winter and be burned by a series of suns that last set the summer before.

I love that last line. Maybe I’ve even quoted it here before, but it’s worth reading again.

* * * *

Do any of you have parts of your garden that seem hopeless? Hard, clay soil that forms giant lizard scales and produces only spindly thistles? I do. Last summer I gave the worst bed in my garden a rest: I planted it thick with hairy vetch, let the vetch grow until flowering stage, then hacked it down. After, I covered the whole bed–chopped vetch and all–with wet newspapers, grass clippings and a bale of straw. This weekend I dug deep holes in the straw and filled them with fresh compost. I plan to transplant broccoli into the compost nests this week. Here’s hoping that dead hairy vetch, decomposed root systems, heavy mulch and handfuls of compost work magic.

Making compost nests for the broccoli

Making compost nests for the broccoli


Me, dealing with the straw. Compost bins in the background–they look less ridiculous without all the snow don’t they?

Waiting for the broccoli plants... I will update on those later in summer. I promise. Even if the cabbage moths are horrific.

Waiting for the broccoli plants… I will update on those later in summer. I promise. Even if the cabbage moths are horrific.

And finally, a few pictures updating our fall seeding experiment.

Belén's red lettuce, seeded in October.

Belén’s red lettuce (and one parsnip in the foreground) seeded in October.

...and of course, garlic

…and of course, garlic

Chamomile seedlings. The hardiest plant I've ever grown. (Besides Borage--but borage is so uncouth. You'll know what I mean if you've grown it.)

Chamomile seedlings. The hardiest plant I’ve ever grown. (Besides Borage–but borage is so uncouth. You’ll know what I mean if you’ve grown it.)

The snap peas are starting to surface, as well as some other unidentified seedlings. I keep scratching around in the dirt, muttering to myself, trying to figure out what it was that we planted in those spots speckled with green. (Note to self: make better maps next year.) Belén just continues jumping on the trampoline, and between bounces, shouts, “Why does it matter mom? Whatever is growing will grow.”

Yes. That’s right. What will grow, will grow, pues.*

What are you all trying in your plots, or pots, this spring?


*Pues. One of those handy Spanish words that should be adopted into the English language. It doesn’t really have a direct translation, but it’s something like “of course” or “well then”. I heard Belén use it, correctly, once and realized she probably thinks it is English.


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