Sunday, June 19, 2011

Mamas don't let your babies grow up to plant spearmint

There are a few things I will not plant in the garden proper ever again.  Anything in the mint family is now forever banned.  However, that does not mean I won't grow mint.  I'll simply relegate it to a container.  Spearmint and catnip are keeping company with oregano and lemon balm in the white recycled utility sink below.

Beside the sink is a "salad bowl".  I got this idea from another blog (but of course now cannot figure out which one - here is a link to the video though).  Simply put, you find yourself a container, fill it with potting soil, and populate it with leaf lettuce plants.  You harvest the outer leaves of the lettuce while the lettuce continues to put out new leaves from the center of the plant.  Voila!  Salad!

Behind the sink is my garlic bed.  Three out of the four varieties planted there are "hard neck" so they put out scapes. 

The scapes, if left alone, turn into blossoms I think, but "everyone" says to snip them off and cook them.  I tried that last week, sauteing some scapes with snap peas and chicken, but part of the scape is kind of tough for chewing.  That won't stop me from trying again, though.

Not in the picture above is my patio eggplant.  Last week it put out one lonely blossom.  You can tell that it is related to potatoes.

Sadly, today I spotted a baby bunny in the backyard.  I don't think he was the one I saw a while back - that one would be bigger by now - and I'm not sure how he got in.  But when I was mowing last night, I noticed that the pavers by one gate were a bit askew.  I straightened them out, but possibly not before he snuck in.  No damage so far, so maybe he hasn't been here long.

More sadly, a young robin learned about picture windows the hard way.  I was hoping he was only stunned, but he succumbed to his injuries quickly.  There are other baby birds in the yard right now besides young robins:  the wren babies send up a chirping chorus whenever a parent arrives with food, and below is a daddy cowbird with a youngster.

Mourning doves are another fixture at the bird bath.  The colors of their plumage are so subtle and soft.

Besides bunnies and birds, other critters have been spotted (heh).

It has been ages since I have seen a real ladybug.  Usually all I see are those Japanese ones which are more orange and bite.  I'm taking this ladybug's appearance in the meadow as a sign that my backyard habitat is working.

Speaking of the meadow, it looks pretty much like a weed patch right now, but a few bloomers belie that rumor:  yarrow, keys of heaven, daisy, catmint.  The vegetable garden is all planted for now, and I have been harvesting snap peas.  My SO and I continue to battle the weeds that are everywhere.  A weed is any plant that is growing where you don't want it, so that includes the mint mentioned at the start of this post.  I'm also edging the viburnum/arborvita beds, to reclaim them from the encroaching lawn.

Despite (or because of) the hard work, I enjoy the hours spent in the yard.  Some of the time, I am thinking of new things to try, already planning what I want to do next year.  Mostly I am just having a good time.  My ancestors include farmers and nurserymen, so I guess I come by it naturally.

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