Meanwhile down on the urban farm...

    See that little peek of red amid the green vines? That’s our first ripe tomato of the season.

    There ought to be a celebration for that day. There’s nothing like a tomato picked ripe from a vine in your own garden. Tomatoes taste like summer itself, and I can’t wait to devour this one.

    High summer is here, and the greens that were so plentiful in early June — arugula, romaine, spinach — are history. They’ll be back in the fall, or sooner if I replant. But they don’t like hot 90+ degree days, which is all we’ve been having lately.

    I planted the greens, together with swiss chard and broccoli, while it was still snowing back in April. Brassicas and greens generally tolerate cold fairly well, producing when it’s still cool and surviving all but a truly hard frost. So, we’ve enjoyed some broccoli and swiss chard, and both are still producing despite the heat.

    Broccoli and greens

    One must wait, of course, to plant anything sensitive to cold, like tomatoes. So our tomatoes, green beans, peppers, corn and squash got planted in late May. Tomatoes do really well in Colorado, provided they don’t get beaten into the ground by hail — and you remember to water them. Corn, too, does well, and borrowing from Native tradition, we planted squash with them. Well, and cantaloupe...

    Tomatoes and corn plants, together with a glimpse of squash, and green beans

    Last year, we got a ton of green beans from two relatively small rows, so this year we planted a bit more than that, along with cucumbers, brussel sprouts and hot peppers. Mmmm...

    I swear, I could live off arugula, green beans, radishes, tomatoes and broccoli — and last year I did just that for a time. So hopefully we planted enough this summer to keep me and my mum fed. She'll be staying with me after my operation and taking over the garden while I read and write and rest.

    Green beans, hot peppers, brussel sprouts and cabbage plants

    I believe strongly in the concept of economic independence. Economic ups and downs have much less impact on a family that is able to supply a lot of its own food and labor — stuff like plumbing, repairs, car maintenance. Knowing how to do these things one's self is important, I think. Canning, sewing, darning socks, knitting — skills our grandparents had but which were forgotten in a single generation.

    Looking down the corn rows with hidden squash plants

    People have proven that the average family can grow most of its own food in the average yard, and that’s our goal. These garden beds take up only the small south-facing side of the house. The front and backyard, though home to three big trees, also have lots of room where there’s full sun or partial shade. If we were to plant crops everywhere we have plantable space, and include a few fruit trees, a couple of beehives and backyard hens, we’d have most of the food that we need, apart from meat. And if we hunted or went mostly vegetarian... Well, you get the picture.

    We won’t be able to accomplish all of this while I’m working full time and writing, of course. There simply aren’t enough hours in the day. As it is, I work from the time I get up until dark either at the paper or in the garden — and then whatever time is left goes to having fun and/or writing.

    I should add that all of this is organic. We don’t use chemical fertilizers, but rather compost. And we don't use pesticides of any kind, which is why you all heard screaming coming from Colorado this weekend. Washed some romaine and earwigs came running out.... Man, did I shriek!

    I hate bugs... except for pretty ones like ladybugs and butterflies and dragon flies.

    In the flower garden, the moment really belongs to rose mallow, a precious flower that bees love. It grows about waist height and is covered with small pink flowers. I love pink, let me say.

    Rose mallow. Note the bumble bee in the center. I was particularly
    happy to snap a photo of this fat, fuzzy fellow.

    My roses are all rebooting. The big spring bloom is over, and now they've been deadheaded and will make another round of buds soon. All of our rose bushes are repeat bloomers. What’s the point of having roses that bloom once? Boooring.

    Unfortunately, four of our bushes seem to have caught something. It’s nothing they’ve had before, and I wonder if it’s from the cool weather and rain — a fungus of some sort. The leaves are dying and falling off, and it upsets me. I hope we can rescue them!

    In other news: Just trying to get ready to be away from the paper for eight weeks, and trying to prepare my mind for surgery. I’m almost looking forward to it, actually. Two weeks from this past Tuesday.

Blog Archive

Total Pageviews