In Mom’s Gardens Again

This photo was taken in June – seester reading & relaxing on the hammock, mom working on something in the garden, as usual.

An here is the garden as of 9am this morning.

Remember this tomato plant wheelbarrow from my last garden post?

Here’s what it looks like now:

Can you spot the beans? The kids and I had a lot of fun finding and harvesting beans yesterday – and climbing the Japanese Maples – can’t wait for them to turn bright red come autumn.

See that white stuff on the leaves? It’s a mold apparently common around here and all of the pumpkin plants are afflicted with it. My mom assures me that it’s no big deal, she’s been trimming some of the leaves and up pops new healthy growth. The woman does have a masters degree in botany… I trust her.

Portraits of peppers and a morning glory. It was, in fact, a glorious morning. Hope yours was too.

morning at the farm

Just pedaled back from the farm on my sister’s old blue bicycle – spent the morning in the stand slinging veggies and wine. The lady who delivers our bread orders from Collinsville Baking Co needed some basil so I sauntered over to the large patch past the old barn in the drizzling rain to inhale some basily goodness. I tossed the harvest into an empty tomato box, brought it back to her, and was informed that it’ll all come back to us as the homemade pesto we also sell. Holy deliciousness.

This is an old photo from a few years ago – and later in the season, judging by the mums. Like I said before, I haven’t been back in a few years, and I can’t get over how many great new things are going on. Since I left, Rosedales has organized a “Chef to Farm” dinner series with one of the restaurants we’d been supplying produce to over the years. Such a wonderful community event. The next one happens tomorrow night but there are still a few more coming up. Rosedale’s wine has also been winning awards – and at The Big E, no less. I cannot express how excited I am for The Big E this year. I’ve been out of the state or the country for the past 8 years or so and I’m looking forward to being back in New England for autumn and enjoying all that comes with it, including this wonderful event.

This is also an old photo, one that my sister took after a fun and dirt-filled day at the farm. I was more successful at not turning into a dirty mess this week – the other morning I was in the stand packing up boxes for the CSA program that has pick-ups early in the week so there was no picking and no chance to get all muddy. Rosedales has options for Farm Memberships and Wine memberships – how great is that? I’m just so in love with the farm and grateful to be back for another summer. I’ll have to search for a farm that I love in Portland… but right now I’m off to watch the little ones!

In Mom’s Gardens

Rabbit Rabbit! (Good luck on the first day of the month)

The other night I followed my Mom around in her gardens while she watered the plants. Listening to my Mom spout off names and facts that are second-nature to her, I learned some stories about the plants that surround my childhood home. Here are a few:

Hydrangea. These graceful clusters, assumed to be an original planting from the previous owner, were apparently sprouting up all around the house when my parents first bought our home in 1982.

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On the left is the orange tree, a gift for my Mom from my Great Aunt Wilma and Uncle Ed after their 1964 honeymoon in Florida. It arrived in a small hand-held wooden box and is now the size of an adolescent. It’s yearly migration brings the tree once again outdoors, but it lives indoors during the New England winters. Pictured on the right is the very last of this years’ wild strawberries; wild in that they were wild at my Grandparent’s home in Massachusetts and my Mom brought clippings of them here. They spread (Much to my delight in the fruit and in strawberry shortcake) more and more every year.

The tomato plants get the best of the yard this year – they’re on wheels. My Mom planted them in large buckets so they can ride around in the wheelbarrow, following the sunshine all summer, instead of tolerating (Or not) the partial sunlight of most of the garden plots.

This wooden box (A tag-sale find) is now home to one of many basil plants. Those are wildflowers surrounding it and each twig you see marks where a CT Field Pumpkin was planted.

This beauty is called “Gooseneck” and she’s invasive.

Upon entering and exiting the house, you are greeted or wished farewell by this gloriously monstrous basil plant. So, from myself and the basil plant, have a wonderful Rabbit Rabbit Thursday.

Pun Pun: In the garden

Lesson: Effective Micro-Organisms (EM)

EM can be used in place of harsh chemicals to aid garden growth and deter pests. Josh Kearns, a previous intern, wrote about it here. His site is also just fun to check out in general.

Want to make EM for your garden?

Ratio 1 : 3 : 10

1 kilo sugar 3 kilos organic material 10 kilos water (fermented shellfish works best)

Ferment at least 15 days in cool shaded area, large buckets ferment 1 month

Dilute solution 1 : 50 to spray on plants

(Most weeds have dry seeds and will rot in fermentation leaving only productive materials)

This is Pop wandering through the just-tilled intern’s garden beds. I wish we had taken a “before” picture because clearing these fields was impressive work. It helps to have 20 people on-hand. We then planted kale, brussel sprouts, basil, beans, tomatoes, corn, parsley, bok choy, and other seeds from packets donated to the farm.

My battle wounds from working in the garden that day, I was so proud. They healed quickly and toughened me up for work to come.

This is Graham “pausing to smell the flowers,” or discovering that absolutely everything grown at Pun Pun has a use, if not an edible one, then a medicinal one, or both.

Pi Jo’s lessons in the garden felt like “Zen and the Art of Living Meditation.” His discussions on plant life and seed-saving inevitably turned into philosophical musings on life, minfulness, and learning through doing. We were always encouraged to get our hands dirty, literally and figuratively. One of the first things Pi Jo said to us as a group was something to the effect of, “There is no such thing as a mistake, we play here.”

Gathering greens for lunch

Mmmmmm organic. There were gardens for harvesting, kitchen gardens, personal gardens, and gardens for seed-saving which meant that the plants were maintained past their harvesting time and matured to the point of “going to seed.” There are some interesting and scary things happening in the world of seed saving…

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Wok, Pop, Bi, Tix, and Sung led us through cooking lunch one day. We set off into the gardens, harvested what we needed, and dove into the kitchen. Normally Pi Dang and Pi Mao headed the kitchen efforts and provided the community with some seriously delicious meals.

The garden when we said goodbye in March.