Metatalktail Hour: Gardening August 4, 2018 8:25 AM   Subscribe

Good Saturday evening, MetaFilter! It's the first weekend of the month, so it's European-time-zone MetaTalkTails! This week, Monkey Toes wants a garden thread: “If there's one thing I like to show off more than my cats, it's what's growing in my garden,” quoth Monkey Toes.

As always, this is a conversation starter, not a conversation limiter, and we want to hear about everything that's up with you! (Except politics.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) to MetaFilter-Related at 8:25 AM (80 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

I have an old lemon tree growing out of the center of my backyard deck. When I bought the house 5 years ago, I thought it was a feature. Now, after 5 years of "lemon bombs" dropping on the deck in the middle of the night, bird poop on the deck, water damage to the deck because the tree keeps it from drying out, mosquitoes (see the thing about not drying out), too many lemons to use (so much so that I have been banned by friends and family from offering lemons), I have decided it is definitely a bug. I'm in the process of getting quotes to cut it down and then to redo the deck. Not exactly what I'd like to spend home improvement $$ on. The rest of my garden is nice--no thanks to me. The gardener I use created it for the previous homeowner when he was dating her daughter, he has a real sense of pride in it and so does a great job keeping it up (I do pay him). He's training his son in the biz and so I hope to have the family's help with the garden for some time to come. He understands why I'm having the tree removed, but can't bring himself to cut it down so has asked that I find someone else.
posted by agatha_magatha at 8:41 AM on August 4, 2018 [3 favorites]

Our landscaping/yard-work up until this year was getting progressively better. We even won a neighborhood contest for our landscaping last year. But it took a dive this year with the extreme heat and I'm just generally busier, so there's not been enough time put in to making it look good. I feel a bit bad but I'm just doing the bare minimum with mowing my lawn and keeps the edges trimmed.

It also takes a bit of money and we've been prioritizing elsewhere, so it is what it is. :(
posted by Fizz at 8:52 AM on August 4, 2018 [4 favorites]

I have trees in pots in my backyard: an apple, a satsuma, a lemon, and a lime. The lemon and lime have never fruited, for some reason. They flowered this year, and I got all excited, and then the blossoms shriveled up and that's it. No fruit.

But I always get a couple dozen satsumas, and this year there are five apples on my little apple tree, so there's hope.

The rest of the yard is kind of a mess, but the roses are blooming beautifully. California weather means I can't really do anything but trim until the summer is over and the rains start again.

In other news, my vacation has started! Today I get to go climbing and then go to an escape room for a friend's birthday, and then it's off to the mountains for a family reunion. So looking forward to it.
posted by suelac at 9:24 AM on August 4, 2018 [2 favorites]

The ongoing expansion of the vegetable garden is yielding quite well: greens beans, lots of pickling cucumbers and the first ripe tomatoes and ground cherries. Over 70 smallish storage onions are curing on the porch and one butternut squash has set fruit. I planted a second crop of sugar snap peas and green beans which have just germinated , an experiment in season extension. The current downpour is providing much needed water but may cause tomatoes still on the vine to split.
The weirdest thing: a small potted coffee tree that was losing leaves and looked like a goner a few months ago blossomed and now has beans! I only see about 5 but it might be enough for a cup.
posted by Botanizer at 9:37 AM on August 4, 2018 [6 favorites]

I have no actual dirt, but I have a balcony large enough for some decent containers.

Fruit/veg: Strawberries, tomatoes, rhubarb (bearing well); redcurrant bush (did decently); artichoke plant (no artichokes yet-- maybe next year?)

Herbs: Rosemary, lavender, sage, thyme, oregano, mint, basil, bay tree.

Hops: 5 hop bines, species unknown. In 2014, Meantime Breweries did a promo thing where they gave away a little box with a pack of hops seeds, some compost and a tiny plastic pot. I got 8 bines from those seeds, of which 5 proved female. I give the flowers to a friend who brews.

Flowers/other: spring bulbs, jasmine, stepanotis, campanula, a box bush, a fuschia, a dahlia, some kind of blue balloon flower thing, LOTS of rogue lobelia, a viola that keeps coming back and one unhappy gardenia.

This year I also planted a bunch of borage for the bees. The ants promptly started farming blackfly all over them. I have some SERIOUS ANT DEATH planned.
posted by Pallas Athena at 9:41 AM on August 4, 2018 [7 favorites]

We had been neglecting our landscaping for far too long when our daughter basically said please get your act together before my high school graduation party. So we did! We put in a ton of native, deer-resistant perennials and it looks lovely. I also have three blueberry bushes that didn't fruit this year but I think will go gangbusters next year.

I hope this doesn't ruin the thread early but I need y'all to give my family all of the good energy/vibes/prayer you can muster. My 29 year old niece has been living with cancer for the past two years and was told this week that treatments are no longer working. Please lift us up. <3
posted by cooker girl at 9:53 AM on August 4, 2018 [35 favorites]

❤️ To you and your family cooker girl.
posted by Fizz at 9:55 AM on August 4, 2018 [10 favorites]

I have a good bit of sunny backyard space, but I rent so everything's in grow bags, reservoir boxes, or big pots. I just started a butterfly garden and then had to work out of town for two weeks, but my housemate texted me a photo of a monarch on my milkweed so here's hoping I'll get some babies soon.

I was getting uncontrollable tomato yields until it got real hot, but I'm still picking a few San Marzano, Pink Vernissage, and Sweet Millions every day or two. The two-year-old Shishito pepper plant is probably going to yield over a pound (and they're very light fruits) when I clean it up this afternoon, and then we'll have them for appetizers. Second-year eggplant plants are also still going strong. I need to start hand-pollenating my cucumbers but I do have one tennis-ball-sized lemon cucumber, an English, and a couple Persians that need picking today.

I'm starting my second-summer seeds today, a couple weeks late maybe but it'll be okay. The cucumbers usually give up as soon as the days get noticeably shorter but LA weather usually keeps me in tomatoes and eggplants through December.
posted by Lyn Never at 10:11 AM on August 4, 2018 [3 favorites]

Hugs cookergirl.

Yay euro timezone! In a studio apartment that is turning into a jungle, I have two yukkas, a Boston swordfern, an aloe vera plant, a dracaena marginata with weeping ficus, a monstera deliciosa (Swiss cheese plant), a sweetheart hoya, a Pilea peperomioides (Chinese money plant), and one remaining mini cactus, as my windowless bathroom is apparently not the ideal growing space!
posted by ellieBOA at 10:14 AM on August 4, 2018 [2 favorites]

A neon yellow cucumber. Might be a cross between a lemon and Armenian.
posted by aniola at 10:33 AM on August 4, 2018 [2 favorites]

I’ve got indoor plants. A baby zz from someone who propagates them and gets one or two a year from his plants. And a snake plant that I bought at ikea in January. I water once a week and say nice things to them.
posted by bilabial at 10:37 AM on August 4, 2018 [1 favorite]

We have a tiny apartment, so gardening is limited to houseplants. We have to be cat-safe and budget-conscious, so nothing too exciting. At the moment we have a Boston fern, a pothos, an African violet, some kind of little succulent, a small cactus, and about a million spider plants (I keep planting the little baby plants, and they’re taking over the apartment).

I’d love to introduce some variety, but I don’t know enough to pick out suitable plants for this apartment. We’ve seen some nice plants that were not good for cats, or that were more expensive than I can manage right now. When we get back from our trip, I might look into his more seriously (if we even have the space for more plants).

I just started my new job. It’s been good so far. I have my own desk and everything. I get paid time off for the first time in my life, which I can barely comprehend. Basically, this is my first job in the professional class. I did the math and I’m currently making almost twice as much as I did ten years ago when I worked 70+ hours a week at three different jobs. It’s still hard for me to believe.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 10:44 AM on August 4, 2018 [9 favorites]

Hugs and good vibes to cooker girl!

I no longer have a garden, but I love showing off my ficus which I got as a reedy & sad looking thing 5.5 years ago and which continues to astound me with her will to live. Side by side (with bonus cat). See how much fuller she is than even a year ago. She's amazing (her name is Monica. The cat's name is Miaow).
posted by ClarissaWAM at 10:53 AM on August 4, 2018 [4 favorites]

I do not currently have a garden, which on one level I miss - having owned various gardens, right up to a ten acre apple orchard, previously. But on another level, I know that I could easily fill the entire day with seemingly important garden things when I should be doing other things. Every now and then I fire up an old copy of Animal Crossing and pull some weeds out, or plant a tree or pick some fruit, and that keeps the various gardening urges just about at bay, for now.

The last sort-of garden I had was, I guess, in Grinnell, Iowa three summers ago. This was mainly lawns which required frequent mowing, at an hour in the morning that was inhumanely early to avoid the worst of the heat. It was okay. There was also a rhubarb patch, and a raspberry bush which seemed to magically produce a lot of fruit all summer. I also had a tiny area of soil in which I planted coriander (uh, cilantro to local folk) which, because it was mostly in the shade, I did not have much hopes for. Wrong. In the strong Iowa heat and the regular and formidable rain, the crop was unexpectedly bountiful. Some we ate, some we exchanged with the nice neighbors on one side for other foods, and some Becky sold for surprisingly large bundles of US dollars on her home baking and random things that had grown in the garden farmers market stall. No garden since then.

Sending good vibes your way, cooker girl.

+ + + + +

A sort-of work opportunity has come my way resulting in sudden busyness over the next six weeks. Not the easiest of decisions to make, as it would have been good to fully enjoy the last of this high summer in rural England before [redacted]. Now, several events won't be attended, with the subsequent dip in cake and cheese sales at stalls there. But, it's an opportunity that could open some future doors, and also would help with a move to a different land in future times. And it also means I can listen to a lot of TMS during the current England vs India series, so there's that too.

It's probably a good time anyway, as most of my summer admin tasks are done. For fun, and out of curiosity, one of those was to read everything I've written on MetaFilter. As suspected, there's ... rather a lot of filler, garbage, waffle, why-the-hell-did-I-write-that and so forth. Especially in the first 18 months, all of which could be deleted with no loss of useful content on this site. Maybe I need to hire a permanent editor or copywriter or proofreader, or perhaps find a butler whose services can extend from preparing scones in the correct manner, right through to advising on what's not a good idea to write online. Anyway, going through past content meant some proper editing of my profile page, so hopefully I'll stop endlessly picking at it now.

One of my other fun-not-work admin tasks was to sort out the utter mess of Flickr albums, but that's probably something that will need to be finished in the (looks at calendar) rapidly approaching autumn. Heck. It's August already.
posted by Wordshore at 10:55 AM on August 4, 2018 [13 favorites]

Love and good vibes to cooker girl’s family.

Gardening: I’ve been too sick this year to garden in our new home, other than keeping a sad basil plant and small parsley struggling along in pots for kitchen use. I haven’t QUITE killed the orchids.

But the home we purchased came with FOUR avocado trees, of varying sizes. One is mature and fruiting heavily this year. Our son, the only avocado eater in the family, may be headed back to university before they are harvest ready. But he assures me that many of his school friends are big fans of avocados. Which MAY lead to me having a road trip in the undetermined future, to be the Avocado Fairy distributing bushels of largess to the underfed students of Central Florida. (Yes, I will wear a costume.)

If you have any good ideas for preserving avocados, hit me up! Or ideas for how to teach myself to enjoy them, I’ll take those too.
posted by Nancy_LockIsLit_Palmer at 11:19 AM on August 4, 2018 [6 favorites]

Also, Wordshore, I love that you play an old copy of Animal Crossing! This has made me unaccountably happy.
posted by Nancy_LockIsLit_Palmer at 11:22 AM on August 4, 2018 [3 favorites]

I currently have no outdoor space and no surviving houseplants but assuming that the whole mortgage company doesn’t realise I’m three cats in a trench coat thing continues to to pay out (so far, so good!), I will be the possessor of a front and back garden and look forward to starting a vegetable garden, trying to work out what the plants that are already in there are and learning how to deal with a lawn. It is very exciting!

I am definitely going to get some patio fruit trees.
posted by halcyonday at 11:46 AM on August 4, 2018 [3 favorites]

Not gardening as such, but my garden moth list is up to 442 species.
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 12:25 PM on August 4, 2018 [9 favorites]

I have some SERIOUS ANT DEATH planned.

I’m gonna come back later with updates but just gonna say- I feel this so hard.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 12:25 PM on August 4, 2018 [4 favorites]

Been dealing with growing things a bit lately, though not anything garden-like!

My upstairs neighbor runs their A/C 24/7. That's not a problem in itself (in terms of neighborly relations at least) but the damn thing leaks constantly and it's destroying the building. The wetness permeates the brick wall of our building and drips onto the sills of each of the windows below, and a lovely green mossy patina has cropped up on each of the ledges. Sometimes the drips splash me awake, if I'm sleeping with the window open.

In better news, the fig tree down the street is low and heavy with unripe fruit. I picked the few early ripe ones I could reach, and they are sweet and delicious this season. I will be keeping a close eye on it because harvesting good fruit from this tree is a race between me, my neighbors, the local wild- and birdlife, and wasps. In a day or two I'll have enough to make a batch of Nana's banana bread, which I alter to a banana/fig bread. Mom's in town and I think she'll like a loaf.
posted by carsonb at 12:53 PM on August 4, 2018 [3 favorites]

We have four 4x4' raised beds in the backyard, along with some potted herbs. It's been kind of a crappy summer production-wise, I blame the intense heat and my inability to keep things watered. My tomato plants look healthy but have been dropping blossoms left and right - I've gotten only a few large heirlooms (once plant has produced nothing so far). The Yellow Pear cherry is chugging right along and we'll have lots of those as soon as they ripen up. My 2 year old daughter has been very enthusiastic about the tomatoes but I haven't gotten her to eat any of them yet. :P

Planted runner beans for the first time - they've had lovely flowers but have been very slow to set pods (probably heat again). The purple pole beans are producing well, and the Chinese red noodle beans came up but just didn't grow. :/

Carrots have meh size-wise (apparently they're also affected by heat?! Sheez!), but tasty for what I've gotten. Dwarf swiss chard growing well, I keep cutting it back and it keeps coming on. Got a couple of nice harvests of mustard greens but they're currently bolting - probably will replace with turnips or some other kind of greens. Beets look fine, but every time I plant them, I'm like "why did I plant beets again?!" I like them but not that much and no one else in my house likes them. I guess I'll make borscht and call it a day. Purple dwarf kohlrabi finally started forming bulbs after doing nothing all summer - excited to harvest that one!

Definitely learning first-hand the importance of diversity in species and variety if you want food to eat in the era of climate change and unpredictable weather.

We've done almost nothing with our landscaping since moving to the house 5 years ago - there's so much to do and no time to do it in, and I guess I just don't care that much. I have dreams of pulling out the ugly yew bushes and unkempt spirea and replacing with blueberries or currants or something else edible. I do care how things look but I also want more foooooood.
posted by Knicke at 12:53 PM on August 4, 2018 [3 favorites]

We have butterfly bushes that fill with peacock butterflies on warm days, big fat beautiful orb spiders hanging between the lindens, and bats flying overhead.
posted by pracowity at 12:56 PM on August 4, 2018 [4 favorites]

This is our first year owning a garden so we're still pretty new at this and have made many entertaining blunders so far, to wit:

1) Gardener says we need compost, any type will do, we buy general purpose compost - turns out all the plants already in the garden are acid lovers and should have got ericaceous compost. Oops.

2) Planting vegetables way too late. We got some pole beans and cucumber into the ground only two weeks ago, if August and September stay warm we might just get something edible out of them before the frost kills them.

Herbs planted: Rosemary, mint, basil-mint, sage, fennel, thyme, lemon-thyme, oregano, parsley, and caraway. Some of these I'm not sure what we'll even use some of these for but once you get locked into a serious herb collection the tendency is to take is a far you can.

The mint and basil-mint are safely sequestered in their own pots, the rest are sharing a trough. I now realise this was an error since fennel is apparently known for not playing nice with others and really the rosemary and sage would like it dryer than the others.

Goals for next time though: fruit trees in pots for the patio - suggestions welcomed for things that will tolerate the Southeast of England and produce fruit. We have two young olive trees planted in the garden by the previous owner that would probably produce fruit after a summer like this except that they're still very young.

Also - previous owners of this house put in an odd horizontally slatted fence which means that we can look right through it and into neighbours garden. I'm not sure whether strategically located climbing vegetables will be enough to block the fence if I plant them in the spring next time or whether I should find some hardy perennial climbers to grow there instead.
posted by atrazine at 12:58 PM on August 4, 2018 [3 favorites]

fennel is apparently known for not playing nice with others

Fennel doesn't play well with veggies generally, it doesn't have any real ill effects that I've seen on herbs.
Good job sequestering your mint though.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 1:03 PM on August 4, 2018 [1 favorite]

I came up with a great solution to deter the birds who were perching (not just perching!) on my bean trellis made of cattle panels: zip ties! I had el_lupino attach four-inch zip ties pointing *up* on all the rungs on which the birds were perching (I'm both too short and way too disabled to do so). I got the idea from thinking about bird spikes. The zip ties have convinced the many visitors to our garden-adjacent bird feeding station/indoor cat entertainment center that there must be better places to perch. And now I'm feeling much more comfortable about eating the beans, because the foliage isn't getting so much...seasoning.
posted by jocelmeow at 1:31 PM on August 4, 2018 [2 favorites]

I admire those with green thumbs, but I've never been one of 'em and haven't really sought to be.

However, I love our messy-ass front lawn! We have a tiny yard, and years ago (before we lived here) there was a tree here that was taken down, and the root system is still there underground, slowly rotting. This means there's all kinds of "circle of life" shit going on under our lawn. Some mornings I go outside and our yard is COVERED in little mushrooms. One time the yard was covered in a weird fungus that looked like e-z cheez. Once, hundreds of grubs crawled above ground from the root system overnight, and birds from miles around descended on our little yard for the buffet. Ordinary birds! Exotic birds! Colorful birds! Our dear cat nearly lost his mind! The mix of weeds on our lawn is never the same from one year to the next, either; it's dominated by little blue flowers one year, clover the next, then dandelions, then onion grass. And we occasionally have bunnies take up residence in our lawn. It's a fucking beautiful wild, unkempt mess and I wouldn't have it any other way.

In other news, I went out for karaoke last night with my wife and some new friends from work. We do booth karaoke a few times a year, but this time we went out to karaoke at a bar--which is a vanishing phenomenon in our neck of the woods. Y'ALL, IT WAS SO MUCH FUN. Everyone was friendly and supportive and having a good time. We did 4 Non-Blondes' "What's Going On" early in the evening and closed out with a duet of "Summer Nights." Strangers were high-fiving us and backing us up on the vocals. For a brief drunken moment we experienced paradise in suburbia.
posted by duffell at 1:38 PM on August 4, 2018 [8 favorites]

We have a weird linear garden that's only about two feet wide but 80' long and runs from the sidewalk all the way to the garage in the back of our property.

This is what it looked like when we moved in eleven years ago and here's an album of what it looks like now. The photography is all mine but I can't claim much responsibility for the improvements to the garden, that's all on my wife and Janet who worked on the design, planted most of it and comes and weeds every other week. Mostly I just water it on the occasional days when it's not raining here.

A very Pittsburgh anecdote: Janet had been working on our garden for two years or so when we ran into her at a neighborhood awards banquet where she was getting an award for maintaining community gardens. She was there with her husband, who turned out to be a co-worker of mine who I'd been working with for years but I never knew that his wife was our gardener. He'd actually already been to my house helping install a tree not knowing that he was working on the house of someone who sat two cubes away from him.
posted by octothorpe at 1:42 PM on August 4, 2018 [10 favorites]

I have two fruit trees in my backyard. A lemon and a pomegranate. The lemon tree came with the house and provides our street with lovely lemons for lemonade, tarts, cakes, and bread. The pomegranate tree has been in the back for one year and all of a sudden it has started producing like crazy. Some fruits grow in pairs or trios stuck to one another. We even have a fruit with five pomegranates attached to it.
posted by ilovemyhollyjollytrashcan at 1:44 PM on August 4, 2018 [5 favorites]

Nervous to put a hex on it as a small garden that gets about an hour of direct sun is, take a verklempt beat, NOT dead!?! A lot of help from a neighbor that works nights but have not let it dry out. A bit of lettuce was recovering from something when I think a muskrat moved in under said neighbors porch and stripped bare. But tomatoes may just ripen. And can not tell if the climbing beans are beans or an invasive weed.

So mint is supposed to be "invasive" but while not dead and actually made some tea the plants are not going crazy and that's the one that I want to go crazy, I'd be just happy if it was mint everywhere and I could just walk by and grab a few stalks for the teapot. What makes mint the happiest?
posted by sammyo at 1:52 PM on August 4, 2018 [1 favorite]

We rent and are lucky enough to have our own garden. It has a medlar tree that I could do without because of aforementioned fruit bombs and it blocking light to the lemon tree, which suffered a bit from the ice storm this winter and is in need of a serious de-aphiding.

The rest of our L-shaped garden is mainly paving stones, with two strips of dirt following our privacy fence and one obnoxious slowly rotting tree stump. The other day I got tired of worrying about the girls twisting an ankle in the sunken dirt surrounding it and chucked in more dirt and pine bark to level it out.

I am proud of myself that I got my act together this year and put down lawn fabric to stop the neighborhood cats from using our garden as a litterbox. From last year only the gerbera Daisy, lemon verbena, thyme, and oregano survived benign neglect and the ice storm. With the exception of the thyme, this year anything edible is in containers - mint, speramint, Greek/Thai/ Italian basil, sage, rosemary, parsley, and tomatillos which got planted late from seed. The parsley isn’t doing so hot and the mints are a bit scraggly for some reason I have yet to figure out.

This year the begonias and an impatiens are ok under the medlar. The ballon flower is ok but not blooming very much. The marigolds initially looked like they were going to be ok, but at all slowly withering. They’re in the same place the lavendar and petunias almost immediately died last year, which I had blamed on cat pee. Maybe not...a new petunia is thriving in a balcony container this year.

There is English ivy all over the privacy fence and I hacked the everliving shit out of one side of the L a few weeks back; I found a sock and a slightly rotten orange in there, most likely from our upstairs neighbors. Trimming the other side was holy mother of god spider central; I managed to keep my shit together when I cut through an egg sack and baby spiders were all over the place. If I had my druthers I’d rip it all out and put in sambac jasmine.
posted by romakimmy at 2:22 PM on August 4, 2018 [2 favorites]

I really should be bragging about my beans, but I have escaped the tyranny of the summer garden to sit on a beach in Cantabria so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
posted by lollymccatburglar at 2:23 PM on August 4, 2018 [6 favorites]

I'm another with a veranda garden. My cherry tomato plant was initially daunted by the insane heat of this summer, but seems to have resigned itself and is starting to flower again, as well as producing a respectable number of fruits already that I keep forgetting to pick before they get overripe. The basil is happily flowering, which I know it's not supposed to do, but also producing a respectable number of leaves. The habanero is sort of in a holding pattern, with five or six fruits which are taking turns politely to ripen (so I can have Thai curry once a week, at least if my husband will put up with it); based on past years I expect it to endure the summer patiently and then burst out in flowers and fruits come late September, knock wood.

Best to cooker girl and others who are struggling right now.

(Wordshore, your line about the butler made me picture the 21st-century Mr. Bunter and his duties of curating Lord Peter's online postings as well as his ties and his port.)
posted by huimangm at 2:34 PM on August 4, 2018 [3 favorites]

Last May, while I was inpatient for a bone marrow transplant, I had to have about 25 feet of waste drain replaced in my front yard. The plumber dug a trench 10 feet deep to replace the orangeberg with pvc. Of course, the dirt removed didn't exactly fit back into the trench, and I was left with a big, ugly, 3 foot high, 5 foot wide dirt mound, and told to let it settle back in over the next year or two.

So I'm all immunocompromised and immunosuppressed and can't go anywhere near dirt (or damn near anything else). My caregiver mobilized my neighbors, and with a bunch of craigslist freebee's, made an awesome berm-bed-garden out of it. Around the apron they planted ground cover and set in boxwood, ornamental grasses, phlox, basil, lavender, tomatoes, potatoes - and more stuff I don't know about. The plantings have filled in and it's looking freaking awesome right now. I can't help but smile every time I see it out my front window.
posted by klarck at 3:03 PM on August 4, 2018 [23 favorites]

Lots and lots of stuff planted, but I don't like much of what I grow and tend to give it away. Growing pole beans and half runners on bean teepees and that's made a big wall of bean plants. Tomatoes planted and fruit has set but is not ripe yet. Basil and a couple of kinds of peppers are coming along well. Mint, as always, covers a good sized area and is surrounded by a cloud of different kinds of buzzy things. Cat mint and catnip have done well, and the cats are happy. Butternut squash plants are huge and are making their way across the sidewalk from the backdoor to the back gate, usually they go a slightly different direction. I'll probably keep all the squash and some of the basil.

The tiger lilies and peonies did well but are done for the year. Bee balm has just finished up, too. The chaste tree is covered in bumblebees, and the pots of marigolds and thyme are holding up very well. I've been in this house since 2011 and the first two summers I was here I was able to grow sunflowers but every summer since something has gone wrong and I have had no luck. This year I have three happy yellow sunflowers out back by my garage, though!
posted by dilettante at 3:45 PM on August 4, 2018 [2 favorites]

We have a few planter boxes on our balcony. They were looking really good until a week ago. I forgot to water them this week and half the plants are dead now. On the plus side, the chilli and basil plants are hanging in there.
posted by Kris10_b at 3:49 PM on August 4, 2018 [1 favorite]

We bought our current house last year, and didn't do anything with the yard except plant fruit trees. This year, we have a small veggie garden going -- half a dozen tomato plants, two lemon cukes, a melon, and some tatsoi. I also have my daphne, and my spouse is trying to get some raspberry canes going. He installed a drip system on a timer, and it's been the difference between, "Oh, crap, we have plants..." and "Whoa! Look! Tomatoes!" Plus it's fun to nerd out about how much water goes where, when.
posted by linettasky at 3:57 PM on August 4, 2018 [2 favorites]

It's been an interesting week garden wise. The beans continue to produce, and I'm looking forward to pickling some of them but I will have to buy dill instead of using my own because my dill plant died today. Two culprits, pot seems to have been too small even for the dwarf fernleaf I planted, and aphids.

In more terrible bug news, the aphids were all over my two carrot pots. I went scorched earth- hosed everything down with high pressure and sprayed afterwards with mineral oil- hope that's enough. The fennel I planted is doing marvelously though, so at least one frondy thing is happy.

I screwed up with my tomato plant, its been so cloudy it looks like it got over-watered and the leafs are curling. easy fix, I just have to stop watering it for a few days let it dry out. Luckily the sun has started to come out so yay. It might actually be August in San Francisco! Even though the nightshades haven't seemed to have been hit with the aphid storm, I sprayed them down anyways.

The African Blue Basil has been attracting sweat bees! and other native Californian species of bee! It's also been attracting cabbage moths, the bane of all gardeners. I'm having trouble killing them because they look like butterflies. But I kill their caterpillars with extreme prejudice.

Other good bugs are here, the ladybug attack squad is ready and willing. Better to use natures ladybugs than buy, because unless you know for sure they're local ladybugs you might be ordering an invasive species.

Also the fava beans are starting to look like triffids. this was the fava beans 21 days ago YIKES!

I made some herb-y tomato sauce in the oven using my plethora of herbs which was nice, even If I had to have mom lift the tray in and out of the oven as I'm not allowed yet. 4 more days till my post-op and the all-clear! I am a little stir-crazy. I'm still working on my garden blog, have 9 posts so far, going to wait till I have 15-20 to throw it up on projects. Once I get the all clear I should have plenty of material for the blog. Right now I'm resting. Its warm out, which is just wonderful. Maybe I'll get peppers after all!
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 3:58 PM on August 4, 2018 [4 favorites]

I have a patio full of dead plants in pots. Some of the big pots on the North end of the patio are now piles of dirt, dead plant, and potsherds, because my son has hit them with his car trying to park.

But that's not what I want to talk about.

Late last night I told the (long) story about the time I gave birth unassisted at home in response to an AskMe. That birth always gives rise to some complicated feelings, because above all, I got my daughter out of it, next, from a biological perspective it was nothing but net for her and for me, but also, I learned some hard lessons on what I could expect from my mom, my then-husband, and Society (as embodied by the hospital medical staff). Underlying all of it is the remembrance of how, as a 23-year-old woman who had never known significant adversity, I was so sure I alone had all the answers and fuck you who asked for your advice. I know less now than I did then, but I have definitely experienced more -- and thanks in part to my hubris, not all of it was fun. So I go to bed and wake up still kind of grrrrm.

I fire up my computer and see this story about LeBron James. So I knew that LeBron James was a basketball player, a goat, some said (not sure what they meant by that, but Nas is also a goat, so it's good) but I didn't know what he might have done to win the First Lady's esteem. Holy shit. He makes Bill Gates look like Donald Trump. Everything he does -- and he does SO many things -- is so smart, and so sensitive to the needs of the people he is trying to help, it's as though he really, actually cares. I reflect too that I can talk about LeBron James to my Dad -- my Dad is the one who first told me that LeBron James played basketball -- and that fits my new campaign of Talking to My Dad About Things Unrelated to His Health! Then I see the story about the actual goats invading Boise, my mom's hometown. So nice, so happy! The We Rent Goats site is nothing but gold, every goddamned word. Here's a bit about on of their herding dogs:
Jake is also known as “Happy Jake,” because about all that he needs to be happy is to be alive. Jake is an Australian Sheppard with no instincts about what to do or where to be. If Jake in the field, you can be sure that he’s in the way. But Jake is a great buddy and Lynda totally loves him.
Jake knows more than I did at 23 for sure. Today's mission: be a goat, or at least be Jake.
posted by pH Indicating Socks at 4:39 PM on August 4, 2018 [11 favorites]

Nancy_LockIsLit_Palmer, ooh jealous of your avocado bounty! Here's some ideas for using up avocado!

I too have the jealousy. The best thing I've ever done with an avocado:
Dark Chocolate Avocado Truffles
They're vegan as long as you use dairy-free chocolate, and can easily be made sugar-free too if you're into that sort of thing. The way I make 'em they don't taste like avocado at all!
posted by carsonb at 4:46 PM on August 4, 2018 [3 favorites]

We have a lot of herbs in our garden. And a lot of catnip. We give away a lot of both. Today though, I dropped off at my wife's work two large duffel bags filled with fresh catnip - and I added a label. (She has a client that is a professional pet-sitter and has about 40 kitty clients).

The label has a picture of a very spaced out cat with the words:
"Marlborough Kitty Cartel"
"Toby's Home-Grown Catnip"

Originally it didn't have the second line, but I figured if someone saw the bags and mistook the label, I'd have a lot of answering to do with the local police... so... I clearly labeled it as "Home Grown Catnip" And yes, narcotics and catnip don't look alike, but... I just don't need the hassle when trying to make a solid joke...

To be clear: Toby is our cat... he isn't pushing the stuff... but while I was getting it ready he did crawl through the pile of catnip in a scene reminiscent of Johnny Depp in Blow.
posted by Nanukthedog at 6:34 PM on August 4, 2018 [5 favorites]

So um... last autumn I got the crazy idea of going all Johnny Appleseed and hitting up local cideries for pomace and planting the seeds. It turns out that the people who run cideries tend to be really nice and I came back with about 20 gallons of wild pear pomace, made a bunch of planters out of tires that jerks dumped on my property, plopped all the pomace in the planters, waited through the winter, and have been weeding it all year so far.

Long story short, I now have enough foot-tall pear trees to forest a couple acres, assuming they all make it. They're the cutest little trees I've ever seen.
posted by ragtag at 6:37 PM on August 4, 2018 [9 favorites]

The newest addition to my garden is a wild purple raspberry plant I dug up and transplanted. I came across purple raspberries for the first time this summer when I found a great berry picking spot that had both red and black raspberries. Occasionally they hybridize and the result is a plant with purple berries. The taste is sort of in between the tastes of red and black and arguably better than either. (Maybe not better than a perfect black raspberry, but they're perfect for like half a day and then they're too ripe and they're not as good. The purple ones are good over a much wider ripeness range.) The one I transplanted got all wilty and part of it died, not surprisingly, but now it's putting up a new shoot and I'm hoping it will survive and eventually make lots of berries and new plants. Apparently they tip root like black raspberries.

My favorite thing in my garden is the wineberries. (I live a little too far north for them but I brought some up from further south and I protect them with a lot of straw in the winter and so far they've only been killed all the way back to the roots once.) Wineberries are definitely the best raspberry and among the top contenders for best berry and even best of all fruit. Mine aren't ripe yet, but it shouldn't be too much longer.

My tomatoes got off to a slow start because the first part of the summer was so cool, but lately I've had enough to make several small batches of salsa. Yay! And we're getting lots of blueberries.
posted by Redstart at 6:57 PM on August 4, 2018 [7 favorites]

cooker girl--so very sorry. Difficult news. I wish you and your family strength.

It's been a strange, delayed garden sort of year--I waited until March to start tomato and pepper seedlings, and got them into the garden in good time, but...things have been slow (I drove all of those T-posts myself, with my magic whanger, and then caged and staked everything. 48 tomato plans, and an embarassing number of pepper plants). That's been compounded by the enormous amount of rain we received last week, which left me pumping 18 inches of water from the basement. I did pick a couple of poblanos for chile rellenos, and the wax peppers have been excellent on burgers. Tomatoes are still green. Shallots and onions are doing fine. Raspberry patch grows apace. The pig garden is mostly fall crops--Brussels sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, potatoes--but the corn looks like it's doing well. The garlic has gone from this to this, and might just be good enough for drying and pulverizing. My favorite walnut tree is till alive. I did not kill my apple trees with pruning, though there will be no apples this year.

The neighbor let me help check his bee hives!

And though it took several go-rounds, I made order, converting this mess into heat for this winter.

My mother used to say "My children, like my plants, grow in spite of me." She had a black thumb, and was talking about the spider plant in the window. But my firstborn has his first job, and I spent today exploring his new world. I walked by one of the outdoor seating areas and heard "Mama!" and there he was, on break with a co-worker (the very girl whose number he got last time they worked together. His sister wasted no time in introducing herself and checking out the new friend.). This setting will challenge him and stretch him socially, for which I am very glad., even as I worry a little. So I am sunburned and tired after a day off from garden chores, and I'll be glad to return to somewhere green and quiet and organic tomorrow. My sunflowers comfort me.
posted by MonkeyToes at 7:14 PM on August 4, 2018 [11 favorites]

I am in love with roses. I am obsessively, frighteningly in love with roses. And then I'm an apartment dweller trying aggressively to kill the little basil plant that lives in my window through only remembering it exists once a week, and so I will probably not have a garden until I have the kind of money to have a gardener or until I meet someone with a green thumb. In lieu of living things, I have this wall hanging in my living room, which I am madly in love with still two years after I got it.
posted by Sequence at 7:30 PM on August 4, 2018 [2 favorites]

which left me pumping 18 inches of water from the basement

Sometimes I think you are living my dream MonkeyToes, but OOF. That's the problem with cellars eh?
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 7:36 PM on August 4, 2018

I sort of feel bad because I don't garden, even though we have enough yard to make it possible. My dad always did, and I appreciated having fresh vegetables as a teen, if not before. In my defense, we have an overabundance of deer, rabbits, and groundhogs that would need to be countered, and I don't have it in me to do that. We've been members of our local CSA since we moved back here, though, lo these 20 years, so we get our share of fresh veggies. Someday I'll put in a native pollinator garden.
posted by mollweide at 7:44 PM on August 4, 2018 [2 favorites]

Regarding gardens, well, heh. My parents both love gardening, and as mentioned elsewhere earlier, they were also guerrilla tree-planters for much of my childhood, enlisting the entire family in this pursuit. My brother has followed them in this and filmed public-access farming and cooking shows in high school; studied soil science, ecology, farming practices, etc. in college; apprenticed as a farmer; has run a farm himself; and has worked with farmers for most of his career.

So when my father died last month, my brother kind of lost his mind for the better part of 2 weeks, and one result was that he undertook a massive gardening project in my back yard while he was staying with me. Everyone grieves differently, and this was his way of doing so. Some days he spent more time on that than the work we had to do related to the memorial services and estate. Ultimately, he cleared a truly massive amount of invasive honeysuckle from the easement—the piles of brush looked like a tornado had hit the back yard—and planted flowering ornamental trees, berry bushes, sunflowers, etc. So provided the bunnies don't nibble it all away, at some point, I'll have berries and things!

Otherwise, regarding the ankle situation: Tonight, I successfully walked across my living room and back multiple times with just one crutch! First time ever! I'm currently 9 1/2 weeks out from surgery, so this is more or less on schedule. I'm celebrating with gelato, an ice pack, and CSI. Yayyyyyy!
posted by limeonaire at 8:08 PM on August 4, 2018 [8 favorites]

The people who owned my property about 10 years ago had dreams of something like homesteading on it and laid in the foundations for quite a lot of fruit and nut trees, and vegetable garden that's about 50x80. along with quite a bit of ornamental landscaping. It's so much would be great for a retired person or a couple who didn't have many hobbies besides gardening, but for lil' ole me and my shiftless daughter it gets a bit much at times and we're well into the time of year when my weeding strategy is "wait for winter." Last year we moved in in mid-May but were just honestly so overwhelmed with getting moved in and settled that I didn't plant any veggies and just made use of the fruits. We've got 3 peaches, 2 producing apple trees (one ancient, one newer), 2 pie cherries, 1 ancient giant unproductive sweet cherry, 2 asshole chicasaw plums, an asshole thorny hardy citrus, a nice Asian pear, a barlett type pear that produced hardly any fruit last year but is probably the happiest of the fruit trees this year, 1 American-Chinese chestnut hybrid that is not self-fertile and seems to have lost its mate so I need to get on replacing that, 3 or so chinkapin chestnuts that I really like--the fruit is small and prickly as hell but the skin is soft enough you can bite them open with your teeth and they're very sweet and delicious; several hazelnut bushes, I think there are two English walnuts that haven't decided to do anything yet, um....a hardy fig that didn't get any of its fruit to ripen last year, a giant patch of black raspberries, a few surviving loganberries that are getting overrun by black raspberries, strawberries, asparagus, a couple gooseberries that got hit hard by blight this grapes, saskatoon berries...mulberries, lots of wineberries down in the woods...

Vegetable garden: weather has been weird this year--no snow, then late snow, followed by no spring rain in April followed by record-setting rains in May, then another near-record dry spell, and now record-setting wet lots of failures (most of the spring crucifers) but a few things that did alright: red Russian kale, a few peas, a little good old black seeded simpson lettuce, I got a few zucchini before the squash vine borers got them, and so far I've gotten a few tromboccino and delicata squash, a few jalapenos, a good deal of cilantro, basil has done very well, both Thai and genovese. I neglected my tomatoes and so they're behind schedule but I'll get enough for my purposes. Green onions. Right now I'm waiting for the corn to finish filling out, I planted corn/beans/squash together for the first time and I'm debating whether it was a success--the beans tend to get the corn a little top-heavy and susceptible to wind damage. Some herbs here and there, although last winter was brutal on the lavender and I lost 2/3rds of it and all the mature rosemary.

Onward and upward!
posted by drlith at 8:21 PM on August 4, 2018 [5 favorites]

Sad to say the wild blackberries on my favorite trail have dried up. There's a mess of them further up and further in that might still be alive, but they were new growth down and in the way and bound to get chopped so the old trail can re-open next month. Next month the trail I've been dreaming about riding end-to-end opens again!
Sometimes when you feel like you might not have anything in you to give you check anyway and find a stash of good vibes nipped away deep in you somewhere and available to send across the Internets to those who need them. Peace to you and yours, cooker girl.
posted by carsonb at 9:36 PM on August 4, 2018 [4 favorites]

My garden! It's small, but I do love it. This year is the first year in a long, long time that I've had a good place and the means to grow anything, so having two southeast windows and a small porch has been such a nice change. In many ways, the lights at the end of a 15+ year tunnel are close enough that I'm actually starting to believe they're real. Even so, it's been a slightly rough year in terms of workload and family demands, and caring for my plants has been relaxing and rewarding (as well as helping to console me for the fact that I still can't have a cat). So, outdoor friends in pots: sage, patchouli, a giant spearmint, Corsican mint, catnip, bee balm, lemon verbena, citronella, a "curry" plant, a tenacious little Christmas cactus, a rosemary that needs treatment tomorrow for powdery mildew, tarragon, and a scraggly sunflower. Indoors it's nqma's Rest & Rehabilitation Home for Abandoned Orchids, with a dozen current inhabitants in various stages of recovery from neglect (I collect them from acquaintances and co-workers who over-water, or let get them get sunburned, or just don't know what to do with them after they stop flowering). because of this, I have no idea what species I have, and with a few exceptions, no idea what they'll look like when they heal enough to flower (which I think several will, this year!) My favorites are an 11-leafed monster phalaenopsis that's just shooting out aerial roots in every direction, and a tiny little miniature phal which came to me all shriveled and is now sleek and growing two even-tinier babies. I've been trying out semi-water culture on the saddest ones for a few weeks, and they seem to be liking it so far. They are kept in good spirits by the company provided two elderly, massive African violets I'm plant-sitting for my dad, and a rescued geranium which had forked, then had one side die, resulting in a single, comically long "leg". I repotted it and oriented it to stand upright; when the roots are more established, I'll probably take cuttings and prune it back. Probably.
posted by notquitemaryann at 9:53 PM on August 4, 2018 [1 favorite]

Today was a perfectly lovely and unplanned day in Seattle. We have two huge garden boxes in our little urban homestead and they’re overflowing with color and fresh vegetables right now. I’m determined to use it all and not to let anything rot on the plant this year. There is something mystical about creating food out of plants that you grew. I remember my grandfather having a huge veggie garden in the Michigan woods and then my dad doing the same when I was a kid. I relandscaped when my kids were born and have been planting every year, from seeds, with varying degrees of participation from the kids; I don’t make them do anything and whenever they seem interested I involve them and talk to them about it a lot and sometimes they help out.

I’ve been going through a tough time lately. Maybe it’s a midlife thing, but everything with career, with my partner, my kids, my parents, and politics of course just seems really hard and disappointing. Last week I may finally have come to the realization that all of it has led me to a place where my alcohol intake has become a problem. A symptom too of bigger issues, but a problem in and of itself. So I’m day five now without alcohol and it’s going fine, but I’m also feeling a little lost, you know? Like how do I unwind without it? How do I socialize without it? I’ve been doing a lot of meditation, and isolating myself. As part of my self examination, I’ve gone back and read a lot of Anthony Bourdain. I’ve always felt a huge connection to him, as though this was an older person who figured things out and knew how to live life the right way. His suicide hit hard and really spurred a lot of reflection for me. Despite all of his amazing insights and experiences, I think his relationship to drugs and tobacco and alcohol was also an important character-defining influence in his life and it’s very similar to my own relationship with those things that make me feel good. Surely it played some kind of role in his depression and suicide.

But reading those books, I’m also reminded of the great, healthy, things about food, and community, and working hard for the things you’re passionate about.

I make a really fucking amazing pizza crust. Seriously, it’s true. And I nearly always have the ingredients on hand.

The day started with no plan. 9 Year Old Kid’s kinda Random Friend called up out of the blue and came over. They decided to go to the park where they just kinda spent the day climbing on stuff and watching rap videos on Random Friend’s phone and talking. I was just kinda spying on them watching them try out being older kids and hanging out. And it was pretty awesome. While that was going on, I took 6 Year Old Kid and his best buddy, Neighbor Kid on a bike ride. We watched the Blue Angels attack us from above as we do every year the first weekend of August.

We arrived back home around 4 pm and Random Friend’s dad offered to take him and 9 Year Old to the pool while 6 Year Old and Neighbor Kid played through several rounds of Arms on the Nintendo Switch.

My wife made a few blech suggestions for dinner and finally, I was like “No. Fresh vegetable pizza.” I started the crust and was like “Honey, why don’t you text Random Friend’s parents and Neighbor Kid’s parents and see if we can have the boys over for dinner and I’ll just double the recipe?” Next thing I know, Random Friend’s dad and Neighbor Kid’s whole family are coming over for dinner. (This by itself is remarkable, it’s very unusual for Seattleites to not have plans on a summer Saturday night). They’re bringing the booze.

I triple the dough recipe. I go out to the garden and harvest a bounty. Bright green lettuce, cherry tomatoes bursting with ripeness, spicy arugula, cucumbers, peppers, oregano, and basil. I’m marveling at what I’ve created on my own, on my land, using the sun and my ownhard work. I think about food as the universal glue that brings us together, and the importance of really fresh ingredients grown and prepared with heart. Our adult guests arrive just as I am pulling out the risen dough. They pour wine, I pour non-alcoholic beer.

We converse and they are interested in my dough skills. I show them the tricks to rolling out and tossing and preparing the dough just right for a perfect thin, crisp and a hint of char. The kids go first and I show them the things we’ve pulled out of our garden and help them assemble their very own handmade pizzas. At one point I pull out a heaping bowl of bright red cherry tomatoes and tell the six year olds: you’ve got to try these, here’s some ranch if you need it.

“Ick! I hate those!” “I don’t like to eat vegetables.”

Then I talk to them about it. Remember when we started these seeds in the egg cartons in March? Oh, remember when we took daddy’s coffee grounds and that yucky compost and planted the green sprouts in the dirt? Remember how hot and sunny it was that made them grow up those towers and the flowers appeared which brought the bees to pollinate them? And how exciting when those first green balls appeared? And while the sunflowers shot above them and the tomatoes turned redder and redder and juicier? Well I just pulled these directly off the plant while you were playing Arms. You’ll never taste any fresher. They literally explode with flavor in your mouth! And damn if those kids didn’t eat a mouthful of tomatoes while their parents looked on, stunned.

I fed four kids and five adults tonight, on day 5 of my sobriety, with food I made myself and some mad pizza skills. We had conversation about parenting, our neighborhood’s homeless problem, schools, screen time, and all the normal midlife parent stuff. They got nicely toasted on red wine. I did not. Like I said, it was a lovely, life affirming, unplanned moment of humanity coming together over food.

Eat food, mostly plants, not too much. And if you are able, grow some of it yourself.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 9:57 PM on August 4, 2018 [27 favorites]

sigh... I used to like gardening, but it turns out that I only like gardening alone. My last house had a totally enclosed backyard, so I could go out there and muck about by myself and it was lovely. My current house has a very open backyard, so it's chatting with friendly neighbours while covered with dirt and sweat, or the front yard which is on a moderately busy street so people walking past feel the need to comment on what I'm doing. The last time I tried to tidy up the jungle out front a nice lady wanted to give me a lesson in pruning, and I think some rando took a picture of my butt.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 10:18 PM on August 4, 2018 [3 favorites]

I park in my backyard on top of the foundation for an old garage that I had demolished a couple years ago. Anyway, I've got a small pile of junk that is made up of old fence posts and a couple 4ft sections of old chainlink fence that sits on the left side of the foundation and I park on the right side. My uncle was going to come pick up the pile of stuff because they burn it or do something with it at scout camp. A BUNNY HAS TAKEN UP RESIDENCE IN THE PILE OF OLD JUNK. So, a lot of the time when I leave I am talking to the bunny and warning the bunny that I am headed that way and don't mean to scare him...because I found him earlier in the week when I accidentally scared him and he darted out of his new home. The bunny likes being talked to and does his wiggly nose bunny thing.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 11:13 PM on August 4, 2018 [8 favorites]

How does my garden grow? Fuck if I know. (Cross-stitch blurb!)

I haven't had the time to look at it in like three months. I think I stopped hand/bucket watering about a month before the heat wave, and whatever kale, spinach and brussles might survive the slugs, weeds and dehydration is going to be mighty tasty or mutated by fall. I think there's some beans in there somewhere too.

I told you we'd starve if I was in charge of the plants! I mean, I'm not, I'm definitely not starving and berries and pit fruit are dropping.

On the other hand if anyone wants a deep house DJ i'm apparently your... human... gal? Wait, did I say that out loud? Shiiiit. Ok, it's getting weird.

No, really, here's one of the best, coolest, weirdest blends of music I've ever put together in my life. This one is special. Please read the description in the link. Yes, I'm totally distracting myself, but building stuff, too. There's a real potential for both a recording studio and festivals in my future, and I'm increasingly comfortable on stage and wanting to just live for music.

Welp, I'm in a cross roads and transition on a number of levels again. I need to quit/resign/withdraw from job because it keeps tearing off my oxygen mask, is less healthy than I thought it was and is in a major period of upheaval. This is really tearing me up because I really don't want to abandon ship at such a crucial time, but I'm trying to reconcile myself with the knowledge that I know I boarded ship when it was sinking and I tried, I really tried.

It's coming back to the metrics of the EL megathread again, and I can't fix all the things. The short of it is I've had dozens of alumni and volunteers come to me over the last couple of months and share why they stopped volunteering and all stories point back to verbal abuse and abrasiveness from my direct boss and director, and that many other people before me have tried to address this.

I don't have the reserves to fix this. I could do the job as described, I can't do the job with that kind of friction. Doing that kind of EL as an introvert is a huge investment for me and it's just not ok to have it burned up like that.

So, on top of all of this I've been frustrated with my in-between stuff with transition and treatment, and I was expecting it. Things are weird and they're going to be weird. I'm also struggling with energy and, well, depression coming back with a vengeance to the point I've been lashing out and pissing off a lot of good people around me that I care about a lot.

I'm not sure where the middle ground is, or even quite where the ground is right now. I am still dancing, and it's there between beats. The sun is shining, my room is mainly clean, I'm fed, my life is filled with music and light and nature.

I'm not confused, but I'm figuring things out, again.

One of the most alarming things so far about transitioning is I briefly forgot how to dance for a good two months. I felt like I moved like... a gawky teenager, and it was totally weird and foreign to me because I boogie like no one's business. Like, my center of gravity was shifting, my muscles were changing, and my tastes in music and rhythm and aesthetics were changing. There has definitely been a huge shift in my musical tastes from the techy and nerdy IDM to the flowing, ethereal and much more sensual, and it's always been there, seeping through the cracks.

So I've been gardening my headphones and ears a whole lot to sooth my ailments and keep on.

posted by loquacious at 5:32 AM on August 5, 2018 [4 favorites]

My second floor apartment does not have a garden. I have a tiny pair of cactuses that live on my window sill. My parents gave me a pothos plant for my interior basement office, but it's been adopted by the graduate students, so I have very little green. I like to pretend that the Arboretum is my backyard, sometimes - a great expanse of trees and good places to sit and read, and I like wandering around the fens.
posted by ChuraChura at 7:02 AM on August 5, 2018 [3 favorites]

We bought a house with a decent bit of acreage last winter. About half of it is wooded, and most of the rest is our septic field, but we have declared the front yard a hobby farm because neither of us are gonna mow and we may as well work with it. I can't take much credit for the garden (our agreement is that my wife does the gardening, because she's excited about it and also doesn't have arthritis so she can weed, and I do the landscaping, because I actually have a sense of where things are in space and care about having walkable paths) but it's coming along nicely.

In a fit of enthusiasm, my wife got 125 strawberry plants of five different varieties, 25 raspberry canes likewise, a red currant, a gooseberry, a bunch of asparagus, three plum trees, a few brussels sprouts, and way WAY too many cucumbers. (Turns out a packet of seeds is a lot. We got four.) She also got a hefty bag of sweet pea seeds from a friend for her birthday, and I voted on some acorn squash.

The raspberries are doing beautifully - all of the bare-root canes took just fine, leafed out, and are starting to bear fruit. The strawberries are starting to come in, at least those that bear later (and are therefore allowed to bear in their first year.) We got a couple of what Alex calls "teenage pregnancies" from the others, from flowers that we missed, but next year we should be up to our eyeballs in them. The sweet peas were delicious, although I have plans to trellis them differently next year, and we had our first cucumber a couple weeks ago.

The asparagus isn't for eating just yet, but it's waist-high and propagating, and the plum trees look healthy. We've treated the soil for Japanese beetles and clearly need to do more fertilizing next year. We've got supplies to amend the soil for a double handful of blueberry bushes (we do love our berries) and we'll put a mulberry tree in somewhere, too. Plus I ripped up the terrible, incompetently-laid brick walkway and put down a couple of nice mulch paths, cleared the unwise plantings around the wellhead and put a nice little brick well around it (and planted morning glories around it, which should bloom this month - I'm not much for flowers but I do love morning glories.)

It's starting to feel - and taste - like home.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 7:35 AM on August 5, 2018 [7 favorites]

Even though I've become a city person, I have many generations of farmers on both sides of my family and growing vegetables is in my blood. Unfortunately, I moved in March and the timing is off on everything, but I have two big raised beds and a bunch of things in pots at home and a little plot in the community garden up the street.

Right now my gardens are making lots of colors of small tomatoes, tomatillos, jalapeño peppers, blueberries, regular pole beans and the wonderful foot-long ones I think are just called long beans, a few everbearing strawberries, dino kale, chard, beet greens, absolutely delicious broccoli, scallions, and some pretty feeble cucumbers and squashes (I'm eating more of the blossoms than the fruit from the squash). I have a giant rosemary bush and some lavender plants, a few kinds of thyme, basil, garlic chives, and some fennel plants I can't get rid of and use the leaves and flowers in things because they're there. I planted daylilies, three colors of crocosmia that the hummingbirds go bonkers for, echinacea, sea holly, lupunes, foxgloves, and a bunch of annual flowers, and the house came with a big purple butterfly bush and lots of dahlias and lilies. The old crabapple tree in the backyard is making fruit for the first time in years because the garden attracted every pollinator in the area. The community garden plot has some giant sunflowers and a rainbow of poppies, courtesy of birds.

We're already done picking and devouring cauliflower and romanesco, artichokes, strawberries and raspberries, and such a huge crop of snap peas and snow peas that even my pea-obsessed kid couldn't keep up. I'm curing garlic and shallots after a glorious harvest of garlic scapes and getting ready to put in more peas and some greens and carrots and nasturtiums for fall. This isn't bad for a garden I didn't even start until it was already spring.

My kiddo is almost four and I completely lucked out to get a child who doesn't hate produce. She's developed a passion for broccoli and ate almost all of the berries we grew. Only problem is that now she refuses to eat broccoli or raspberries from the grocery store or even the farmers' market because, her words, they're not full of yummy magic like the ones we grew. I'd like her to think of gardening as a form of magic for as many more years as possible.
posted by centrifugal at 8:27 AM on August 5, 2018 [4 favorites]

We live in an apartment with a plant destroying cat, so I have to get my garden vicariously in the neighborhood (nice roses!).

My friend reminded me recently about the "haint blue" porch tradition, so my current hobby when taking walks is to look for blue porch ceilings in the neighborhood. I've been taking cell phone photos when I find them, though I have to be careful because people find strangers taking photos of their houses somewhat suspicious! So far I have 8 definites, and a few borderline where the ceiling is white but shading a bit toward a blue tone. Example of one I've found.
posted by gudrun at 10:35 AM on August 5, 2018 [3 favorites]

Thoughts and love to you and yours, cooker girl.

I so miss having a garden outside my door, but I have the next best thing, a tiny wee allotment in a park about a mile and a half away. It's about 1.5m by 3m, really small, but the unusually warm summer has made it unbelievably prolific this year! I've had whole bags full of Sutherland kale and pak choi, my first ever beetroots (turns out I LOVE roasted beetroot mmmm), and TOO MANY oversized radishes. My potatoes are going great guns and I finally put in rhubarb in the spring, after putting it off for years because you're not supposed to harvest it until the second year, and delayed vegetable gratification - meh. But next year I'll have me some lovely rhubarb joy. Oh, and I've also had salad leaves, and maybe a few carrots to come, and some marigolds to help with pest control.

A week or two ago, I brought home two big bags stuffed with greens, radishes, a marrow I'd been given, beets, etc.etc. There was so much I had the brainwave of putting it all the in bath in some cold water to keep fresh and buy me time to prep/preserve it. I have an ensuite shower room, so the main bathroom doesn't get much use.

Dealt with most of it, but a day or so later remembered the last remnants were still in there. Was just going to bed, so I had to leave future me a note, in caps, on the kitchen table:


posted by penguin pie at 3:15 PM on August 5, 2018 [7 favorites]

My father is an excellent gardener, and I have been sampling his bounty monthly as I return to visit my dying mother. The snap peas and cherry tomatoes were particularly good this year.

Mom is in good spirits, and still feeling well enough to help throw a bridal shower two Fridays ago for my fiancee. She has started to make noises about being around for the wedding in February, but my understanding of the prognosis is that that is not in the cards, so I am worried that she will change her plan and be doing some desperate, aggressive cancer treatments instead of the moderate plan that she is currently enduring.

I have moved to the Twin Cities and am staying with family in the suburbs; we've almost secured a downtown Minneapolis apartment for when fiancee arrives Labor Day. I *love* my new nonprofit job and can see how I will add a lot of value improving their tech practices along many axes. Looking forward to attending a Twin Cities meetup this autumn.

I have a lot of balls in the air, but enjoy change, and being busy, so the not-obviously-terrible things are welcome.
posted by Kwine at 4:21 PM on August 5, 2018 [2 favorites]

I have harvested over 250 tiny tomatoes from my single cherry tomato plant. "Just plant one cherry tomato plant", they said. "It will be so nice to have cherry tomatoes on hand," they said. I'm glad that I started keeping count because I made a bold prediction that I will get 3,000 tomatoes off this one plant alone. I knew it could be a heavy producer (I've grown this cultivar before - Mexican Midget - and it went absolutely wild last time too).

I have also harvested about a dozen regular sized tomatoes off the other plants but there's a ton of green tomatoes, just waiting for that next heat wave. Better get the giant sauce-making pot ready.

My new baby apple trees look okay. They got overwatered: lots of rain plus I was an overzealous plant parent watering too much. The pear tree and gooseberry bush are also doing fine. My onions all fell over so they don't look pretty but they're bulbing nicely. The potatoes have been attacked by slugs but they're still doing well as far as I can tell. Who knows what's going on underground!

My two older apple trees and my beans have been under attack by Japanese beetles for about a month. These fuckers are relentless. Luckily they're also pretty lazy and stupid so I just brush them off the leaves and into the Swimming Pool of Death (a bucket of soapy water). I don't know if they're doing any deep damage other than skeletonizing the leaves, but next year I'm going to treat the lawn to try and keep them at bay.

Of course, it's August and I'm already taking notes and making plans for next year.
posted by Elly Vortex at 4:41 PM on August 5, 2018 [5 favorites]

The white-tailed deer in Rockville are getting bolder and bolder. Just now there was one in our yard, about 10 feet from our front door, eating our neighbor's tomato plants. I ran outside pantsless and waved a broom at it and it lazily clopped out. Then I went nuclear: got the bottle of coyote urine from the laundry room and sprayed the perimeter.
posted by duffell at 4:47 PM on August 5, 2018 [2 favorites]

I planted bulbs earlier this spring and have just been in awe because I've got lilies and gladiolas blooming. I love the smell of the lilies. I've been in this house with it's wonderful yard for less than a year and every new plant or flower delights me. Earlier this week, the wisteria plant started blooming again, which I didn't realize they do. Every single time something blooms, it just feels like a gift.
posted by gt2 at 9:04 PM on August 5, 2018 [4 favorites]

The white-tailed deer in Rockville are getting bolder and bolder.

see sometimes when I complain about aphids I'm like, lets hold a small prayer for the fact that my pests are bugs and not quadrupeds because as much as mom likes to complain about the local opossum population- they ain't eating my beans!
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 10:06 PM on August 5, 2018 [2 favorites]

Gardening for me this summer has mainly been about (again.) cutting down a bunch of holly and yew trees that my father once thought were "practical" or "slow growing," but have (long before my parents passed away) had the time to grow tall and create offsprings everywhere. I opened up the entire lot and it looks twice as big now. Other than that, the blistering heat in northern Europe prevents us from growing pretty much anything except some nasturtiums in pots, while it also reduces the time I have to spend cutting the lawn (which is good because we're sorting through about a million of old books inside).
I also re-shaped the area that used to be my mom's herb garden using some nice old bricks, retrieved some oregano and lemon balm remnants from between the weeds, gave the sage plant some actual water and planted a few stone-yard-type flowers around the patch, and everything seemed to sigh of relief, and started growing again. Also the roses are doing great once I started watering them.
posted by Namlit at 11:09 PM on August 5, 2018 [1 favorite]

Love to you and your family, cooker girl.

I lost 4 gorgeous tomato plants and about 3 or 4 dozen almost ripe tomatoes in a 117 degree heat wave a couple of weeks ago which made me very sad, but one of the 3 tomato plants that survived is putting out flowers again and I am thrilled. I completely lost a very healthy elderberry tree and all of my peppers as well. The tree shriveled up and died in one afternoon. Thankfully, I did not lose my watermelon (moon and stars), crookneck squash, any of my citrus trees, massive bunches of lavender or any of my herbs (mint, basil, thyme, oregano, rosemary, dill, chives). Also, my three lovely chickens made it without becoming roast chickens. Very grateful. In the great backyard overhaul of 2019, I am going to get a shade sail because the heat in my completely unshaded backyard is overwhelming. I am looking forward to a cool weekend morning when I can go out and pull out everything that is dead, get some compost mixed into the soil (thanks to a literal shit ton of chicken poop and feathers) and look forward to my southern California fall and winter garden.
posted by Sophie1 at 6:23 AM on August 6, 2018 [3 favorites]

Welp. It is no longer Saturday and this is not about gardening but I have a tale. This is the kind of tale that one of my old roommates would introduce by saying, "They say that God has special protections for fools, drunkards, and children; this proves that I am God's favorite idiot drunken child."

So I was a little restless last night, towards early evening, wanting to do something but a little too hot and broke to do much. After looking into movies near me (nothing I wanted to see) or considering trips to far flung parts of the city (too long in transit) i finally decided to hell with it, I'd run to the drug store for a qhick errand and then stop at Best Bar In The World on the way home for a quick rum-and-coke. Threw some things into a handbag (including a book to read at the bar) and head out. Took a seat at one of the sidewalk tables, got a rum-and-coke, and lingered there, reading and watching the sunset and nursing my drink; people occasional came and went at the other tables near me.

Towards the end of my drink I decided I'd get my wallet ready to settle up, and get my keys handy. I reached into my bag to get my keys. Which....were not there.

Oh, did I mention my roommate was out of town until later tonight?

Did one more search of the bag, then sighed. When the waiter came by to check on me I calmly asked "would you mind looking up the name of a locksmith for me, and then loan me a cell phone? i just discovered I've forgotten my keys at home and i'm locked out of my apartment." The waiter clucked in sympathy and scurried off, and I sat there feeling profoundly stupid.

"....Excuse me," said the guy at the next table. "I couldn't help overhearing. The problem there is that a locksmith is probably going to run you about $600-$700."

"....Great," I said. Thinking, - way to rub salt in the wound, buddy.

"So if I can make a proposition - I own a contract business and live a block away, if you're comfortable and don't mind waiting until I finish my burger I can go get my drill and try to pop the lock for you."

"....Keep talking."

My new friend and i chatted while he ate; he was an Irish emigre who's been in the US since the early 90s and had been living in the neighborhood longer than I had. He owned a building in the area and also ran a construction company; he was more frequently at Best Bar at night (as opposed to my brunch habit). But he ate and paid quickly enough and then we set off to get his tools.

He spent a good 20 minutes trying to jimmy the lock with a credit card first, to spare me having to replace anything, but finally gave up and busted things with his drill (using my reading glasses as makeshift goggles). We were both pouring sweat when we got inside, so I immediately offered him ice water and towels, and we sat another 20 minutes or so, chatting while we both cooled down in my air conditioning.

Then he got a funny look and said "you know, I just remembered I may actually have a spare doorknob and lock in my garage as well, with a key. If you don't mind waiting about 15 minutes, I can go take a look, and if I have it I can come back and put it on and you'll be good to go." My thanks got even more effusive. He went home, successfully located the doorknob and came back to put it on.

While he'd been searching, I had been emptying my bag - I discovered that somehow in the mayhem while I was searching for my key, I somehow managed to steal some of the bar's silverware off my table. When he was done with the lock I showed him the silverware - "looks like I need to make a return trip to the bar now, want to come with me and I'll spot you another quick drink?" We returned (the waiter clapped when he heard I'd successfully gotten into my apartment), and spent another 30 minutes or so hanging out before calling it a night. He offered to pick up a replacement doorknob for me even and put it on (he recommended that "because the lock I did put on seems a bit sticky"). He was even apologizing for only having one key but I told him "dude, i am so far ahead of where I thought I was going to be that I'll take it."

Long story short - I locked myself out of my apartment but God sent me a protector in the form of a scruffy guy from Galway armed with a power drill and a doorknob.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:37 AM on August 6, 2018 [15 favorites]

IMPORTANT ADDITIONAL NOTE, because someone was kindly concerned for me -

I'm in touch with my super to get a more proper replacement lock. The lock my neighbor gave me was a stopgap so I could secure my apartment while waiting for the super. My deadbolt was still intact and I locked that as well this morning.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:09 AM on August 6, 2018 [4 favorites]

Not gardening as such, but my garden moth list is up to 442 species.

Now 443, after some very fiddly work taking macro photographs to check the shape of a moth’s forehead. And it looks like good conditions for moths tonight (i.e. warm, mainly), so fingers crossed for tomorrow morning.
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 1:43 PM on August 6, 2018 [2 favorites]

So I checked today and there are definitely blackberries further up and further in. They were tart and a little sweet and very much in the motherf^(%!*g way. Turns out I resent blackberry bushes for their thorns in very much the same way I resent poison oak for its urushiol. Ouch. We were just scouting an upcoming trailwork day so my ride partner convinced me to put my saw away and leave it for now. This section of trail is about as far up and far in one can go on a bike in this part of the Angeles National Forest; just on the other side of the nearby trailside CG is the Wilderness.

Also baked nana's banana/fig bread with mom yesterday. It is delicious.
posted by carsonb at 1:49 PM on August 6, 2018 [2 favorites]

carsonb: nana's banana/fig bread - can you share the recipe?
posted by gudrun at 3:48 PM on August 6, 2018

Well, I guess I don't have to worry about resigning from my job for going full ham clusterfuck and pear shaped or feeling like I'm letting people down. They're shutting down temporarily/indefinitely for a re-org and re-assessment.

This is a totally screwy mix of horrible and a sense of relief.

In other topsy turvy news my rental house is going on the market, but we're waiting to hear about closing on land, which we'd like to use for permaculture and music. Doors close and open.

As is understandable I'm having some trouble remembering to breathe normally.
posted by loquacious at 7:46 PM on August 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

When I was still in college, someone I attended weekly talks with invited me to her garden. I mentioned this to my now-wife (our relationship was in the early stages) and she flashed me an intensely jealous look. "This isn't some innocent thing. If a woman invites you to her garden, she's trying to make something happen."

I was skeptical. I wasn't, like, metaphorically being invited to her garden; as my colleague was a botanist, no doubt actual plants would be involved. But just in case I found a reason to be unavailable.
posted by a snickering nuthatch at 8:20 PM on August 6, 2018 [2 favorites]

gudrun, I thought you'd never ask!

Nana's Banana Bread
½ cup butter or margarine*
1½ cups sugar
3 eggs, separated
½ cup buttermilk
1½ cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup mashed ripe bananas
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Cream together butter and sugar. Add egg yolks and mix well. Dissolve baking soda into buttermilk and add to the mixture. Mix in flour next, and beat well. If using nuts, add now. Add bananas and vanilla and continue to mix. Clean off your beaters pretty well** and beat the egg whites until frothy. Fold into batter with spatula. Bake at 325° for 50 minutes.

* I always use butter, and never opt to add nuts.
** Mom always used her fingers because that's what Nana did.

That's the recipe as I received it. When I have figs, I use ½ cup mashed ripe bananas and ½ cup mashed figs. You could probably fully replace the banana with the figs, but the banana adds a lot of flavor whereas the figs are much subtler when baked into the bread. I usually fill two loaf pans with this recipe. I thought it was easy to make before, but this time Mom showed me how to use the stand mixer and it was dead simple.
posted by carsonb at 9:11 PM on August 6, 2018 [3 favorites]

Now 443, after some very fiddly work taking macro photographs to check the shape of a moth’s forehead. And it looks like good conditions for moths tonight (i.e. warm, mainly), so fingers crossed for tomorrow morning.

Three new species overnight; a Garden Tiger, which is a spectacular species but mine was a very battered example, a Poplar Grey, and Sitochroa verticalis. Plus one which looks like a rare species which might possibly be a first record for the county — I’ll have to check with the moth recorder. It’ll need its genitals dissecting to be sure of the ID.

Anyway. I promise I’m not planning to post moth list updates indefinitely.
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 4:01 AM on August 7, 2018 [3 favorites]

My yard is not really good for gardening - it's a small piece of land with lots of shade. I have some containers with various flowers that are doing really well and make me happy. The random grapes have now taken over 2/3 of available fence space, and I love it. They didn't set any fruit this year, though. The leaves are huge and provide lots of privacy and make the backyard feel lush and green.

I accidentally signed up for the biggest share possible from a CSA I had a few years ago, so I've been getting 3/4 bushel weekly, which is a lot for my family of two. We've been doing pretty good at eating most of it, though. I got basil from them one week, and it rooted like crazy while waiting to be used, so I planted it and that's also doing really well. My laziness (plop this into a cup of water, leave for 2 weeks) turned a sprig of basil into unlimited basil! Inspired by some homesteading friends we visited a few weeks ago, I ordered 50 lbs of peaches from them that will be arriving this Thursday. I bought a little canning kit the last time I got the CSA but never used it. Guess who's going to be canning peaches and other peachy things this weekend?

This past weekend Mr. Fig and I went to Lollapalooza for our 10th time (!) together, my 11th. It was a little hot and very dusty, but a great time overall. LL Cool J had the best set, surprisingly. He's one of my mom's celebrity crushes so I had to go to his set, we ended up at the rail, everyone else there was older and chill, and he did non-stop old school hip hop for an hour and nailed it. So much fun. He only stopped to talk to the crowd a little bit towards the end which is a shame, because he's hilarious and charming. "All right everybody, when this beat drops I want you all to jump!! Ok, ok... I know who's out here watching me, so if you can't jump just sorta, bounce up and down a little. It's cool, it's still hip hop to do that if your knees ain't up to it"
posted by Fig at 4:35 AM on August 7, 2018 [7 favorites]

I garden for a living.
It is the third day of a heatwave which includes humidity along with the heat. As per work tradition, we are doing a large scale project on really hot days. We are excavating the soil from the inside of an abandoned roofless house by hand as there is no way to bring in heavy equipment anywhere due to terrain. The goal is to get the very glassy soil out and replace it with topsoil and our compost and create a ruin garden. We are all sweating a lot.

The gardens I work in are a fraction of an old estate that sits on a ridge above the Hudson River a little north of New York City. Benignly and not benignly neglected for years, they're now seven years into the restoration process and getting a lot of positive attention.

I’m trying to persuade myself that I should do my annual IRL (picnic in the gardens) in September or October but life is very busy at work and at home.
posted by sciencegeek at 2:43 PM on August 7, 2018 [4 favorites]

Here in the East Midlands of England, the heatwave which has seemed to be relentless for so long finally broke a few hours ago. A cooling, FRESH, breeze started coming in from the west; neighbours and myself stood outside, marvelling at how refreshing it felt, and how long it had been since feeling wind like this.

The forecast for tomorrow is six degrees centigrade lower than today and other recent days, and it looks like it'll stay that way for a while. With the days noticeably shortening, and the sun dropping slightly lower at its peak every day, it's very unlikely that the temperatures can get back up to as high as they've been of late. High summer feels over; now we are into the pleasant merger of low summer and autumn. Thankfully.

I've also finally gotten my social media pretty much how I want it. It's only taken ... a lot of years now. {eats a nice slice of Victoria Sponge Cake while looking at said social media}

In other news; because I did not completely kill her plants while she was away, my near neighbour from Chicago brought me back a box of the greatest cereal in human history. Sugar! Colour! More sugar! Fruit (sort of)! Breakfast is back to being splendidly hyper again. I will probably reciprocate by getting her some Christmas mince pies, as they'll be in the shops in three weeks time straight after the August Bank Holiday (and Christmas Day is only twenty weeks today anyway).

Completely unrelated: I have an increasing suspicion that said neighbour possibly quietly thinks Englishmen are insane, for some unknown reason.
posted by Wordshore at 3:22 PM on August 7, 2018 [2 favorites]

Love to cooker girl and everyone else who's going through it.

It's currently thunderstorming here. The cat was nervous about it but we had a conversation and some petting and now she's snoozing far away from windows. I've been growing cherry tomatoes and basil and chili peppers on our fire escape this year. I don't like tomatoes, but have the hope that if I grow the tomatoes, then I will like them. Everyone laughs at me about this hope.

One of my good friends lives in the neighborhood and has access to a big old backyard. She grows plants in pots and helps take care of her landlords' plants. A group of buddies has brunch there sometimes, and last time, she made a frittata and another friend brought banana bread with walnuts all over and another friend brought her two-year-old daughter. After we ate, the toddler and the garden-haver went around picking a bunch of nice vegetables for the kid to take home. There was a green bell pepper that the kid got to have. I have only a few times in my life seen someone as excited for something as this kid was for that green pepper. She held it in both hands and looked straight into my eyes and crouched a little bit and just shivered at me. Then she shivered at the pepper. I looked at her mom and we made that face you make when you've just seen great things.

Since it was clear the pepper was not gonna make it home, we washed it and busted it up and all shared it. It tasted like summertime and gardens and new hope, and we all ate it together, casually, as if it all wasn't miracle enough. The kid was happy with the raw pepper and moved on to the tomatoes.
posted by lauranesson at 4:56 PM on August 7, 2018 [4 favorites]

More hugs to cookergirl <3


Four years ago I inherited a beautiful garden when we bought our townhouse. It has banana plants surrounding a pond.
I loved the pond, but the raccoons also loved it. Soon it shifted from my restful place feeding fish after work to the stressfilled nightmare reconstructing the pump after raccoon attack. Then last summer the raccoons built a nest under our deck AND destroyed our second pump and I was done. This summer we had the deck pulled up and raccoon-proofed, and reset, during which the pond was drained.

Due to much ongoing family stuff we never got back to doing something with the ugly pit ... until today!

I had been advised by the garden shop not to fill with soil as it would turn into a mud pit so, this morning my son helped me take all the rocks in the yard, and the big rocks surrounding the pond and dump them into the pond pit. I bought tall flowers to attract butterflies and many bags of garden soil and constructed a series of pits using the rocks and these now hold the flowers. As i don't want a mud pit, the garden is sunken down lower than the rest of the garden but I've decided as a Victoria resident to think of it as a miniature Butchard gardens. And for now it is beautiful and finally a restful space again.
posted by chapps at 6:37 PM on August 10, 2018 [3 favorites]

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