7.11.11 Garden Update: Slow & Steady

Eldred house 790 xxx
eldred, new york
It's about time I gave you a peek at the garden. Things got off to a slow start what with a certain person getting into a spot of trouble in Indonesia, and a certain other person having to rush over there for 2 weeks, but eventually tiny plants were purchased and placed in the soil. And then it rained. And then it got incredibly hot for a few days, and then it got really cold. And then it rained some more. A lot. A ton. Each year brings its own particular set of weather patterns, and the resulting garden is a clear reflection of that. Compared to last July's splendor, we are behind. The lushness is just starting to creep into the vegetable garden after a few solid days of sunshine. My herb garden is bedraggled, the parsley battered. The native plants that we put in last year, though, are, for the most part, doing quite well. Our stone paths are flanked with honeysuckle and fragrant sumac, and the wild raspberry has gone, well, wild. Just now it's beset by Japanese beetles, which chew the leaves into lacy patterns and can strip a plant in the short time it takes you to go inside and down a glass of icy lemonade. Every day I pluck off dozens and drown them without remorse in a cup of soapy water. It's a jungle out here.
Back garden 790 xxx
mint, lavender, sage, native grasses, fragrant sumac
Bee balm rhubarb 790 xxx
bee balm, rhubarb, yarrow and angelica
Potatoes 790 xxx
g is growing potatoes for the first time—fingerlings!
Cukes 790 xxx
finally the cukes are making some headway
We've also got lettuces, chard, eggplants, summer squash, spinach, shiso, hot peppers, basil, collards and two kinds of kale.
Tomatoes 790 xxx
several kinds of tomatoes and tomatillos
G protects his tomatoes the natural way by planting ground cherries next to them. It's fascinating to see how the bugs go right for the ground cherries and seem oblivious to the juicy young tomato leaves. I'll update you next when we've got something to harvest. Until then, pray that the groundhog stays away...


I pay the neighbor kids to capture and drown beetles. A penny apiece. I do the same when they pick up hickory nuts - a real walking hazard! Your gardens are gorgeous. I hope the groundhog keeps out!
Cathy on July 11, 2011 at 5:18 am —
Cathy, you're so lucky to have those nimble little fingers at your disposal. Beetle-picking has become something of an obsession for me!
laura on July 11, 2011 at 7:04 am —
The house and surroundings seem quite English. A lovely spot that I'd be surprised if you've not had stoppers-by wanting to admire the yard front to back. Love what you two have done.
Vivian on July 11, 2011 at 2:05 pm —
Hmmm, English? I ilke that idea. We're going for a natural, untamed look. Wish you could see it in person, Vivian...
laura on July 11, 2011 at 5:33 pm —
Looks lovely! I've never heard of ground cherries being a good way to deter bugs from eating your tomatoes! Lucky for me, the ground cherries have re-seeded all over the place. Only problem is that I love ground cherries. But do I love tomatoes better?
Julia on July 15, 2011 at 6:22 pm —
Julia, we read about ground cherries protecting tomatoes in some farm almanac from the early 1900s and decided to give it a try! Lots of the ground cherries survive so you can still eat those. We seem to have a variety that produces very tiny fruit though. And this year, one of the tomatillo plants got munched anyway.
laura on July 15, 2011 at 7:37 pm —
Good to know that I'll still have some ground cherries to eat! I always hope to make a jam, but they're so good from the vine I never get the chance. My tomatillos also got completely munched, which was surprising because they were in a bed of luscious kale and chard. Who would do that? Bugs are so crazy!
Julia on July 16, 2011 at 11:39 am —
I am having a war with Japanese beetles right now; have to be ruthless!
laura on July 16, 2011 at 1:30 pm —