Rainy Day Garden Septet

As the old West Tisbury farmer would have said, we’ve just had some good drizzle-drozzle.  Our recent drizzle-drozzle lasted twenty-four hours. The half inch of drizzle-drozzle water we got was worth far more than three times as much water from a forty-minute cloudburst. That’s because drizzle-drozzles soak in so well.

Today’s moisture coaxed last week’s seeding of winter carrots into emergence. Carrots take a lot of care at first. Once they’re established they pretty much take care of themselves, but you’ve got to pay attention to them at the start. Since the seed is planted shallowly, maintaining moisture in the seedbed for the one to two weeks before the seedlings appear is critical. Then come another few weeks more of watchful care with moisture. The next step is the all-important job of thinning. That’s a job some people hate. Either because it’s tedious, head-to-the-ground, picky, finely co-ordinated finger work, or because they can’t stand to kill plants. My wife has finely co-ordinated fingers, but hates killing plants. So to me falls the task of being Dr. Death of the garden. The reward for being Grim Reaper of the seedlings is that of being the Happy Reaper come fall, when the harvest will give us a root cellar filled with enough carrots to feed us until next spring.

late in the afternoon, a break in the drizzle-drozzle called me out to the garden. I went, camera in hand. Here’s a septet of what was seen. We start with a boldly patterned lettuce.

Once upon a time, there might have been a half a page of lettuce varieties in a seed catalog. Mesclun was some obscure french word that no one knew the meaning of. The 2012 Johnny’s Selected Seeds catalog has about a dozen pages devoted to lettuces and lettuce mixes. Never mind the multitudes of microgreens, which have pages of their own…

Next door to that lettuce is the magenta spreen, whose latinate name is Chenopodium giganteum.

Alan Kapular, of Peace Seeds in Corvallis, Ore., obtained the seed from a French botanical garden and introduced it to American gardeners. A one pound bag of seed costs $116.00 at Johnny’s. Full size adult plants are said to grow to eight feet. Such lofty heights have not yet been reached at Wishetwurra Farm.

Just down the path, there are contrasting greens of volunteer nasturtiums.

Nasturtium means “nose twister”. The “Nas”part comes from the same root as the english word “nasal”, and the “turtium” part is related to our word “torsion”, which means “twist”. Hummingbirds like nasturtiums.

The small poppy bud poking out has a certain nasality of shape, doesn’t  it?

Just outside the garden fence, bronze fennel has spent the day capturing droplets of drizzle-drozzle. Fennel’s cousins include licorice and anise. Good cousins to have. These aromatic herbs are good cousins to have. One of their uses is as a carminative.

A carminative, also known as carminativum (plural carminativa), is an herb or preparation that either prevents formation of gas in the gastrointestinal tract or facilitates the expulsion of said gas, thereby combatting flatulence. Keep some fennel seeds handy in your pocket when you go to church. You don’t want to cause trouble in the choir loft.

An inspection of the blueberry bushes evokes anticipation of pies and crisps to come…

No blue yet to be seen, but there are some highly promising green blueberries coming along.

We finish with a blast from the underside of a calendula.

Calendula has a long history of use by herbalists. The flowers are edible, too. Try them fresh in salads or dry them to color cheese or other foods. Calendula is the poor person’s saffron.

2 responses to “Rainy Day Garden Septet

  1. great photos tom. i truely appreciate the dirzzle-drozzle. makes for a good even soaking of the tens of thousands of pots around my parts.

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