More Garden Diary

Fruit: The plum and apricot crops are tapering off, but the apples just keep coming. I spent an hour chopping apples yesterday afternoon, and barely made a dent in the surplus. And that's without even trying to keep up with the tree that produces mealy apples. The two trees that produce crisp apples have more than enough for us.

GrandDad marveled aloud the other night about how prolific the fruit trees were being in the face of his benign neglect, and wondered what would have happened had he actually bothered to fertilize the apple tree. A look of alarm spread over my face at the very idea of a more fertile apple tree.

Vegetables: We had our first zucchini of the season for dinner on Friday, as fresh as you can possibly get. Three out of four of our zucchini plants, including the odd-colored runt, have lovely fruit growing on them. The fourth plant only seems to be producing male blossoms.

We got our first ripe tomato yesterday -- a dime-sized cherry tomato that fell off the plant. The early-fruiting plants are covered with beautiful green and starting-to-redden tomatoes, and the plants are getting big and bushy.

I bought an assortment of vegetable seeds that were on end-of-season clearance a couple of weeks ago. I was vaguely aware that these were spring vegetables, and wasn't quite sure whether I was buying them for a fall planting or for next year. But I'm not at all sure that the spring/summer crop distinction really applies around here, since the climate is so temperate year-round. So I could probably go ahead and plant them just about any time.

Herbs: We ripped out the overgrown plants that had taken over the sidewalk beside the back porch. A jade plant had spilled out beyond a pot that was still sitting there buried in the undergrowth, and had put down masses of shallow roots in a quarter inch of soil that was covering half the sidewalk. I found a few leggy mint stalks and a whole lot of some kind of unidentified herb that my grandmother probably planted. I'm fairly confident it's something in the oregano/marjoram family. I'm nursing a root cutting of the mint and some stem cuttings of the let's-call-it-marjoram to see if I can re-establish them, although I suspect that nature will be more successful than my horticultural experiments. The mint family is pretty darn resilient, so I won't be surprised if they both come up again from the bits of root left in the earth.

It's amazing how much better it looks to have 8 inches of clear dirt between the house and sidewalk compared to a foot-and-a-half of woody unruly unmanaged growth crowding the walkway. Good place for a kitchen-door herb garden, although I haven't yet decided which plants to add.

Fauna: Our little baby birds in the honeysuckle are getting big, feathered, and noisy. I can tell without looking when moma bird has come with food, because they start cheeping up a storm. There's a second, more-colorful adult bird hanging around whom I suppose to be the papa bird. But I haven't seem him actually tend the nest. I think I'll pick up a bird book on my next library visit and see if I can find out just what kind of birds they are.

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