Garden of Neglect, Part II

101814_aphidcauliflowerBack in early August, 12 ears of the On Deck hybrid were harvested from the 18 tall and proud stalks. Not all 12 were edible, others yielded just a few rows of snaggle-toothed kernels, but a few were perfect little cobs of sweet corn. All told, 72714_silkytressesthe palm-sized hybrid cobs yielded just enough corn to augment a tasty batch of guacamole.

Not necessarily a horticultural miracle, no, but they were awfully fun to watch and it’s pretty gratifying to have 7814_kneehighsome knee-high by the Fourth of July action going on in an urban container garden.

All of this is to say: POD had three (aphids had totally claimed the honey bun melon) large pots ready for the taking. As this is real estate that would have in prior years was occupied by tomatoes and disappointing green beans, it was like having a blank canvas upon which to plant!

As luck would have it, Greensgrow had just sprouted cauliflower sets and POD snapped up a bunch of them before the loopers that live on the farm could infest them.

Pots scrubbed, fresh dirt acquired, plants planted.

Now, nearly three months later, loopers are happy campers and aphids are sucking away.

Here’s hoping our gardening by neglect yields a couple heads of cauliflower…yup, that’s looper poop. Organic fertilizing at its finest.



The Garden of Neglect

General Lee CucumberYears ago, when this garden minder was a newly-minted employee at an off-campus study program, she noted a colleague’s withered, brown, desiccated and extremely dead cactus.

“How on earth do you kill a cactus and why do you keep that thing?” queried the naïve childless young woman.

“I don’t want to give my students the wrong idea,” answered the wise mother of three.

As the pages of this blog testify, until recently, this tender was an involved and nurturing gardener. Dead leaves were snipped, pots were rotated to capitalize on the sun (or shade), water was hauled up the sladder to combat Philly’s brutal summers, compost was applied in an effort to fertilize organically, aphids were futilely combated, loopers were fed to nearby sparrows, and ailing plants were ruthlessly culled.

This year, however, the Hurricane took up a lot of energy. And Plants On Deck, while neglected, thrived. Aphids were ignored and withered leaves clung to the woody vines, but the aforementioned Hurricane was sent off to preschool with lunches stuffed with juicy cherry tomatoes and crunchy cucumbers (bitter skins removed). Endless containers of Swiss chard goma-ae were consumed. Crisp peppers were roasted and mountains of herbed chicken were devoured.

It’s October now. And the Hurricane had a cucumber sandwich for lunch yesterday.