Friday, July 16, 2010

The coming of Chard

A momentous occasion today. It was raining in the morning, as usual these days, but it started to clear in the afternoon so out I went to the garden to pull weeds. I noticed that one of my seed-started radishes was pullable, and so was one of (in fact two of) the chards. So I duly pulled them:
The larger image will be off-focus. The new camera behaves differently from the old one -- you have to wait till it beeps before you depress the shutter fully, to allow autofocus to do its thing. Oh well. I had some of the radish and all of the chard with dinner. You treat it as spinach; I think it tastes better than spinach. One wonders at the audacity of supermarkets; they sell you blotter paper labeled "chard." Perhaps blotter paper is too tame a word for what they sell you.

My tomatos are not doing well. I am applying compost tea and hoping for a revival. It is difficult to grow tomatos in Alaska during cold phase of the NPO (North Pacific Oscillation, a 30-year or so cycle in temperature. What causes the NPO is a matter of speculation at this point.) It is hard enough in the warm cycles. On the other hand, I put cloches around the carrots and several have expressed a desire to be carrots a while longer. Win a few...

Cloches (from the French for "bell") are simply vaguely-cylindrical extra covers you put around plants. Sort of a personalized greenhouse. I make mine out of plastic fruit juice containers, thus getting recycle points. Cut the tops and bottoms off on the bandsaw, instant cloche. I have the jalapeños in the greenhouse cloched and some of the garlic cloched. It seems to help. Double cover, according to my bible (Eliot Coleman's The New Organic Gardener) works wonders.

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