Monday, June 15, 2009

Surprise Guests

While clearing out salad box 1.0 for another sowing, I came across a number of surprise guests - I imagine they are red wigglers, as fifty-percent of the mix in the box is LES Ecology Center compost. I don't know whether there were eggs in the mix when I brought it home or if there were already mature worms hanging out in there. Needless to say I was a little less aggressive with the hand fork upon discovering my squirming friends.

I decided to pull this box because, as compared with the simpson & usb mix in box 2.0, its produce was bitter. It was sown in late April, was (maybe) allowed to dry out a bit too much a couple times in the early days, and was (probably) thinned a little late. I'm chalking up the bitterness to gardener error, but I wonder how much the growing media influences produce bitterness, and whether there are any amendments that can be made to improve the produce. The only tips I could find are to keep lettuce evenly moist and cool to keep it growing fast and sweet. Any suggestions?

Up next in box 1.1 - radichetta, lolla rossa, red sails and merveille des quatre saisons. Is that last one part of the Named Vegetables Trend? Bittman calls this the trend that means, "you no longer eat just, say, gremolata, but 'A Relish of Flat Leaf Parsley, Meyer Lemon Zest, and Bob's Iranian Garlic.'" If so, next month's chez Mapleton-BKLYN guests should be prepared for a "La Merveille des Quatre Saisons Early Summer Harvest Salad with Charcoal-Grilled Baby Ronde de Nice Squash, Evolutionary Organics Watermelon Radishes and Green Goddess Dressing featuring Hudson Valley Seed Library Forest Green Parsley & Chives." Maybe I'll cut the lettuce super early so I can add "Baby" to the name. Oh yes, and it's a pass on the anchovies in the dressing for my vegetarian friends, in case any of you were wondering.

Summer is on its way, and though this afternoon we had a brief showing of sun and respite from the humidity that has been plaguing us here in NYC, dark ominous clouds have rolled in right now. I was feeling a little moldy myself and it doesn't look like that will end any time soon.

Since my sowing and setup activities have dwindled, and you probably don't want posts like "wow, my squash leaves just grew 1.2mm in the past six hours," I'll be turning off the computer and spending the summer outdoors. I will post if I think it worth posting for the benefit of fellow freshmen gardeners or anyone thinking of diving headfirst into urban container gardening. I'll also be posting regularly on flickr as growth and harvest warrant (hint, I think one can use RSS to keep track of new posts if so inclined).

As always, I welcome feedback, suggestions, flames and token gifts...especially token gifts. Comment away and have a safe and productive summer.

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