In the garden: Give peas a chance
October 21, 2010
BASALT – The freezing nighttime temperatures are bringing a close to gardening, which might be a blessing for the Condon family.
We ended up with a plot in the Basalt community garden this summer on the strength of my daughter advocating for such efforts as part of a high school project. We had a good time casting our luck, as well as our seeds, even though my wife, daughter and I collectively only have a tip of a green thumb. Thank goodness garden masters Gerry and Gayle were often on hand to give us tips and prevent us from panicking.
Our tastiest success were the Red McClure potatoes. We planted nine hills, then freaked out when they were slow to emerge. Gerry scratched his head over that one, noting that all you have to do is throw a seed potato in the ground and water it occasionally to help it flourish. Thankfully, our plants sprouted and then grew with a vengeance.
Payoff came a couple of Saturdays ago. It brought back memories of digging up hill after hill of potatoes with my grandpa in our lush Iowa garden when I was a kid. That good Iowa dirt was so prolific we’d pull up spuds quicker than Sarah Palin collects donations at a Tea Party convention.
In Basalt, our harvest was rewarding if not quite as bountiful. I reckon we hauled in 15 to 20 pounds of potatoes, ranging in size from small bakers to golf balls. And, man, are they yummy.
The tomatoes were also healthy producers. The sole zucchini squash went nuts. The lettuce kept us mowing down BLTs for much of the early season, and we managed to get a few peas and string beans.
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My biggest lesson this year was chill out and give peas (and everything else) a chance. I panicked when various veggies didn’t immediately pop up, so I planted more seeds. We ended up with The Jolly Green Jungle. The potatoes flopped into the tomatoes despite an effort to fence them off. The tomatoes, in turned, spilled out of their cages onto the beans and peas. The zucchini simply overwhelmed everything.
We hope to give it another whirl next year, but we will show a little restraint.