Monday, June 29, 2015

Good and Bad News

The good news is that we got green beans, summer squash and zucchini planted this past weekend. We also have some blackberries growing! I don't expect a lot this first year, but they certainly look nice so far:

When I planted the cilantro seeds, I wasn't expecting much to happen. The seeds had been saved over two years ago, and didn't look great in the plastic container where they were stored. So I sowed them all, thinking little would come up. I already took a half bushel basket and donated it to the Castlewood Fresh Stop for the last CSA pickup, and we still have a ton growing. I purchased a cheap clothes drying rack yesterday, and my plan is to dry some of it for seasoning, and let the rest seed so we can have more coriander. And the cabbages they were planted around also seem happy - they are beginning to make little leaf balls:

The flowering tree in our backyard (I still don't know what it is) is beginning to flower, too.

We also have half of the two-bin compost system built - the pieces for the other half are perched on top:

And now for some bad news. One morning we went out and noticed that somewhere in the neighborhood of half our garlic bulbs were missing. Somebody had stolen them! So I decided to harvest the rest. I took the little ones out back and tried replanting them there, but that isn't working out very well. I pulled them yesterday. This is the garlic harvest that we got from what was left after the theft:

The box itself is now empty except for two volunteer flowing plants that I have not yet identified. If you look carefully at the picture below, you will see near the left side of the box, toward the bottom of the picture, I have placed a small marker in the soil. That is where I have planted the last of the horseradish roots. The ones I planted in conjunction with the apple trees have not produced any greenery, and I have a feeling they won't. I don't know if this one will make it, either.

And last, but not least, I was sitting in front of the rain barrel on the back porch, filling a watering can, minding my own business, when suddenly there was a catastrophic failure of the gasket holding the spigot into the side of the barrel, and water sprayed out of the barrel at high velocity. Pete rushed over and grabbed the spigot and we stuck it back in, but it clearly was not going to stay. So I held it in place while he got a bigger bucket so we could at least try and save the water and put it on the garden plants. And then we had to change into dry clothes. :)

Now, this barrel had been damaged before. It's not new, we brought it with us from the townhouse and at one point it had fallen over and the original spigot was broken. So this was a replacement spigot. The spigot itself seems undamaged, and we have another gasket as well. I had an idea to fix it in place with some marine grade epoxy, which we had on hand somewhere... When we finally found it, Pete read the instructions on it and it says it doesn't work well with flexible plastics - which the gasket does appear to be. It is certainly flexible, and it may be rubber (hard to tell these days what is petro-chemical based and what is not, sometimes). So he is reluctant to try it. We spent some time at Lowes looking for an alternative, or perhaps some metal or rigid plastic piece that could be an intermediary. But no luck so far. I suggested Pete stop by Chevy Chase Hardware and talk to the guys there. They are usually quite helpful when I have strange hardware problems that need to be fixed, and they are much more knowledgeable than the guys at Lowes (at least in my experience). So hopefully we will be able to solve the problem soon.

If not, that means I will now have three more rain barrels on my "to do" list instead of two (the one on the far side of our garage and the one on the neighbor's garage). The nice big ones aren't cheap, either.

Oh, well. I will post soon on some of the harvesting and canning we have done so far. I also have a small chest freezer for the basement on my "to do" list. I also plan to try some dehydrating. I have a small machine a friend didn't want. I'll let you know how that turns out.

Hope everyone has a fun and safe July 4th weekend!

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