Vegetable Garden, Week 4: Small signs of promise mixed with early regret

Northbrook continues to be at it’s most glorious.  Who knew that May was where it’s at for life at the farm?   It was a stunningly perfect long weekend, and we didn’t waste a moment.  We began with a trip to Springbreak Farm to pick up the reserved tomato plants.  There we met Gloria, who knows all things gardening and who was kind enough to share some words of wisdom with us.  A lovely man who may have been Gloria’s husband congratulated us on starting a vegetable garden and then fed us mustard greens from one of the greenhouses.  Best of all, Gloria offered to answer any questions I may have, and I’ll bet a few things will come up!  Gloria told us to wait a week or two before putting Mr. Stripey and his friends into the garden.  I’ll take her word for it.

On the drive back to our place, we turned down a country road and stumbled upon an auction taking place in someone’s front yard.  There are all kinds of auctions and estate sales in farm country, but we’ve never bumped into one before.  We pulled up and found about 300 people, most of whom were Amish, bidding, eating, relaxing, socializing and generally having a great time.  As it turned out, we were at the home of Leroy, the gentleman who sells us all kinds of wonderful things at the local Saturday morning livestock auction.  Our boy is enamored with the homemade sausages, I like the veggies, and our girl and the WorkHorse love the baked goods.  Everybody wins.  One of the best meals we ate last summer included beets right out of Leroy’s garden which we enjoyed with some goat cheese – perfection.  The auction was a remarkable experience.  For starters, I found the most beautiful window (I’ve been looking for one to make into a mirror for the upstairs hallway – but I want something gritty and authentic – this was the one), or so I thought.  The auction ladies thought it might go for $10 or $20, a price that sounded good to me.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t the only one who thought it was pretty cool, and it went for $270, not to me!  I’m way too cheap for that kind of price range.  But what was really special was being allowed to crash an Amish party.  Growing up near Mennonite country I’ve always seen people in buggies, women in bonnets and boys with hats and suspenders.  But I’d never been up close and personal on their turf.  We ate hamburgers and hotdogs served by the young women out of woodstoves.  The WorkHorse had some delicious cherry pie.  We saw girls in full-on Laura Ingalls garb sliding down an old metal slide, boys in suspenders jumping on a trampoline, and three tiny adorable brothers in identical clothing, right down to their perfect straw hats.  It really was something to see.  Oddly enough, our kids didn’t bat an eye.  Either they have been thoroughly exposed to many different cultures or they were right out of it that day, because it was a one-time only kind of experience.

Later that day my BFF and her kids joined us for fun and frivolities.  We kicked off campfire season and scarfed down 2012’s first smores (a lot of bug spray was involved).  Sunday the WorkHorse raced his bike and I did something I hadn’t done in about 2 months – nothing at all.  It was wonderful.  I made a great shrimp, tomato and watermelon salad for dinner as well as some flank steak and asparagus. After dinner the kids watched a movie and worked hard to stay awake until after dark for Victoria Day fireworks.  Several of the kids had never seen fireworks and the WorkHorse had gone all out – so a good time was had by all!

After our guests left on Monday we got back to work.  The pumpkin and watermelon bed was filled in and the corn bed was dug and filled in.  I obsessed over the gaps in my garden and discovered that most of the peas I planted have mysteriously disappeared.  While I know it’s much too late, I couldn’t resist putting a few more in.  I also filled in some gaps in my beets and did endless weeding, although I haven’t made a dent it in.  While I love seeing signs of life from the garden (the potatoes, kale, onions and lettuces continue to look happy enough) I am definitely fretting some of my decisions and techniques.  For example, where is the parsley for goodness sake???  And why are there only 4 spinach plants coming up? Also, I realized with a sinking feeling that I should have planted the carrots with the rest of the early veggies.  I listened to the advice of a gardening book which told me to wait, but apparently the carrots are quite late to the party now.  Then, when I planted them, I’m fairly sure I planted them too deep.  I’m learning that there is a disconnect between what the gardening books say and what is written on the back of the seed packet.  But which is correct?  I expect to be thoroughly schooled in these finer points over the next few years!  I have to admit that I do worry quite a bit about the veggies, even when I’m in the city.

Elsewhere around the farm the gardens are looking really lovely.  The irises are out and are splendid.  The clematis showed itself for the first time and even the scraggly poppies are showing a bud or two. Here are some pics from Northbrook on the May long weekend.

Rounding out the weekend, our neighbour Gary popped by just before we left and brought us asparagus he had just cut from his garden.  Nothing could have been more inspirational – just what my garden angst needed.  The spears are about 14 inches long!  We’ll be enjoying this asparagus all week!  Until next weekend, have a happy week!


7 thoughts on “Vegetable Garden, Week 4: Small signs of promise mixed with early regret

  1. Glad to stumble upon your blog this morning! Love your account of the Amish auction… and I’m going to try your beet and goat cheese idea–sounds scrumptious!

  2. Beautiful flowers. Don’t fret over the veggies; seek out advice from your local guru, Gloria, as books and seed packages, although informative, often speak from ideal conditions. I’ve found that gardening is about doing and learning as you go along . . . just as in the rest of life, we learn as we go along. You’re doing ever so well!!

  3. Pingback: Getting things done | Northbrook Farm

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