Saturday, July 17, 2010

Resources in Our Backyard

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Today we went to the Edible Gardens at Lincoln Park Zoo.  It’s always so odd the resources you aren’t aware of in your back yard until something catches your eye.

It was so hot out there at 9:30 am that half of the lecture was done in the shade of the building next to the garden.  I woke up in a panic at 9:17 that we would be late for the workshop.  I got this characteristic about arriving on time from my husband who kept telling me to settle down and all would be fine.

Yep, it started late.  Despite the heat I was so pleased to recognize the signs of an organic garden that I had seen on my own deck… clearly eaten by bugs kale.  Yep there were holes in it.  Funny, that it made me feel better to see signs of critters in the vet patch but it did.

Then I saw a broad leaf plant on a tall reed-like crimson stalk. Hmmm, that looks a lot like my Lady's fingers except for the color.  I walked up to it and there was the most amazing flower emerging from a crimson pod.  The outer petals were a silky looking cream and the center was a dramatically crimson/blood-stain.  I can’t get the beauty of that flower out of my mind.

  Succession planting occurs when you plant again in the same space during the same growing season.  Sometimes you re-plant the crop that was previously there and sometimes you move on to plant something different.  Our teacher talked about the uncertainties of succession planting. You just can’t predict when it’s going to cool off or when the first frost will occur here.  Heck, I know folks who were still picking tomatoes in November.  After her rousing disclaimer she suggested planting cucumbers.  She also suggested planting beets, carrots, haricot vert, and yes my beloved collards.

The seminar was short and there weren’t a lot of questions.  I think everyone was just too hot out there to say much.  Remember when you were in class and a teacher would ask at the end of class if anyone had any questions?  Everyone just held their breath so there would be no suggestion that anyone, anyone would ask a question. 

Class dismissed with a big exhalation.

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