June 1st and it feels as if gardening season has finally arrived in southeast Michigan. The forecast is for a high of 80° and yesterday’s humidity has abated. The incessant and ferocious rains which I was sure would drown everything I planted are but a memory. It was, indeed, a miserable May for gardening but progress was made nonetheless.
Linda announced that she wasn’t into growing vegetables as much as I am and so would devote herself to flowers and other non-edible plants. This is her passion and strength, born no doubt of the fact that she managed a family floral operation for many years. Growing fruits – grapes, at least – and vegetables is a passion for me but I would be telling a stretcher to call it a strength. I’ve had wonderful success with tomatoes the past few years but my success with other vegetables has been marginal.
We live in a detached condominium with a backyard which does not, legally, belong to us although everyone treats these common areas behind their units as their own. This will be our third summer growing vegetables in raised beds constructed of 2” x 6” x 8’ long cedar boards built two boards high. The interior space is filled with growing medium: real dirt in the case of the first two years’ beds, a mixture of equal parts peat, compost and vermiculite for this year’s new raised bed. It seems funny to be growing vegetables in a mixture which contains no actual dirt but my Trusted Gardening Consultant at Downtown Home and Garden – that’s my term for him , I also rely on Trusted Hardware Consultant Jamie at Stadium Hardware – assures me the blend is perfect for my needs.
The raised beds have proliferated over these three years. We started out with two beds devoted largely to tomatoes. Last year I hired Linda’s son, Nick, to build an L-shaped bed attached to one of the original beds. I created a soil I thought would be conducive to wine grapes – sand, limestone and a small percentage of black dirt – and planted grapevines in this box.
This year I added a third raised bed which I am devoting to acorn squash so that we have a fall harvest. I planted four acorns squash seedlings in this 8’ x 2’ bed and am told the squash will spill out of the box and onto the grass, a problem I’ll need to deal with as our lawn service has never seen anything green it didn’t want to weed-whack into oblivion.
In addition to the food I raise and the fun I have doing so, consider the first two paragraphs from an Associated Press story I saw on Yahoo! as set forth below.
BERLIN – The number of people reported sick in Germany from a foodborne bacterial outbreak that has already killed 16 spiked over the last 24 hours, with nearly 100 more people suffering from severe and potentially fatal symptoms, the national disease control center said Wednesday.
Agriculture Minister Ilse Aigner said scientists were working nonstop to find the source of the unusual strain of the E. coli bacteria that is believed to have been spread in Europe on tainted vegetables — and where in the long journey from farm to grocery store the contamination occurred.
I’m pretty certain no one will get sick or die from eating organic vegetables raised on one’s own plot. D’accord? More to follow.