Morning Thoughts in the Garden

June 14th, 2009

It really feels like summer with the warmer and humid weather.  Finally a good bit of sun for the garden to really take off.   I’m more excited by the day to see the vegetables growing.  Some may wonder, “Can you really be excited simply by watching a garden grow?”  To which I say, most assuredly, yes. It’s like God is present all around you with the beauty of the moment, day, season… It’s an enjoyment or appreciation perhaps, but to see food grow from seed where none grew before is almost magical.  And it represents other things too… hope, simplicity, tangible results of effort, even saving a few dollars here and there.  And it’s fun to remember how much you can actually do at home.



The hollyhocks are in bloom too- these grew on a couple of stalks last year, but now there are three times that many growing very tall- reaching past six feet.


Everything is starting to produce, so now it’s a matter of keeping the weeds down and the bugs away from the goodies.  In another experiment I’m going to try training cucumbers (below middle) on a wire fence.



I supported the top of the fence because cukes can get somewhat heavy, but we just don’t have a lot of room for them to spread out.  If you’ve grown cucumbers before you know they could take over the whole garden if you let them!


The sugar and snow peas are finally here and even the beets look halfway decent with the tops filling out.   The beets don’t seem to get very large though, and I’m wondering if that’s because our soil is too compacted? I didn’t till this year, but instead topdressed the rows with a couple inches of mulch and organic compost.  Much of that probably washed off in the rain.  Perhaps I’ll do the same next year, but only after tilling the row to loosen it up.


That may also be better for our potatoes (above). They’ve come along really well, but the soil is pretty thick.  Some of you professional potato growers have figured out that loose mulch works very well and makes  harvesting that much easier.  Maybe we’ll try that next year too.



This morning I went out to pick some of the peas- they grow so fast once they get going!  Fortunately the spring has been cool and wet, but I don’t know how long our pea harvest will be.  This will be the first big week for them.  Last year we grew beans that lasted almost all summer.  But I enjoy peas so much more than beans!  Maybe we’ll plant them again in September for a fall harvest?  Never tried that before.





On a different note in recent gardening news, a lot of folks are worried about looming passage of the Food Safety Modernization Act (HR 875).    While the idea and intent make sense in terms of safer foods for everyone, some organizations (here with comments) and people (here and here) believe small farm and livestock operations, organic gardening, farmer’s markets, and even backyard gardens could all be affected negatively by government regulations run amok over time.   In some areas of the blogosphere the subject nearly incites panic.

With all due respect to our most principled and esteemed lawyer friends :),  I find one of the comments to the Slow Food USA Blog posting from April 10th particularly appropriate:

“The fact that Rep. DeLauro is “shocked” that people have taken notice of her piece of ambiguous and questionable legislation should be a wake up for our nation that our politicrats are expecting us to continue being sheep. There is nothing wrong with the American public demanding greater transparency and a much more well-defined bill to be set on Obama’s desk once the legislative process is complete.  When politician’s don’t hear from anyone but corporate lobbyists, lawyers, and special interest groups is when the legislative process goes awry.  Kudos to the radicals and the misinformed public for asking questions and demanding clarification…if even they are “inflammatory”, “hysterical”, or “misguided”. ”   Glenn Grossman

After a little reading and practical reasoning however, the fears don’t appear to be justified.   But fears are borne from lack of clarity and/or transparency of intention.   There are simply too many questions left unanswered and that’s where the concern arises.     I have to say I’m squarely in the camp that opposes bigger government intruding into our lives.  Meaning I don’t enjoy seeing more government… more regulations… more laws to juggle and comply with and obey.  I don’t believe the government can protect us from all evils, including ourselves, nor should it attempt to.   But hey, the folks on capitol hill just want to do what’s best for us, right?  I have visions of FDA inspectors running around looking for ways to justify their existence…


Here at home the leaves on the trees are becoming that deep summer green once again.  It’s nice to see shade, and places where dappled sunlight falls through the trees.  Somehow it brings thoughts of quiet afternoons or exploring places not seen.


While I walked around early this morning I saw that the heron was back again.  It had an even bigger fish in its bill as it flew away.  I just shook my head…  the dogs wandered around with me, looking for the rabbit that haunts the garden.


Old man basset hound tells the yellow lab  “Woo…woo…wooooo… this is my spot!”  How about those ears!?


7 Responses to “Morning Thoughts in the Garden”

  1. R. Sherman

    No offense taken, by any means. :)

    I read the “myths” cite and I don’t disagree regarding certain specifics. The problem is not what the bill says, but rather what agency will be given rule-making power to implement the legislation. In most cases, congress passes a general law that says “Do something regarding these specific issues.” The burden of enforcing the law, via administrative rules, falls on the appropriate Executive agency, i.e. Agriculture in this case. It goes back to separation of powers. Congress makes law. The Executive enforces it.

    This is where the problem arises. Agriculture will take the Congressional mandate and formulate rules, which go into effect unless Congress overturns them. The broad language of the bill in question would allow intrusive regulation where there has been none before.

    Case in point. Normally, Congress and the Federal Executive may only regulate those matters which fall within “interstate commerce.” One would think a small farmers market sitting in Jeff City would not have to worry about it. However, the legislation allows Agriculture to shift the burden of proof from the government to the market to prove conclusively that its customers are “in state” residents. This means asking for an I.D. from every buyer.

    True enough, my backyard garden is safe. Safe, that is, until the moment I try to trade some of my excess cucumbers for your excess tomatoes. Given the tack our country is sailing at the moment toward ever greater intrusion into our lives, I don’t trust the politicians to restrain themselves in the slightest.


  2. R. Sherman

    Oh, and good looking dog, BTW.


  3. Your garden is looking great! I love to see the photos. You are way up by KC, right?

    Bureaucracy is such a scary thing. What seems like such a good idea to a rational clear-thinking person comes out the other end in an unrecognizable state. People should remind themselves of how wonderful of a job the government has done with things like budget, social security, education, and taxes… do we really want more of that level of incompetence? corruption? special interests? It’s hard to believe how bad it can go…

    The current expansion of powers make me sick to my stomach. It’s awfully hard to get them back once they’ve been handed over.


  4. You have a beautiful garden and a wonderful dog–I love basset hounds. Enlightening post.

  5. Your garden looks great and I’m in a time crunch so I can’t get at your middle section just yet. I’ll have to come back later.

  6. As a Constitutionalist, I would be against the bill for the reasons R. Sherman wrote so well in his response. As just an ordinary Joe, I see how well the government has run various things mentioned in Ron’s comment and would expect something very similar. So far, I don’t buy a lot of processed or convenience bagged products, (i.e. peanut butter, spinach, etc) so none of these outbreaks have really bothered me. I wonder if people who do buy lots of these and are affected quite often will wake up and realize their situation?

  7. R.- Good points, and that’s a little scary… that “broad language” leaves far too much open to interpretation by someone (or some political entity) with an agenda. Absent Congress’ attention, maybe that’s ultimately where the issues will resolve (or not)- between federal and state control/regulation? If it ever reaches into our gardens, then we’re all in trouble!
    Ron- Well, the garden is quite a bit smaller than yours, but big enough for most things. Somehow I like the little fence around it, but there’s not much room for expansion. ‘Course we could do some container gardens too… Actually, we’re quite a ways to the east and north of you! I think… Apologies for remaining locationally cryptic. :) I like your point about good ideas going in, but awful legislation coming out. Hopefully we won’t see too much expansion, or at least recognition and restraint along the way. Hard to feel like we have a voice in the process though.
    Sage- Thanks. He’s a good ‘ole dog, going on 12 years now. Doesn’t ask for anything other than a little attention and something his nose can enjoy smelling! He’s going deaf now, and sleeps for hours. But when food comes out, somehow he always magically appears!
    Ed- Thanks too! :) Understand…

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