March 26, 2011

Spring Garden Update

The garden is growing apace with new plantings every weekend and only minor harvesting for soups and salads. We've been stalling on adding the warmer weather crops but the temperature has been rising as if it were the latter half of April rather than March. This weekend, A planted a couple of tomato plants - I mostly left that to her because my own skill in growing tomatoes has been less than stellar. A tells me that the major problem in Houston area for folks trying to grow good tomatoes is that they over-water their plants. Alas, it may be true - I may have loved them into oblivion.

Getting a good tomato has been difficult not only in my garden but in all the grocery stores that I've visited in our area - the reddish globes are mostly tasteless. Though many of them are quite pretty, with their attached green stems and, sometimes, perky leaves, they are also quite without taste. A single exception has been some "sweet" cherry tomatoes in our local HEB. Wow! some real tomato taste (sweetness with a tart bite) and they work so well cut in half and added to a stir-fry or to a marinara sauce.

While they are good, I am reminded, that they are not quite to the quality of a Jersey tomato (that should probably be capitalized - Jersey Tomato). (A's memories of her New Jersey tomatoes may exceed the possibilities of the tomato plant - but my lack of experience in eating Jersey tomatoes may have crippled my judgment.)

Today we visited my favorite nursery (Arbor Gate in Tomball) for new plants and besides the tomato plants, additional basil, lemon grass, eggplant, nasturtium, and leeks, we also purchased 3 seedling Malabar Spinach climbers (green variety). I'll report later on our success with these heat-loving vines from India.

The primary problem with visiting nurseries in the Springtime are the chores that suddenly await one upon returning home! Ah, well, Spring is bursting out everywhere.

I am reminded of the ending of Williams' Spring and All:

Lifeless in appearance, sluggish
dazed spring approaches—

They enter the new world naked,
cold, uncertain of all
save that they enter. All about them
the cold, familiar wind—

Now the grass, tomorrow
the stiff curl of wildcarrot leaf

One by one objects are defined—
It quickens: clarity, outline of leaf

But now the stark dignity of
entrance—Still, the profound change
has come upon them: rooted they
grip down and begin to awaken

Today, the fields brown with dried weeds and tomorrow, the stiff curl of wildcarrot leaf.

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