Saturday, May 07, 2011

Half-way round row 43 of the border of the Mourning Shawl, struggling with those big holes with increasing irritation. They will be finished and behind me, not to reappear, when I reach the stopping-place and switch to the Aran sweater.

Vegetable-growing & other comments

Hat (comment, two days ago) I will certainly try letting the parsley go to seed. My next door neighbour in Glasgow in the 50’s had a self-generating patch of it.

Tamar, thanks for the suggestion of mulching with hay. Wouldn’t it blow about and make a mess? I just looked Ruth Stout up on Abebooks and went ahead and ordered her “Gardening Without Work: for the Ageing and the Busy and the Indolent”. The subtitle was irresistible. I think I come into all three categories. Further report when it arrives.

And I agree about rhubarb. I’ve probably said this before – I grew up earnestly believing that it was an exotic and expensive treat, like globe artichokes, perhaps. We rarely had it at home, and never that I remember at Oberlin. I was delighted when, at 21, I got to Glasgow and discovered that it was served regularly. I even remember telling people that it was a treat for me, because it was something we couldn’t ordinarily afford in America.

Turns out it was just that my mother didn’t like it. And maybe at Oberlin they thought we would despise it. It still has, to me, that taste of almost-forbidden luxury.

Anna, yes, I got some strawberries from the Mara des Bois last year, and look forward to even more this time. They are beginning to flower. Those are they in the picture on Thursday. They don’t seem to throw out as many runners as an ordinary cultivated strawberry, but they do produce a few and I rooted a couple last summer, to add to my stock and make up for winter losses.

Shandy, I do indeed think that Latinate turns-of-speech are an American characteristic. Let’s try to meet at Knit Nation – I won’t be there on Friday, it’s just Saturday and Sunday for me, and Sunday only if I’m still on my feet.

Elizabeth, it was grand to hear from someone who knows Ben Wyvis – the colour of the Starmore Aran yarn which, from today, I shall expect in every post. I really am ready for a project-switch.

Maureen in Fargo, that’s brilliant news (comment yesterday) that the new EZ book is about to be distributed. I’m pretty sure I pre-ordered. I’ll have to keep an eye on things. It occurred to me yesterday that there might well be something there that I could get yarn for at the Knit Nation marketplace.

Here’s another Strathardle picture, taken one morning probably early this week, showing the frost still on the grass where it lies in the shadow of the dyke at the end of the old kitchen garden.

Beyound the feeble rabbit-protection, you can see the summer pudding bush and the pea support for the mange-touts.


  1. Of course Franklin wants you in his photography class. Good for you, to ask. You will both have fun.

    Trying to make the lightbox work for me was fun for a while, but since then the actual camera settings have been most useful.

  2. I mulch with straw in the vegetable garden and it doesn't blow about at all. We use a variation on the Ruth Stout/Lasagna gardening approach. I dig my potatoes in, however. I didn't have much luck with them growing in hay/straw alone - the varmints got to them.

  3. Mundi4:24 PM

    Wow! Mention of two of my favorite things in today's post. Rhubarb sauce is a spring favorite; just had an ample serving for my breakfast.
    Ruth Stout was pure genius. Her No-Work Garden Book has revolutionized my life as a vegetable gardner. I only wish that I had know about her years ago. I have found that a good thick mulch is the key. She recommends the use of straw but I don't have a ready source for straw. As I have horses there is nearly always a number of last years bales avaliable for mulch.

  4. Anonymous4:45 PM

    Jean, your photo of rhubarb, and the discussion about it makes my mouth water. When I was a child in Minnesota, my parents grew rhubarb in a tiny backyard garden. I dearly loved the rhubarb pies my mom made.

    In Texas, rhubarb is non-existent, and most people here have never even heard of it. You can only buy frozen rhubarb in some of the grocery stores here, which isn't as tasty as the fresh rhubarb.

    Mary G. in Texas

  5. We grow two varieties of rhubarb. One is green when cooked and the other, red. The taste, in Spring at least, is delicious enough to be on a par with asparagus.