a bouquet of broccoli, and a storm named Andrea

2013-06-07 01.16.05Remember what I said about the broccoli not being too close to blooming?  Oops.  Actually though, it still tastes just fine to me!  A bit bitter, but it’s kind of cool eating yellow flowers that taste exactly like broccoli.

There was a huge rainstorm here all day yesterday (the remnants of Tropical Storm Andrea) that dropped 4″ of rain or more, and caused widespread flooding. Here’s the highway right by my house:


I was pretty concerned about the garden, and at one point had to go out and rescue some of the smaller herbs that were starting to float out of their pots. But all in all it looks like they weathered the storm just fine, except for some pretty tattered looking leaves on a few of the bigger plants.

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But the zucchinis don’t seem to mind have been drowned and battered for an entire day, are are starting to sprout their first phallic little flowers. It won’t be long now until I’m drowning in zucchini!

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The little reed, bending to the force of the wind, soon stood upright again when the storm had passed over.

surprise snowstorm

It’s not even Halloween yet, but a freak snowstorm has dumped a ton of heavy wet snow across the northeast.  Connecticut has broken several records for snowfall in October, and Governor Malloy declared a state of emergency, noting that this is the largest number of power outages that Connecticut has ever experienced (over 760,000), and people should plan for power not to return for a prolonged period, possibly up to a week.

Here in New Haven it snowed all day and night, but a lot of it was wet, and it didn’t cause too many problems.  We got about 4-5″ total, but our power is on, and it’s a bright sunny day now.  It’s barely fall here, and most of the leaves are still green.  The garden is still blooming and looks kind of pretty covered in snow, but even these hardy plants that survived Hurricane Irene probably won’t be able to bounce back from this.

Chives on ice:

I picked one last red pepper, which seems perfectly edible:

And one last tomato, which I think was sacrificed to the snow gods.

I guess it’s time to start planning for next year!

Let us love winter, for it is the spring of genius.
Pietro Aretino, Italian author & playwright

Hurricane Irene and the garden

The garden has been in a bit of chaos since Irene passed through New Haven, so I thought I’d post some pictures of the impact it had on the garden.  We weren’t too sure what to expect as it was approaching, but one thing we did know was that there would be a LOT of rain.  Unfortunately, the roof underneath the deck started leaking during the last few heavy rainstorms, so we wanted to try to protect it as best we could.  The landlords brought over the biggest tarp I have ever seen, and thankfully also some men to pick up all the heavy plant containers [the biggest containers hold about 40 gallons and weigh about 150 pounds.]  The large containers came in really handy, since we needed lots of heavy things to make sure the tarp didn’t fly off the roof.

Everything else I moved inside, and had a nice vegetable garden in the living room for a couple of days.  It was odd, but kind of cool, to be able to reach over a pick a ripe tomato while sitting on the couch.

I had to harvest as much as I could, because anything left outside likely wouldn’t survive, and I wasn’t too sure how long they’d be ok inside either.  It’s convenient that hurricane season is at the end of the growing season – the watermelon and eggplant were ready for harvest anyway, and I brought in a few more tomatoes and cucumbers.

After so much excitement about the watermelon, I think I waited a bit too long to pick them.  They were still pretty small, so it seemed like if I waited they might grow bigger, but it turns out you have to pick them at just the right time or they start to go mushy on the inside.  These would have been perfect little personal-sized watermelons, but you could only eat a bite or two from each one before it became mushy.  Next year!

The stevia was also starting to bloom, which is what I had been waiting for, since that’s when the leaves are at their sweetest. So I cut it down and hung it to “dry”…not the easiest thing to do as a hurricane approaches.  But it eventually got there, and it’s now ready for tea, baking, or anything else I want to sweeten.  I’m still amazed that it’s possible to grow non-cancerous no-calorie sugar in a pot on my deck!

(looks a bit like it might be something even more exciting, doesn’t it?)

Everything survived pretty well inside, and even the few things that were left outside seemed to make it through ok.  We were lucky that Irene had downgraded to a tropical storm as she passed through, and it really didn’t do too much damage, other than a ton of downed trees.  Unfortunately one fell over about a block away from our building, and cut our power for two days.

It did rain like a maniac, but happily the roof didn’t leak, and the landlords have promised to replace the whole deck this fall.  So in the meantime, everything is back outside, but on top of the tarp.  The blue light reflecting off it makes it feel like we have a swimming pool out there (which we pretty much do when it rains now!)  Sometimes I feel like moving everything out of the way and making a slip-n-slide 🙂

Adapt or perish, now as ever, is nature’s inexorable imperative.
~H. G. Wells