nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

Archive for the ‘growing and gathering’ Category

have grape vines, will not prune

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I have planted grape vines in quite a few places on our properties over the years.

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At our cabin, one vine survives, climbing an inch or two each year on an arbor we built. The cabin lot was supposed to be great for growing grapes — a sunny slope, the temperature-modifying lake and breezes to discourage insects.

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However, the vines have not been thriving. This year for the first time, I have a scrawny bunch of grapes.

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The vines at home in our garden do thrive, although the light is scarce. Each year I have a few small bunches of grapes.

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my grapes, wandering about in the birch tree

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The vine at the back of the house is amazing. Without pruning, it has climbed high into the maple and fir trees. But an unpruned apple tree keeps the light low. Pruning, that must be the key!

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Competition

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Grape vines climb

high into maple.

Feign kudzu.

Burden the balsam,

bend branches.

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Grape leaves flare,

arrange themselves, nip

every ray.

Mosses and bracken

starved for light.

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But apple

demands its revenge.

Sends shadows

to starve chlorophyll.

Bullies grape.

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Teases leaves

with flecks of half-light.

Grapevine sets

no fruit this season.

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Not a single grape.

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All my best!

Jane

 

 

 

 

Written by jane tims

September 17, 2018 at 7:00 am

Blackberry picking

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On Monday we drove from our cabin down to the lake (on our newly-mowed road) and picked a bowl of wild blackberries. The brambles were brutal and we came away with several scratches between us. But we picked berries to the tremolo of the loon on the lake and will enjoy a ‘blackberry buckle’ later this week. Blackberry buckle is made by adding sugar and water to the berries and covering with spoonfuls of dumpling mix. The dumplings cook in the steam of the simmering berries.

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All my best,

Jane

Written by jane tims

September 4, 2018 at 7:23 pm

How high can I climb?

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Not that high. But I will have to figure out how to get those beans. I planted what I thought were yellow-wax beans on my deck. And they turned out to be yellow pole beans. I threw a couple of weighted strings into the maple and of course the beans climbed.

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All my best, Jane

Written by jane tims

August 13, 2018 at 7:00 am

Indoor garden

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My harvest of romaine lettuce from my AeroGarden today. Poppy seed dressing and lunch is served!

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All my best

Jane

Written by jane tims

August 10, 2018 at 12:00 pm

Gardening in my Veg-trugs

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In late May, I planted my Veg-trugs. Veg-trugs (available from Lee Valley Tools, Halifax) are small portable garden troughs perfect for a deck garden.

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This year I have planted three vegetables:

cucumber

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zucchini

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yellow wax bean

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As you can see, all are up. The maple seeds around each plant will sprout and will take lots of time to remove.

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I’ll update on progress as the summer unfolds.

All my best,

Jane

Written by jane tims

June 15, 2018 at 7:00 am

herb growing in winter #5: tomatoes and lettuce

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Since my last AeroGarden update, I have baby tomatoes and leaves of romaine lettuce in my garden.

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In a couple of weeks, I’ll have enough basil, lettuce and Tiny Tim tomatoes for a salad … if I can stop my ongoing snacking!

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Copyright Jane Tims 2018

Written by jane tims

April 11, 2018 at 7:01 am

herb growing in winter #4

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The identity of the odd plant in my AeroGarden is no longer a secret!

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What is the plant on the right hand side of my garden?

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The plant in question is the bushy ‘herb’ to the right. It has dark green leaves and a thick stem.

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As you know, I am a botanist and if this plant was presented to me in any other way, I am sure I would have identified it immediately.

But the label said ‘mint’ and so I expected mint.

My first suggestion of mistaken identity came when I popped a few of the young leaves into my tea. The taste was terrible.

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Then I took a closer look. The stem was not square – an immediate identifier of the whole mint family.

So I went back to the package material. Possibly I switched the labels. Perhaps it was curly parsley. Deep frown. Didn’t look like curly parsley.

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All this time, I kept pruning and drying the leaves. My bottle of dried mystery leaves is quite full!

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What is it?

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Then I saw the flowers and took a step back. They were yellow and clustered. The leaves were compound, very hairy. The light came on! Tomato!

You will think I am a terrible botanist!

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So now I am waiting for my first tomatoes. I have discarded the dried leaves (tomatoes are a member of the nightshade family and the leaves contain a poisonous alkaloid).

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the unopened ‘flowers’ of my tomato plant (the hairy green buds) … in a few days I will have baby tomatoes!

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Copyright Jane Tims 2018

Written by jane tims

March 23, 2018 at 9:40 am

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