Little green children

hulahoeThe rain has finally stopped (for now) and my little plants have taken a collective sigh of relief.

My biggest challenge this growing season has been controlling weeds in between thunderstorms. Because there has been no need to turn on the hose to water, I’ve had plenty of time to get down and dirty in between my rows.

A couple of weeks ago I was introduced to my new favorite tool: The Hula Hoe.

2013-07-11 09.32.56Not only has it saved my poor back, but it has cut my weeding time in half. Why didn’t I know about this before?

And now that I’m all caught up on weed control, I can concentrate on nurturing each plant.

Last weekend, Joe built a wattle for our purple beans and our pole beans, which have all shot right up. The wattle is about 7-feet tall and some are already reaching halfway up!

I didn’t want a staggered lettuce harvest this year, but with all the rain, a lot of my seeds were washed away early and this was what I was left with. Next week I’m going to lop off these big heads of lettuce and enjoy some fresh salad greens.

I replanted more lettuce in the bald spots and even some kale, which is all coming up nicely. Though I didn’t plan on staggering, I like that it happened. It has given me just enough to work with and eat at one time. Plus, now I’ve given myself more varieties to enjoy at a later date.

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I’m really excited for next week when I pick this mother of a beet.

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And a week after that, some of these carrots should be ready to pick, as well!

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And soon I’ll have cucumbers up the yin-yang. Joe has to build a trellis system soon for all these guys.

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Overall, while it’s been a slow growing season with all the rain, I’m glad that everything actually IS growing. And because it’s only my second year posing as a semi-professional gardener, I’ve been learning something new every day. Drive by the West Street Community gardens on your way to the new Essex Dog Park and you might just catch me hula hoe-ing!

— Susan