Monday, September 2, 2013

End of Summer Gardening

Swiss Chard making a come back in the foreground,
Asparagus in the middle
Bethlehem Monastery in the back

It is really hard for me to believe that the month of September is upon us, for I feel as if the summer is just beginning and the calendar tells me it is almost over!  Not that we have been unoccupied with summer activities, especially this year as we have reinstituted the ancient Poor Clare tradition of the vegetable garden.  I guess time flies when you are having fun.  Among the various crops we attempted, that which gave the most amusement was the potato.  It is just so different.  You start out with pieces of potato, not seeds.  And then when the plants come up, they are not thin seedlings, but fully formed stems and leaves that fairly erupt out of the soil.  Unfortunately, the dark green potato plants attracted not only our admiration but the grotesque Colorado potato bug.  We hand picked hundreds of them, but it was worth it.  Searching for the potatoes was like digging for buried treasure and the Sisters declared they tasted the best of all the potatoes we have ever had. 

 We also grew summer and winter squash, including a number of mystery volunteers, cucumbers for Sister Pia Marie’s pickling,

Swiss Chard that keeps coming back after you cut it, beets at the beginning  the season, some tomatoes and eggplants (these last only moderately successful).  Part of the fun of gardening is trying to figure out what you did right and what you did wrong.  I suspect the soil was too acid for the tomatoes. Better luck next year!  Now we are working at an experimental fall garden.  Locals tell me it can be done in Virginia, though I have never tried it before.  But with my great novitiate crew there is hope.  

So, we have broccoli and collards planted plus green beans with plans for some oriental greens for our Asian Sisters and zucchini for Sister Francis Maria’s freezing operation.  She just could not get enough of the zucchini we planted in the summer.  I am worried about the squash bugs, but we will see.  Will keep you posted!

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