Cue The Fail Whale

This post is sort of a response to El‘s comment on the last one. If you’re not familiar with her blog, and you garden, you should be. She’s got an impressive four-season setup in a harsher climate than here, and is self-sufficient in most things. It was a tough summer in the garden; the heat came so early and was so punishing that lots of things got stunted and my timing was thrown off. Among the casualties were my late plantings. Some of the late July/early August stuff took, but a lot of it didn’t. And the salad bed was sad. So at this stage, with the ground freezing, I have decided not to hoop any of the beds this winter. I’ve done it every winter so far, but this year the small patches of prospering plants are too far-flung to cover easily, and I have decided that the effort involved in shoveling/beating snow off of the plastic all winter does not justify the paltry rewards. I know that the chicories will rebound as soon as March arrives, and the roots will be waiting, and parsley, mâche, and arugula (among others) will explode as well. Today I’m going out to cull everything worth taking, and leave the rest for spring cleaning and early salads. And then I’m taking a break, reveling in big fat leeks and fennel grown by other people for a few months.

Also, as you can see from the picture I took a couple of days ago after a gigantic storm, I have another task on my to-do list: rent an excavator and do a little rearranging of the terrain along the edge of the yard. The water has never come anywhere close to this far up before. At least climate change is a myth, right?

6 comments to Cue The Fail Whale

  • El

    Shit! Is upriver to the top right? Sounds like it’s berm and swale time. Because, as you say, Al Gore is fat. And the fat man has sung, apparently.

    I’d throw in the towel on the season too.

  • I’m lazy but I’d wait for next year to see if this is a 100-year event that won’t happen again for 100 years – which would make all that hard work for nothing.

  • Please, please remember what I told you about earthwork in wetlands and streams. It’s illegal without a permit (and usually not the long-term solution you hoped for). Clean Water Act and all that. You should try a bioengineered berm outside the ordinary high water mark (you can plant with willow cuttings off your property) first, anyway, it’s usually the simplest solution. But seriously – I have one similarly well-meaning client who is tens of thousands of dollars in the shit with fines and consultant’s fees simply for running an excavator in the creek on their property.

  • Holy crap, Peter. But don’t be discouraged. Look how your raised beds are actually protected from the madness of that river. I know what that yard normally looks like and that is CRAZY.

  • Heather’s not only right, she’s brilliant.

  • Peter

    El: Yeah, that distant diagonal is the stream where it normally lives. Come April, it’ll be time to cue the Fail Swale.

    Zoomie: It’s not. I know exactly where to put the wall. Only question is affording all that bluestone.

    Blanche: You can have my excavator when you pry it from my cold, dead hands.

    Jen: If they weren’t raised, I would have lost all the soil. As it was, there was some bad erosion but not too much.

    Zoomie: I’m going to call 1-800-AIRSTRIKE instead.

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I'm a painter who happens to also spend a lot of time growing, making, and writing about food. I'm particularly interested in the intersection of frugal peasant cooking techniques and haute improvisation. And I have a really great personality.

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