Thursday, November 13, 2008

Peas, Peas Me

I built this rustic trellis several years ago, simply because I had these posts left over from some trees we had taken out and, as we all know by now, I like garden structures and I like to build things. For all this time, it's sat unused at the rear of the backyard, in the weedy fenced-off area I've always jokingly called "the farm."

I've never planted anything on the trellis, mainly because up till now, I have had other priorities in my life and in my garden. And it is only this year, in fact, that I started to work on the farm, trying to turn it into this vague vision of a prairie kitchen garden that I have in my head. The results from this first year have been mixed, but that's okay, since life is about learning. I'm ready to give it a go again next year.

One interesting thing I've learned (that wasn't actually about the difference between growing vegetables and ornamentals) is that even if the space is supposed to be utilitarian, I can't resist tweaking the aesthetics. In fact, over the summer, as the farm became more and more settled--stone borders for the homesteader's ornamental bed, cold frames, re-sized and re-located compost bins, etc--I found I wanted to spend all my garden time out there, even more than I wanted to spend it in the ornamental garden. In working with it and making those little tweaks to give it some personality, it became a place to me, instead just a leftover spot in the yard where I was trying to grow some vegetables.

Place has associations. Place has memories. Place has character. You can have a conversation with place.

Anyway, I have developed more than a little affection for it, as unfinished as it still is. Unfinished doesn't matter, because it is young yet, and in my mind I can see what it will become.

Which all leads me to the real topic for today: Anna over at Flowergardengirl tapped me for something that is called a "seek and find" game. I am still relatively new to the blogosphere, but I think that the purpose of these "memes" (am I using that word in the correct sense?) is to introduce readers of one blog to other blogs they might enjoy. Anna was gracious enough to do that for my blog, and now I must return the favor.

In this particular game, I was supposed to grab the nearest book (not the best, or favorite, or most erudite, but the nearest) and turn to page 56, count down to the 5th sentence, and read it and two or three sentences beyond. Then I pass the game on to others.

So here goes, from Southwest Kitchen Garden, by Kim Nelson:

"Suggested varieties 'Cascadia,' Oregon Sugar Pod,' Sugar Snap,' and Super Sugar are tasty pod varieties that do particularly well in our arid climate. 'Dakota' or 'Wando' pods can be harvested and eaten when young or shelled when more mature.

Potential problems If allowed to sprawl on the soil of water overhead, peas are susceptible to mildew, so grow them on trellises or stakes and string. They are also favorites of native birds and may require some protection."

There you have it. I suppose it is a sign for what I should grow on that birdhouse trellis next year...

So here are my blog picks. If you've been tapped, don't feel obligated to play the game (though it would be fun for us to see what you are reading right now), but I did want to share your blog with others.

Greenwalks -- I love this blog. Karen is fighting the good fight in her posts on what creative Seattleites (is that how you say it?) are doing with their hell strips.

Red Dirt Ramblings -- Dee, up there in our neighbor state, has a beautiful blog and garden, and she writes just as beautifully about it. Check it out.

Brush and Baren -- Okay, this is not a garden blog, but printmaker Sherrie York has such engaging images that you just have to take a look. Buy one of those little prints she has for sell--they're cheap and would make a great holiday gift (I have three myself, and I'm not giving them to anyone!). And no, I do not personally know this person, nor am I a paid shill.

Soliloquy-- regular members of Blotanical are already familiar with this site, since it is a favorite of many. Even so, it is worth a repeat look-see if you already know it, and for those of you who don't already know it, you'll be glad to find it.

Red, White, and Grew--if you have an interest in Victory Gardens, then this is a good place to start. P.Price has put together a very user-friendly, informative blog on growing your own food and eating locally.

There you have it. I am "peased" to present these blogs to you (from so many to choose!), and thank you again, Anna for including me in the quest.


  1. What a lovely look at your process in building the "farm" and the role of aesthetics in gardening! I wonder how often we gardeners realize that we're growing a community of lives when we design and plant our gardens. It's a community not entirely of our making, conjured by the fragrant chemical "chatter" released on the airwaves by the plants themselves, a call that attracts insects and other tiny lives, as well as the birds and larger species - including humans. It's amazing to think that just be planting a few seeds, we weave a world of relationships.

    On those peas for the birdhouse trellis: I get great results from Sugar Snap peas from Renee's Garden Seeds. Enjoy!


  2. What a fun game! Of course the book closest to hand was a garden book, The Sunset Western Garden Book. It was about zone 24, the marine influence along the So. Cal. coast from San Diego to Santa Barbara. Not what I expected. "The winters are mild, the summers cool, and the air seldom really dry. On many days in spring and early summer, the sun doesn't break through the high overcast until afternoon." I thought it was only the northern California coast that has cool foggy summers.

    I can attest to the tastiness of Super Sugar Snap peas, some of which are in the garden now and should (I hope) overwinter.

    And thanks for sharing some great blog picks - some more to follow!

  3. Isn't it grand where inspiration comes from?! I don't take one single thing for granted and my cyber friends are sometimes the most inspiring.

    You should grow the Peas to please! I like your bench and trellis. I have about 4 twin head-boards waiting to be made in to benches or swings. Looking at your bench got me interested again.

    Thanks for playing along. I will head over to the two on your list I've not read yet. They look interesting. I love prints so this will be fun.

  4. I like that trellis. And it has held up for such a long time in a nice fashion. So what are you going to plant on it?

    I was reading the paper this morning and I saw an article on cooking squash. It mentioned the calebeza (sp). It caught my eye. No word on drying it but says to bake it for best flavor.

  5. Your trellis is lovely -- peas, sweet peas, would all be lovely climbers.

    Thank you for your kind words about my blog, and I'll be happy to take part in the Seek and Find exercise. :)

  6. Susan, what a wonderful thought that we are growing a community. That really resonates with me.

    Michelle--how funny that you were also reading a book about gardening in the west! And I have never heard of zone 24. It sounds lovely. I'll look for the new blog links.

    Anna, Tina, and Nancy, I think I will try peas. They've never been favorites of mine as veggies, but I think it may be because I've always had frozen or canned, never fresh. I'm willing to try it, though, and it was as if I was getting a sign, after all. ;-)

  7. I like signs. :) I just read the Meme post and thank you so much for including me! I'll try to get to it tomorrow, if there is a moment of quiet in the house. Love the trellis! You always build the coolest stuff. If you're not a fan of English peas, can you grow sugar snaps? They are my favorite and I always make space for them, even in my little streetside patch. So great straight off the vine!

  8. PS Whoops, just read others' comments, didn't mean to repeat! But oh well, I did it unknowingly! Sorry!

  9. Hi Karen--Sugar snaps definitely seem to be the favorites, so I'll give them a go. I'm not even sure I've ever eaten them, so I'm kind of curious now...

  10. Hi Susan, Someone tagged me the same day you did, and I did do the meme. I'll add your link to it too. Thanks for thinking of me.~~Dee


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