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The Adventure Begins

Actually, the adventure took root a year ago in a 10-foot by 12-foot plot in Karen's backyard. Karen and I (Jeannette) have spent a couple of years nurturing a pair of recalcitrant DIY compost bins, always believing that one day we'd move the compost over to the plot and start a garden.

Karen had been intensively cultivating yarrow in the plot. She spent a spring digging and amending the plot. We'd both planted a few things that hadn't survived snails, summer heat and erratic watering. But last year, the whole thing came together. Karen's gardener rototilled it.  Kate, Karen and I dug up wandering yucca plant and magnolia tree roots. We added steer manure and a variety of soil amendments as they tickled our fancies.

Soon we had a tomato jungle, climbing beans, Turkish eggplants, mutant carrots and three radishes. Until we put in nasturtiums and zinnias, all efforts at flowers failed.  (Perhaps decades old seeds aren't viable . . . )  Our most productive plant was a volunteer yellow tomato plant that put out cherry sized golden tomatoes as fast as it could.

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Hand-Knit Trellis Now Ready for Climbing Foot-Long Beans

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It completely surrounds one of our bamboo tripods, with space at the bottom for tending the romaine lettuces growing within the tripod.

It's knit out of nylon twine on US 35 needles. While the nylon has no stretch (the way a wool yarn does), the huge gauge has loads of give. The piece was knit flat with ties attached along one edge.  It is tied to the tripod along one leg.

One some early samples for a knitted plant trellis, I experimented with lace patterns.  They look lovely, but I realized two things. One, once the plants grow up the trellis any knitting pattern is lost. Secondly, the plants and leaves need space to grow in and out of.

I used a pattern for a shawl: k1, yo, k2tog and then repeat. I got lost a number of times: the yarn-overs drifted over other stitches on occasion. As this was a speed project that won't be visible ones the beans grow over it, I didn't w…

My new favorite cauliflower recipe

We've had a couple of glorious weeks of sunshine that caused the cauliflowers to race right into the bolting stage. They've all been harvested and eaten.  We're just waiting for some spare time to take out the leaves and stems to make room for something new in the garden.

Karen and I have slightly different perspectives on what to plant: she likes novelty -- rainbow or watermelon radishes or purple or gold cauliflower; I'm more of a traditionalist; the novelty varieties never seem to turn out as well as the originals.

Winter planting in the garden

My first gardening experiences were in northeastern Oklahoma. There, the gardening season ended when the tomatoes quit producing.

By then, there was a nip in the air. The zinnias were stained brown and crispy. The nastursiums were shriveled and starting to be hidden by falling leaves. Crisp, juicy apples were filling the bins at the local grocery and it wasn't pleasant to hang around outdoors unless you were moving -- fast.