Hope springs eternal. My fall vegetable garden has renewed my self-confidence as a gardener. The baby kale, carrots and lettuce are coming along nicely. I picked a wonderful assortment of greens for a delicious salad over the weekend. Both the eggplant and potato crops left much to be desired, though. Every year I have placed my seed potatoes on the ground and covered them with several inches of hay. Last summer’s crop was destroyed by voles. They set up residence under the mulch hay and happily munched on potatoes all summer and fall.
This past spring I over-confidently went back to a more traditional method of planting in rows underground. I’m just not as pleased with the results.
The good and hopeful news is that my two adopted barn cats seem to be taking firm control of the vole population. I have set up a comfy igloo situation for their winter enjoyment. I hope by next spring I can return to my preferred potato planting method.
Marie, Violet and I tossed around twenty pounds of winter rye on Sunday. We planted quite thickly so maybe a great deal of weeds will be crowded out before next season.
The celeriac harvest is going to be fabulous. From one package of seeds there will be enough celery root for several families. Most are larger than softballs. They can be stored in the crisper drawer of the fridge for the entire winter and still be firm and flavorful by spring. They are great in winter soups and stews.
I have my eye on several plants around town from which to glean a few seed heads to plant next spring. The snow-on-the-mountain euphorbia reseeded everywhere last year and fit beautifully in every locale. I’m planning to toss the seeds into my customers’ perennial beds. Won’t it be a nice surprise? When I first began writing this column some five years ago, there was one subject which evolved into my politicizing of the garden column. That was the genetic modification of our food products. The awareness of the Terminator glue was so alarming to me that I could not help but share that alarm with you, Dear Reader. The Terminator, created by the huge multi-national chemical company Monsanto, did not permit seed to reproduce itself. Hence, anyone wishing to grow the same crop next year would have to purchase the seed from Monsanto rather than saving seed of their own. What’s frightening is that pollen from the Terminator can blow over to a neighbor’s field and kill his future as well. Another scary product from Monsanto is the Roundup Ready modification. That gene altercation allows a crop to be saturated in the weed-killing herbicide and still live to be consumed by you. Do not forget that Roundup is basically Agent Orange. We know how well that worked out for our troops returning from South Vietnam. On Saturday morning the NPR program Living on Earth had a segment on Roundup Ready corn. In a study involving rats, it was found that female rats developed mammary tumors while males died much sooner than the control group. Almost all field corn grown in this country is Roundup Ready. Field corn, don’t forget, is in the high-fructose corn syrup in practically every food products we buy. Remember back in the day when a Coca Cola had real cane sugar? How can she tie all this to our presidential election you wonder? Oh! I have found a way! According to the latest issue of the Washington Spectator, investigative reporter Wayne Barrett has documented so many Mitt Romney/Monsanto connections that he concludes “If Romney is elected, this b ê
te noire of environmentalists will have a very old friend in a very high place.”
According to The Nation (Sept. 13 issue), Bain Capital helped transform Monsanto from a chemical company into a genetic plant producer ranked by the Swiss research firm, Covalence, as last in overall ethical performance of all multi-nationals.
If Romney wins, expect Monsanto to help shape the nation’s agricultural policy and not in a good way.
I have just a few more observations and/or comments.
How about that Scott Brown? Why do we ever need any genealogy research when he can determine a person’s ethnic heritage simply by looking. He must be desperate to harp about Elizabeth Warren checking a box when she was in her twenties.
Why, oh why, can’t we have one-term presidents? Give them six or eight years so they can do the job and we don’t have to put up with elections every five minutes. Let’s skip the vice presidential debate and instead enjoy a head-to-head between the wives — Michelle Obama versus Ann.