July Yard

comments: 44


These are the plums that grow outside my kitchen window. They're on a tree in my neighbor's yard, but its heavily loaded branches fall on our side of the fence. Possibly, a plum clafoutis will be in my weekend. I love the gray haze that frosts their merlot-red skin. Makes me want to write a poem. Or drink. 

The backyard is looking frowsy and tired. My lettuce has bolted, my peas turned yellow, and my potato plants — oh dear me. My seed potatoes, planted one each in their 12" pots (too, too small), sprouted towering stalks that should've been "hilled"; alas, I had no room in the pot left to hill them (i.e.: cover the stalks with dirt), so they grew, and grew, and grew, until they crashed into tangled, unhappy piles of leggy stalks and wilty leaves. I explained all of this to poor Margaret, who had been trying so hard to help me, and never judges. It hurt me to tell her, then, that I went and cut off all of the foliage (since it was all wilty and flopping everywhere). This is How Not to Grow Potatoes 101. Le sigh. But Margaret! Margaret! We did eat four stalks of broccoli! They were delicious (after I denuded them of tiny worms . . . ). A little butter, a little garlic, couldn't even tell. I will say that I have enjoyed everything about my vegetable garden this summer (especially how it . . . looked), but I confess that the things that did the best in the vegetable garden were (er . . .) the nasturtiums, which turned into gigantic cumulus clouds of lilypad leaves and peach-melba blossoms, billowing out over the sidewalk and making me feel, if nothing else, vaguely successful. And who wouldn't like that. Nasturtium seedlings, you were well worth the $12.


Psst! You can put nasturtium flowers in salads. They are both pretty and edible. Score!!

I loved your French sigh...Maybe you might talk the neighbors into planting more fruit/vegetable producing plants near their fence. You might have to saw your fence down a few feet to get the smaller plants to hang over, but it's another option!
:)...The flowers sound fantastic!

Nasturtiums always make me think of Portland. They are shriveled up and gone by June in my part of Texas!

I love your pictures, thanks

I found your site on alphainventions.com

I haven't eaten homegrown broccoli since I saw the little worms float out when my mother blanched her freshly picked stalks when I was a kid. As for the nasturtiums, they are delicious in salads, if that was all I grew successfully I would be happy too:>)

Would love to see your nasturtiums. I planted mine from seed and can just see three tiny leaves coming up now.

I'm in the same boat - have been happy to get about 12 strawberries and 3 tomatoes. Tasted like victory to me!

I've never heard of nasturtiums - guess I'm gonna have to google them. I'm insanely jealous of the plums!

Ah well, gardening is always an adventure! My garden is so tiny, we never get enough to make actual meals for the four of us, but even if I only get one tomato out of five freakin' tomato plants, it's always the BEST tomato ever, because I grew it!

I absolutely ADORE this photo - thanks for sharing!

Somewhere online, can't remember where, there are instructions on growing potatoes in a trash barrel. We are going to try next year I think.

you just single handedly (?) may me feel better about my yard

LindaSonia says: July 16, 2009 at 01:19 PM

I wanted nasturtiums this year so very much, but couldn't find them anywhere. I suppose next year I'll have to start them from seeds - that'll be a first for me.

Your evaluation of your garden sounds a bit like mine. I've never planted cucumbers before and didn't know what to expect. Well I apparently didn't allow enough space and the vines wanted to go absolutely E V E R Y W H E R E. LOL. Sie la vie - live and learn. Try again next year.

You're a hoot!


You're my kind of girl. You try hard, but sometimes it's just not meant to be. Good thing you have a positive attitude. There's always next year!

Plum poetry... and garden confessions... you never disappoint!

Ohh nastys in the garden, I love that peppery smell they get. They're generally easy to grow from seed and probably you'll get volunteers next season from this years bounty.

Love your photography and prose. xo

Uh... I was thinking that next year I wanted to grow broccoli, but now you've mentioned worms and I'm afraid that I really don't like worms anywhere except in my soil...and only of the earthworm variety. I'd like to ask how you get them out, but I'm afraid that seeing them come out would ruin me on broccoli for good. And I love broccoli.

Margaret is a Saint. Love her blog.

It's been a bad year for my garden, NY had rain for almost 6 straight weeks. My tomato plants were not amused.

WoW! I just discover your blog and I love it. Your photographs are beautiful!

Sorry bout your garden but so glad I'm not the only one ! When will the summer shine on my Upstate NY garden.
? Ren Therapy...I hear ya! More rain coming! AAARRGGGG!!!!

My measure of success is if you get to eat anything you've grown. It's all learning, making mistakes, and stumbling onto something that works for you/your yard. So far our nasturtiums are tiny, only one bloom- but I'm still hopeful. We're doing potatoes in tires, and so far they seem happy. Just keep trying (and do new stuff every year, you never know what will love your space!)

This is comforting, I was getting desperate about my garden with all the rain we've been getting in Quebec, and it is still raining as I write.
I am praying and hoping that my nasturtiums will give me a few flowers before the end of summer, but really, the things that grow best this year are the wild strawberries and raspberries that we have in the untamed part of our backyard!! So much for my gardening skills!

I love the way your described your yard: "frowsy and tired..."

In the spring, I tell people my yard reminds me of a screaming baby.

Elizabeth M. says: July 16, 2009 at 04:00 PM

Nasturium flowers are tasty in salads...they have a peppery taste to them. You can still plant carrots and beets for fall!

...running outside to put more dirt around my potato stems...

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About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at aliciapaulson.com