Our chicken coop is a giant monstrosity we acquired four years ago for next to nothing on Craigslist. Â It got a window and bright paint and sits very happily in the back of the yard.
Because it is so tall, I knew it needed a vertical climber trained up the side. Â I chose Concord grapes, which my grandpa always grew, and remind me of childhood visits to his garden in Indiana. Â Concords have a distinct flavor, which grape enthusiasts call “foxy.” Â My kids aren’t especially fond of the flavor, but I love them. (There are plenty of other grape varieties in the front yard which they enjoy.)
I was a bit lazy with my grape pruning last fall, and I had to thin the baby grapes this week. Â Looks like we are in for a large crop, nonetheless.
Behind the chicken coop, tucked back in a corner bordering our two neighbors, is the most precious plant in my garden. Â There is a volunteer burdock in the foreground (it has an edible and much-prized root, but I diligently remove flowers before they set seed, as it can become a weed quite easily.) Â Russian Bocking Comfrey, black currants, a Goumi berry bush, horseradish, mint, Japanese iris all surround a small tree with glossy leaves:
This diminutive tree is an Early Fuyu persimmon. Â It is the most expensive plant in my garden. Â I planted the whip four years ago, and it has twice been broken by small children visiting my yard. Â It is incredibly slow growing, adding less than eight inches per year. Â Some day it will be a shapely 15 ft specimen loaded with delicious fruit every autumn, but for now, I baby it along, and hope it comes into production before my kids are off to college.
To round out this little update, here are some of the crates of herbs and rhubarb and such I picked for BCS this week. Â Bea cut and tied all of the lavender, but we were sure to leave lots for the bees, and some for our family to use, as well.
As spring begins to roll into summer, I am trying to let the early hiccups in the garden not get me down, because so much of growing food is out of our control (moles gnawed on some of my dahlias over the winter, killing them. Â Slugs have killed a half dozen summer squash seedlings when I wasn’t diligent in slug-picking. Â And worst of all, gooseberry maggots in all my red, white and pink currants – after four years of no problems, this year is a total loss, and next year will require floating row covers).
Watching the kids dish huge spoonfuls of homemade rhubarb compote over ice cream, nursing an injured duck back to health, seeing the first of the tomatoes set already, picking food to share with the families at BCS…these things augment the joy inherent in tending a garden. Â I think it is going to be a very good growing season.