Monday, July 19, 2010


I've said it before and I'll say it again: I'm not a great gardener. Still, growing dill shouldn't be difficult. My dill plants stay small, droop, and certainly never volunteer. This is a sad thing for a pickle maker. I'm plush with grape leaves from all the wild grape vines in the area. (Grape leaves keep cucumbers crunchy while pickling, especially in warm weather.) I'm okay with garlic, too. But great quantities of dill have been elusive.

So what happened this weekend is a great thing: I set up a dill barter.  I met a farmer who has lots of dill that grows perennially, like a weed, and the plants are more than five feet tall. In fact, he has too much dill, since it's spreading and taking over a bit. Both he and I think that a big jar of pickles for a load of unruly dill is a great trade.

Some things grow fantastically without any help from me. Take this plant that shot up amongst weeds in a neglected spot: it was eight feet tall before I noticed it. Now it's about ten feet tall, and it has a sibling coming up about twenty feet away. I'm not familiar with this plant—are you? For a minute I thought it's jagged, five-fingered leaves might be hemp, but a quick plant ID ruled that out. (Yeah, you can laugh at my naivete here.) Hemp's leaves have long, witch fingers, whereas this plant's leaves are more like paws, like classic maple leaves. And they're huge. One leaf is nearly a foot across.

If you know, help me out!

And, on a totally unrelated note, it's the time of year where I'm in awe every single day over hydrangeas. They're so plush and over the top!

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