the first summer dahlias and a freakish summer rain

I moved the dahlias to the community garden this year and am so very glad I did. Just as in my own small home garden last year, the plant is a sprawling mess, but now I don’t have to look at it daily anymore and can pillage the flowers for vases as much as I like. No matter how many vases I own, it’s always this lab beaker that I grab first. Wide mouth, perfect height. The dahlia is ‘Chat Noir.’ I could easily get very serious about a cutting garden and wished I’d sown some ‘Green Envy’ zinnias this year.

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So my little 10X10 plot is producing exactly three things so far this summer: dahlias, kale, and Trionfo Violetto pole beans. Plus a little basil. I’ve never felt compelled to grow every vegetable A to Z in the summer garden. In fact, I’m late this year with tomatoes, just planting a couple earlier in the week. I admit, it’s la-la land’s long growing season that makes this lackadaiscal attitude possible. The community garden’s disease control rule of thumb is no tomatoes/solanaceae crops left in the ground past December, and none of the solanaceae group (aka nightshade family, including potatoes, eggplant) makes it into the compost piles. The down side of that long growing season and lack of winter chill (and isn’t there always a down side?) is the heightened risk of soil-borne pathogens.

Oh, and it rained today, a rare occurrence in a mediterranean climate, where all the rain (all 12 inches of it!) typically comes in the winter months. On the personal water conservation front, an ongoing domestic discussion since the dishwasher broke is which consumes more resources, hand washing or a dishwasher? I’m finding lots of articles like this to support my pro-dishwasher position. All opinions welcome.

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13 Responses to the first summer dahlias and a freakish summer rain

  1. Laura says:

    Oh, dishwashers definitely use less water when used efficiently! And besides, those of us who garden need to give our hands a break when ever possible. I keep pure glycerin next to my gardening gloves and apply it before donning said gloves and my poor hands still suffer. Make the call! Love the dahlias.

  2. Denise says:

    Laura, those are all excellent points and just happen to add fuel to my side of the argument. Thanks!

  3. kathy says:

    As I am one person, with occasional dish useage by DS, the dishwasher is impractical for me. It would take a week to fill it up and I would start running out of stuff. Wine glasses for example.

  4. Denise says:

    Kathy, this house seems to breed dirty dishes, but I get your point. Best to keep those wine glasses clean and ready for WALATing.

  5. I’m a dishwasher person. I hate having dirty dishes in the sink or on the counters so the dishwasher makes a perfect storage facility to put those pesky things out of sight until they are ready to go back in the cabinets.

    I used to cut flowers and bring indoors and now I hardly ever do. There is so much to see outside from the dining room windows I don’t feel the necessity to bring them in. but from time to time, it’s nice to have a little something. I should start doing that again. Sweet dahlias!

  6. Sue says:

    Pro dishwasher from this household of one. Kathy clearly needs to purchase more wine glasses.

  7. Denise says:

    @Deanne, the funny thing is, Marty does way more dishes than me! But I’m also a clear-the-decks kind of person and hate to see stuff piling up, so the dishwasher is definitely my speed too.
    @Sue, thanks for saying what I was thinking (kidding, Kathy!)

  8. Peter says:

    I have a thing for touching tableware. My daily china has a pattern that I never grow tired of seeing. When, with soapy warm water, I caress settings of special vessels and utensils, inherited, given as gifts or collected from antique stores in my misspent youth, the pieces sing stories of magical times past spent with family and friends who now live only in my thoughts. They excitedly whisper of future gatherings and remind me that in the not so distant future, they’ll be enjoyed by others, perhaps taking stories of me with them to another generation.

    O.K. so we don’t currently have a dishwasher and this is my rationale for not having a designer come in to make some sense of our old kitchen. Dishwashers do a better job of sanitizing so less sharing of viruses takes place. Also, the kitchen sponge/dishrag is full of germs. After scrubbing my hands, I sometimes still find that doing the dishes is a good way to remove even more dirt.

  9. Denise says:

    Peter, overall I’m guessing your lovely words aren’t helping my pro-dishwasher position, but they were a pleasure to read, so thank you!

  10. I love that beaker. What a cool idea. Your article made me laugh (i.e. sprawling mess). You have a great blog. Thanks for sharing your talents with your readers.

  11. Denise says:

    Susan, thank YOU for such a gracious comment. After lifelong scrutiny, I think my biggest talent is enthusiasm, so thanks for picking up on that.

  12. Dishwasher, definitely. The Mulch Man and I do very nicely with a narrow European model but only run it a couple of times a week even when we’re cooking at home a lot. It’s also good for sterilizing vases for more lovely cutting garden options…

  13. Denise says:

    Hi Jane — thanks for a vote solidly in my column. (And speaking of cutting garden options, I just put in an order today with Annie’s for lime green zinnias. What an AA&P habit I’ve developed!)

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