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Saturday essay: Garden of change

| Friday, June 14, 2013, 8:57 p.m.

The greenhouse and raised beds are in transition yet again. But this iteration is a bit earlier than usual.

Lettuce was ample but short-lived this spring. It and the Chinese cabbage, which produced perhaps two-dozen broad leaves per plant but never started to form heads, bolted early. And that was that.

The cabbage is gone; perhaps a late summer planting will fare better. Heirloom tomatoes have replaced it in the beds. The eggplant and zucchini, each wildly flowering, will appreciate the extra space the cabbage vacated in the greenhouse.

And the last of the lettuce, romaine and bibb, soon will be exhausted, replaced by a combination of celery, sown en masse and harvested for its young shoots, 65-day short carrots and radishes — all of which will keep a dozen or so long and rectangular containers busy until fall lettuces are sown.

Back in the raised beds, the green beans and cucumbers, having survived the Memorial Day weekend freeze, only now are flowering. But that's still ahead of the game of many.

And the tomatoes — oh, those tomatoes, seven varieties this year — already have nearly 70 fruits, each the size of a small marble. That's on pace to easily exceed last year's total haul of more than 500 delectable orbs.

Of course, gardeners do dream bigger than emperors.

— Colin McNickle

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