Anita Martin

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since Aug 16, 2018
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Translator, gardener, book-lover, mother, home-maker and much more
Southern Germany
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Recent posts by Anita Martin

Ken W Wilson wrote:I just harvested a big clump of garlic with nine heads of different sizes. I think I planted it 2-3 years ago. It didn’t grow much at first and I forgot about it. I didn’t cut the scapes so the heads aren’t large but usable.  I wish I would have left one head as perennial. I guess I’ll plant one back. Should I use the largest or smallest head or a few separated cloves for growing them as perennials? There is only room for one big clump there.  I will find places for a few more.  This was the first hard neck garlic, that I’ve planted, German Red. It was extremely healthy. It seems better adapted to western Missouri than soft necks.  I think we are about the same latitude as Germany.

I think I have about two hundred of the tiny bulbs from the tops of the plants. Replanting my own garlic cloves has always been a problem because of our wet spring weather. Usually,  the heads don’t keep and I think get some soil disease. Planting the bulbs from the top seems like the perfect solution. I know it will take an extra year or more. I think I will plant some at the base of fruit trees to confuse insects and plant the rest pretty close together in a planter the first year. Can I plant these now or should I wait for fall? It seems like nature was about to plant them now, so maybe this is the best time. But it is hot and dry now.

#

Well, Missouri has roughly a latitude of 38 and Munich (the biggest town in the south) of 48.
Not sure if weather conditions are similar, but here is what I do - and this year I had wonderful garlic for the first time:
Plant the individual cloves in good soil in October. They will start to sprout before Winter.
During winter, nothing much will happen, if the cloves "pop up" too much during frost periods push them back into the soil. You can apply some mulch to avoid frost damages (when you don't have lots of snow). In spring the plants will really shoot up. Add some compost, liquid feed or similar.
I have to be careful not to harvest too late or the heads will start to rot from the outside during rain periods.
Here we can usually harvest late June/beginning of July.

In previous year I just left entire heads in the earth which formed some clumps over the years, but never a nice solid head. So I would remove all remaining garlic when the leaves start to turn yellow and replant the  single cloves in fall.

Jordan Holland wrote:
Most of her poems are a bit dry for my taste, but this one is pretty good. If you are a juxtaposing the Prelude with the poem, I read the poem as being much more raucous and upbeat. Are you a non-native english speaker? I've always wondered how differently poetry would sound and feel to someone not native to the language. I would imagine the Prelude more along the lines of this:


Ooh, I have to admit that I have got a problem with long epic poems. I have to be in the mood and concentrate. So I leave the Lotos Eaters for another day.

Yes, I am a non-native english speaker. It is a topic that intrigues me - how we process language, our own mother tongue and our second or third languages.

Probably I process a poem in English much more by the impression of single words and the musicality.
Like in EBBs Pan poem, when the rhythm changes and draws you in:
Sweet, sweet, sweet, O Pan !
  Piercing sweet by the river !

I guess I appreciate sections like these like an exquisite phrase in a symphony.

Likewise I wonder if any non-native speaker can really appreciate Rilke (one of my favourite German poets). I often approach his poems as impressions of various words without really analyzing them, like taking in a picture as a whole and not consciously looking for details like painting technique, composition, colour schemes etc.

Poetry was once VERY important to me and I started reading English poetry quite early (in my teens) and there are English poems that have accompanied me almost my whole life. But not all English poems are equally accessible to me.
However, this is true for native speakers as well, same as with music and similar. We will never know how other persons feel when reading the same lines. And same as with music, some people don't care for poetry.

Also depends on my mood. Sometimes I read the classics, then more modern stuff, or certain writers like Walt Whitman, and sometimes I just want to re-read certain lines (yes, I am heretic like that, I will also listen to just one movement of a symphony if I feel like that).

To end that long post I quote from a poet that I got to know when I looked for something in my father's agenda - he had typed that English poem and took it with him everywhere (my father is still alive but probably not able anymore to select poems):

I see from my house
by the side of the road,
By the side of the highway of life,
The men who press with the ardor of hope,
The men who are faint with the strife.
But I turn not away from their smiles nor their tears-
Both parts of an infinite plan;-
Let me live in my house by the side of the road
And be a friend to man.

(Sam Walter Foss)
3 days ago
art
Today at 5.30 pm eldest daughter tells me: We have to be at tennis at 6.00 pm.

What?? She did not tell me before and I was a bit angry at her bad planning.
Well, so I get ready to take her there (15 minutes by car) and take some newspaper with me for reading as the little restaurant at the tennis/sports club closed unexpectedly.

But as the weather was so fine I decided to go for a walk in the woods instead - well, it is a path between wheat fields and the forest, and it is very peaceful with birds singing, woodpeckers pecking, dragonflies buzzing by, and you walk under a canopy of trees planted maybe a hundred years ago - linden (buzzing with bees), oak, beech.

The path meets the little river after 10 to 15 minutes walk. I was the only person and I had never been there before, and it is really beautiful!
So what started out as an unexpected errand turned into a most beautiful walk in nature. If it weren't for one single airplane crossing the sky and a wooden bench on the other side you could have thought you were in the wilderness (not really much wilderness in Germany).
4 days ago
Thanks, Judith, for the poem by Mary Oliver. Would you believe it, I did not know her!

And Jordan, I love me some classical English poems!
Another one comes to my mind:

A Musical Instrument
(by Elizabeth Barret Browning)

I.
WHAT was he doing, the great god Pan,
   Down in the reeds by the river ?
Spreading ruin and scattering ban,
Splashing and paddling with hoofs of a goat,
And breaking the golden lilies afloat
   With the dragon-fly on the river.

II.
He tore out a reed, the great god Pan,
   From the deep cool bed of the river :
The limpid water turbidly ran,
And the broken lilies a-dying lay,
And the dragon-fly had fled away,
   Ere he brought it out of the river.

III.
High on the shore sate the great god Pan,
   While turbidly flowed the river ;
And hacked and hewed as a great god can,
With his hard bleak steel at the patient reed,
Till there was not a sign of a leaf indeed
   To prove it fresh from the river.

IV.
He cut it short, did the great god Pan,
   (How tall it stood in the river !)
Then drew the pith, like the heart of a man,
Steadily from the outside ring,
And notched the poor dry empty thing
   In holes, as he sate by the river.

V.
This is the way,' laughed the great god Pan,
   Laughed while he sate by the river,)
The only way, since gods began
To make sweet music, they could succeed.'
Then, dropping his mouth to a hole in the reed,
   He blew in power by the river.

VI.
Sweet, sweet, sweet, O Pan !
   Piercing sweet by the river !
Blinding sweet, O great god Pan !
The sun on the hill forgot to die,
And the lilies revived, and the dragon-fly
   Came back to dream on the river.

VII.
Yet half a beast is the great god Pan,
   To laugh as he sits by the river,
Making a poet out of a man :
The true gods sigh for the cost and pain, —
For the reed which grows nevermore again
   As a reed with the reeds in the river.

(do you know Debussy's Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune? Very nice to listen to in that mood)
4 days ago
art
What a lucky coincidence that this thread popped up again!

I will be gardening soon on a plot away from a toilet and which has not much privacy. I had thought about building a tiny shed soon just to have a bucket there for emergencies.
But for the moment  I have ordered a pstyle that I could probably use when I sit in the car, on the passenger seat with the door open.
I will also plant some high flowers that allow a bit of privacy so that I have some shelter when I don't go by car but by bike.

Regarding pee culture:
My family never encouraged going in the wild, even when there were meadows or forests available. Very strange.
When I met my husband I learned the total opposite: That public toilets are gross and to be avoided at all cost.

So now I will go outside if there are some bushes, but my daughters are so squeamy (teenagers)! It is so uncomfortable to have a full bladder so why not enjoy instant relief?
I vividly remember a trip back from Italy in traffic jam and my eldest daughter had to pee (she was about 4 years old). We had a little potty which we set on the side of the road and sheltered her with a big umbrella. Not once, but several times.

Yesterday after reading this thread I searched for my cut-up plastic bottle which I use in the garden and took it with me to the bathroom (our garden can be viewed from all four directions). It is stowed away in the bucket I use for catching the warm-up water of the shower so no suspicion. If they knew my family would be totally grossed out, hehe.

1 week ago
Love your geraniums! I have those latter two of your pictures:
One could be geranium palustre (with the bigger pink flowers) and the last geranium robertianum

The pretty "blue fellow" is ajuga reptans (common bugle), also very valuable for pollinators.
Slug pressure is high in my garden so I have some experience with methods.

1. I can confirm that the board/plank approach works. Don't forget to check regularly!
2. For a vegetable garden, go out in the evening/ at night - especially when it is raining/humid - with a flashlight and scissors and cut them up. Do this on several nights in a row.
3. Plant out seedlings when they are a certain size (not too small and tender).
4. Grow certain varieties after the biggest pressure is over, e.g. I cannot sow carrots in spring as they will disappear immediately after germination. I am luckier starting May or June.
5. Distract slugs by adding layers and heaps of wilted vegetables, leaves, grass clippings etc. around your plants. The slugs will first eat the more tender (wilted) material where you ideally should remove them. Don't forget to replace material often.
6. Adapt! If certain veggies don't survive either give up or grow them in a very protected space.
7. Keep a diverse environment. Hedgehogs will not eat slugs but I have seen blackbirds eating small ones. Several beetles and snails feed on slug eggs. Here in Germany the limax maximus (leopard slug, which I have in my garden) and escargot snail (which don't thrive on my soil) keep check of the slug population.

I still have problems with slugs but I have learned my ways. And I have to be realistic as to what I can grow. Pumpkins are very difficult as are many flowers (Dahlias, larkspur, sunflowers, zinnias, lupines, bleeding heart etc. etc.), so I concentrate on plants that will likely survive.
2 weeks ago
Thanks for sharing your ideas and experiences in this interesting thread.
As a German, I can only have an outside view as I only know the US from short visits.

This topic made me think what the situation is like in Germany.
Almost a quarter of the inhabitants here have an immigration background - something that does not compare to being black obviously.

The gardening scene (there is hardly a big permie movement) in the Social Media is dominated by the so-called "Bio-Germans" (with all-German, non-immigrant background), but there are some YouTubers with immigration background, mostly Turkish and Russian.

Lots of the children and grandchildren of immigrants live in cities. But many cities here have communal garden plots, and some of those are held by (ex-)immigrants. From what I see and read, these gardeners are well-respected because many of them are very successful in gardening and they have "exotic" veggies that they know from their childhood in Turkey/Greece/Croatia/Ukraine etc., they share their secrets and their recipes.
One of my most prized tomatoes is from a seed I got from a German who grew up in Hungary (and was displaced after the war).

I have to add that garden allotments are very popular here (especially for the last 10 years or so) and there are waiting lists. Gardening and growing vegetables is nothing that is related to being poor or backwards here.
To tell the truth, the most productive and beatiful little garden here are being kept by elderly people, and when they die the house and garden will be bulldozed and a new home with an ugly lawn-only garden will likely be built. But there is also a trend of growing veggies as a young (and urban) person and the ugliest of those gardens have a popular "hall of shame" on the Internet (https://www.facebook.com/GaertenDesGrauens/ or https://www.instagram.com/p/BwRD0synhtq/).
I have to add that there are no "zoning laws" or HOA here who could prevent you from having your front and back garden full of fruit trees and veggies.

Regarding urban populations:
Gardening on your balcony is quite popular. There are providers that cater for those urban gardeners, and there is a startup that provides sets with seasonal seeds and soil ready for planting.

So there are no negative biases against growing your own (on the contrary I would say) but I know this is quite different e.g. in Latin America. I know from a woman working for an NGO in Mexico that even the poorest people with space would not plant anything because they would be considered low-class. It was considered better to buy cheap, awfull junkfood.
Likewise with friends from Peru. They admire my garden and now even exchange seeds with me (currently they only own a balcony) but they say back home their mother has a big plot, but only dogs running around and maybe some rose bushes.
Another friend from Peru once told me when I informed her about the very popular second-hand market at our school (for children's clothing): Thanks, but this is not part of our culture.

This means they would knowingly avoid a way to save money and get healthy food just because they are prejudiced.
And I may not judge because surely I am prejudiced as well.
When pruning my hissop, I have put some of the removed stems into a pot with soil. Not sure if they will root.

I planted all sideshoots of my tomatoes that had a decent size into the soil right under the plant. I guess most will root.

And I crushed some white alpine strawberries into a little pot about two weeks ago and a lot of seedlings are coming up!

Today, I put two different mint sprigs into a glass of water in my kitchen.

Still on my to-do list: cuttings of my herbs (thyme, rosemary), roses, and the black raspberry (blackcap) which I had ordered this spring - in case it gets sturdy enough this year.
2 weeks ago
So here is the result of my brainstorming - Ideas for garden plot
(some plants may fall in several of the categories below)

1. Veggies you want in large quantities:
Potatoes, carrots, onions, garlic, leek, hokkaido pumpkins, pepita pumpkins, kale (cavolo nero, Brussel sprouts, sprouting broccoli, other), corn, beets

2. Veggies that take up a lot of space per plant:
Artichokes, Rhubarb, physalis, tomatillo

3. Fruit trees and berries:
espaliered trees, blackcurrant bushes, dwarf trees (morello cherries, fig), raspberries, strawberries; maybe even an elder tree?

4. Tall plants for microclimate / shelter /privacy:
Sunflowers (even Jerusalem artichokes?), runner beans, a trellis with honeysuckle, magenta spreen

5. Place for surplus seedlings that don’t fit into my regular garden:
Tomatoes (select for those that don’t need shelter), peppers, cucumbers, physalis (ground cherries) etc.

6. Plants for mulch / chop&drop:
Comfrey

7. Medicinal and kitchen herbs:
Dill, meadowsweet (filipendula), chamomille, mints, perennial fennel, lemon balm, borage, saint john’s wort, walking onion, garlic chives, lovage, feverfew, yarrow

8. Experimenting:
Try out things that would take up too much space in my normal garden (in case they fail), like sweet potatoes, peanuts, a hugel bed, a special guild, a special compost...

9. Propagation & seed saving:
A place to plant the cuttings from berries (blueberries, blackcurrants), roses, and taking up roots like Iris and Phlox that need to be divided and have no place to go.
Plants that go to seed for seed saving: beets, chards, salads

10. Flowers:
All those extra flowers that I’d love to have in my garden but just don’t have the space, both annuals and perennials like sunflowers, campanula, calendula, hollyhock,  purple loosestrife (lythrum salicaria) and others, for pleasure and for pollinators

Could I plant some plants for chicken feed?

For the moment, there will be no raised beds, no greenhouse
As soon as possible we will set up a compost and dig a well

So is there anything I forgot? What are your thoughts / experiences?
2 weeks ago