On the road, again


by Jackie Alfonso | July 30, 2009 • Cold and dry weather does not make happy vegetables. My garden, and the gardens of many, are not doing well this year. Not warm enough for the heat lovers like tomatoes and squash, too dry for the veg that like cool weather, but the weeds! We can watch them grow.

Lemonade Chronicles is a blog written by Jackie Alfonso, a local writer who is deeply concerned about food … and other issues.

My garden is on what was a lakeshore at the turn of the last century. The sandy soil is great for drainage, but the seedbed is packed with what we call sandburgs – those silica rich, fast growing weeds that cut your hands when you pull them, and are supported by big tubers down about 30”. The tomatoes are bizarre – one or two flowers on each plant managed to get fertilized, so there is a row of spindly plants with one huge fruit apiece. Even the drip irrigation hasn’t helped. The Japanese broccoli bolted on sprouting. I have some hopes for the winter squash, but not much for salad. This may be a year to buy for canning. The red currants and raspberries seem to be fine, if a bit smaller than usual.

On a completely different note, I have been puzzled by all the din about texting while driving. In my experience, very few people take seriously the fact that they are steering a fairly volatile and heavy machine. One can tell there is a phone talker ahead by the perpetual taps on the brake – but my concern has been the number of people who use their time behind the wheel to read the paper. In the last few days I have seen five “drivers” with newsprint spread out over the top of the steering wheel, while driving at speed on a major roadway. One was a young woman with two small children. Another was weaving all over the northern part of Snelling Avenue, until he turned onto Highway 36. Still another had the spread out paper, a cup of coffee, and his left arm was out the window with his cigarette.

These are not drivers, they are death machines

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