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several of our bean plants starting to scale the cage and bamboo rods that we set up for them.It has been rather cool and gray for this month of May, and part of April was the same. Still, the new garden is starting to share some love with us. Just a few minutes ago, Kelli and I took a look at our pole beans and while they were still short of stature and hadn't climbed up the grid cages, there was about a meal's worth of plump and snappy beans. A few were almost as long as my hand. We have twelve plants in a row that should give us some good return during the summer. Last summer at Calabrese West, we had six plants and were awash in beans such that we shared with our co-gardeners/landlord and gave others away.

The beans were a delight today because they had appeared to be sluggish, though I have to remind myself that it wasn't until June 12 last year when the first garden was planted, and this year, we planted a full two months earlier. Something must have worked this time around because our tomato plants this year are racing ahead of all else, and this is quite contrary to last year when they lagged and produced some but sputtered out after a month or two. This year, our two plants are getting bigger and bigger each day, and appreciably so, even to the naked eye.

But the first of any of this year's crop was the strawberries, which have turned up a nice, well paced few fruits each week—enough to get a few for treats, but not enough to be put to waste. So far none have been big, but even as medium sized fruits, they have been incredibly rich in color and flavor.

Some of the others are taking more time. The broccoli are showing some growth (after looking like they weren't happy here), as are the lettuces, but we hope that they aren't going to flinch when summer kicks in full swing. Maybe the broccoli is enjoying the cool air and cloudy skies. We shall see. The shallots and the onions are doing well, but of course they are underground; their shoots are looking good. They took off well, early on.

The bummer thing about this garden is that it is directly into the soil, and not in a raised bed, or one not prone to grasses and weeds. So, each week, and a few times in between, we have been on the grass and weed patrol. Tis a bummer that those nasties like the rich soil the same as the veggies do. Despite digging up the dirt and turning it a few times before planting, there would be a lot of old, buried garden demons that take a liking to the richest, best fed soil that has been around them in years and years. Oh well.

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