Thursday, July 28, 2016

Thanks, Tom Thanks

Do you remember the beautiful black and white turkey that showed up on Brandon's birthday, back in April?  Well, Tom Thanks, as we named him, adopted us, and made his home with the chickens, but wouldn't go in the coop to sleep, which worried me.  It turns out that my worries were not unfounded, and something caught Tom one night not long after he appeared.  Whatever it was, only ate his head and neck, and left most of his body for us to find.  Poor Tom Thanks was buried in the the garden.  Can you see how pale this patch of corn and buckwheat is in the front of the photo, but how much taller and deeper green it is in the back, near the chair?  

The difference in the tall dark green plants on the left, and the scrawny pale plants on the right is Tom Thanks!  Tom made great fertilizer.  When our good neighbor stopped by to bring us heaps of cucumbers and summer squash from his garden, I bragged about how much better the garden was growing where Tom was buried.  Last night, the neighbor came by again with some fresh caught bass fillets for us, and a giant bag of fish heads and spines.  For me?!? Thank you!  I buried them in the pumpkin patch, and I can't wait to find out if we get a monster pumpkin from it.   

The pumpkin vines are starting to creep beyond the garden bed, and if I peel back the giant pumpkin leaves, I find pretty yellow flowers hidden underneath.   

Is this a tiny pumpkin?!

The Zinnia's I planted near the garden gate are about to bloom.  This garden could use some big blooms.  The shaggy grass between the garden beds sort of disguises the garden to those who don't readily distinguish individual plants when looking at a field of green.  I heard Brandon say that our garden doesn't have anything in it!  What?!  It is the wildest garden I've ever had, but also the biggest and the easiest.  I'm sure over time I'll tighten the reins, clean up the edges, and focus more on production, but this year, while we have so many new homestead adventures keeping us busy, I've enjoyed just putting out seeds when and where I can, and observing what happens with the little maintenance I give it.    

The peas that my nieces planted late in the garden haven't flourished, but they haven't died either.  Pea flowers at the end of July?! Crazy, right?  

It won't be long before the sunflowers put on a show.  The plants seem a little pale, and short, but considering they were planted in soil that is practically pure clay that turns to hard cracking bricks when it's dry, I'm very proud of their progress.  They were thinned and weeded once early on, and half of them got a thin mulch of chicken coop bedding.  They are growing faster than the bugs can eat them, which is all I can ask for.  

Holy beans, Batman!  I'm not sure the beans are going to win the race against the bugs - they seem to be more hole than not.

This garden is tickly.  As my niece pointed out after we planted bean seeds amidst the corn and sunflowers, the grass on the borders is itchy on the ankles.  So far I haven't gotten any bug bites though, so I'm trying to embrace the tickle.  The carpeted paths between the beds are nice, although they won't be there much longer if I expand like I want for a fall garden.  When I see the grass starting to make seeds, I use my big garden shears to give it a hair cut and let the trimmings fall into the rows.  This garden grows it's own mulch!  

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