Monday, July 17, 2017

So It Goes With Gardening

My beautiful cabbage.  The cabbage I tended in the green house for months, handpicking the green caterpillars that wanted to devour it, then spraying regularly with Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) to protect it, then finally harvesting, slicing, and attempting to turn into sauerkraut.  

I say attempting to turn into sauerkraut, because something went wrong, and my vat of fermenting cabbage turned gray and moldy, and we were afraid to eat it, so I fed it to the compost.  Even the chickens didn't want it.  So it goes with gardening, right?  

This photo of the tomato plants is from a week or so ago, and already they are so much larger that there is no space to walk between the rows.  We thought we were so careful to give each plant enough room.  Ha.  Look at that monster sized plant in the row on the right!  It's twice as large as the other plants.  If it make more tomatoes that the other, I want to save it's seeds for next year.  

I was beginning to wonder if these tomatoes were going to be all leaf and no fruit, but when I look closely into the green jungle, there are green tomatoes in there.

These are the Rutgers type tomatoes that were requested by Brandon's brother.  Brandon ordered a pack of seeds online for a dollar, I started them in the greenhouse in plastic salad box planters, and the whole family worked together to plant them, mulch them, and create cages from fencing for each.  Brandon watered them daily while I was working out of town, and twice I watered them with compost and manure tea, and put down more hay mulch to hold back the weeds.  These are team tomatoes, and hopefully it won't be long before the team gets to pick and preserve them by the bushel.  

Inside my garden fence, behind the tall weeds, feral zinnias, and wildflowers, are two rows of green beans and corn plants.  This weekend I used my trusty garden shears to cut back the tall weeds so the corn and beans can get more sunlight, and used the trimmings to mulch around the plants.  I like that my garden generates it's own mulch.  Brandon entered the garden to help me install some tomato cages for the beans to climb up, since the corn is still so short, and when I kept reminding him to watch his step before he killed all the small sunflowers, he complained that my garden was impossible to work in.  He said no one else has a garden like mine, and he can't tell where to step.  I agree it's a challenge.  It takes balance (don't stumble, it's not level), strength (watch for the logs hidden in the grass), situational awareness (watch your feet - that's a plant!), plant identification skills (obviously, that's a sunflower, not a weed),  and courage (check for ticks).  I like to think it's a garden that promotes mindfulness.  Brandon is not convinced.  

I forked compost around the beans and corn, and hope to do the same for the sweet potato plants too.  The sweet potatoes were mulched with old hay and compost when they were planted, but they haven't gotten any other special care.  I was glad to see they are still alive.  I have several small pepper plants which are holding there own in the garden, but the egg plants have been devoured by flee beetles.  The Japanese beetles feasted on the kale after they finished eating all the leaves on the fruit trees.  Doh!  I've armed myself with some Neem oil spray.  Stupid beetles.


donny_walrus said...

No one else has a garden with hidden obstacles and flowers mixed with volunteer veggie plants? I beg to differ! Tamara's garden fits that description, ticks and all. Mindfulness - yes, that's what I lack to be a true gardener.

Joseph said...

I single stem and hard prune our tomatoes to get faster and more production. Curtis stone has some great videos on this. We hade 160 pounds of tommatoes a week agp
.We go tired of weighing them. Prolly getting ahout 40 pounds a day now.

rain said...

Thanks, Joseph. I'll good Curtis Stone and maybe we can do some pruning next year. I can't imagine getting 40 lbs a day! Do you have a booth at the farmers market? What do you do with all those tomatoes?

Joseph said...

We have a road side stand on the farm that is open 2 nights a week when we where in the glut of production. Sale to local businesses. We have also had a vender stand at the downtown Richmond farmers market for over two years, but will not go back unless some serious changes happen. Pretty sad, because alot people don't have access to fresh local food.

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