Friday, August 7, 2015

Aw, Shucks

I had to rip out Brad.  The spider/beetle things killed him.  It was heartbreaking, but he did last a full season longer than a tomato plant is supposed to.  I bag-ripened as many of the tomatoes as I could and made a pint of oven-dried tomatoes.  The ones that were too young ended up as pickled green tomatoes.  And when the beetles migrated to the other side of the yard and started to climb Cherry's pot, I coated the outside of the pot with organic pesticide.  Problem mostly solved, but I'll get to that in a minute.

The carrot seeds I planted in the fountain while Brad was dying never sprouted.  Once he was gone, I had only one struggling pea plant and the prolific cucumber around the rim, but nothing in the main body of the pond.  Seeing nothing but tomato plants and herbs in the seedling section, I picked up a packet of corn seeds and read it carefully.  I realized my mistakes the first time I tried to grow corn and decided to give it another try.

I must have done something right, because the first sprouts came up in only 5 days, two earlier than the packet predicted.  Pretty soon, I had a pretty sprinkling of green inside the pond.  It looked much better than the lawn around it (technically, corn is a grass).  A freak July storm produced enough rain to water the pond deeply without damaging the seedlings.  That allowed them to take root before I had to go back to using the watering can.  This is when the beetles discovered the corn, so I re-introduced them to the Neem spray.  A month after germination, I was hoping for a little better than knee-high.  I was probably not watering them enough, and this week upped it by several gallons.  The cucumber is loving all the extra water as a result of sharing dirt with the corn and I'm eating a lot of pickles.

As for the carrots, there were still a lot of seeds in the packet.  I churned up the dirt where the pumpkins had been last year and planted two rows on each side of the boysenberry bush.  Things started to germinate right on cue, and some of them were carrots.  I had to pull out a lot of clover.  What was left is just about the right amount for me to be able to use during September.  There is only one on the left side, but the right is doing great.  So is the boysenberry, again because it's getting watered as a side effect of watering the young plants near it.  I found a tomato worm on one of the carrots yesterday, so I'll probably have to start treating them with Neem as well.  Technically, it's still organic gardening, but I'd rather not use anything.

As all of this was getting started, the eggplant was blooming up a storm and starting to produce.  It's even harder to share a bounty of eggplant than of zucchini.  At least they're much smaller than the ones in the market.  When you have four or more growing at a time, that's a good thing.  By picking them when they are only slightly larger than my hand, I am able to get very good quality fruit that makes one or two servings.

Oh, and Artie is starting to come back, after only two months of dormancy.  Nice to know I'll get another year out of him.  He must be close to the end.  It has been a positive experience, and I'll probably plant another when he finally gives up.

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