Monday, July 1, 2013

Labor and Its Fruits. . ,

My garden has been planted for about five weeks now.  I know, it seems like it's been so much longer, especially when you look at the plants.  But, it was done late, everything planted late, and my crops are really just starting out still.  While everyone else is harvesting their earlier crops like broccoli, Mine is just beginning to flower.   
But I'm not complaining, and that isn't really how I want to start out.  I'm going to try to go in order here, since I haven't posted about the actual garden in a while.  

A few weeks ago, a trip to check on the then-unprotected garden, revealed cloven tracks punching through the black plastic.  The tomato plants along the upper edge were eaten down to sticks, a couple in the interior rows were nibbled, and two had been pulled out of the ground.  

It was time.  Past time, really.  I went to the garage and pulled out the electric fence posts.  Then my mom and I attempted to hammer the metal corner posts into the rain-softened ground, but my dear, sweet husband saw me struggling and came down to do it for me.  In the time it took me to hammer one half-way in, he did all four.  That's why I keep him around, right?  ;)

I slid the plastic ones in between the corners and ran a four-strand electric wire around the perimeter.  I left myself about five feet of room between fence and garden, to prevent reachers and give me some working room.  It also allowed me to include my tiny Fuji apple tree inside.  

I see a lot of people putting up crazy- high fences, tying ribbons and tinfoil pans around their gardens, and trying other odd things to keep the deer out.  But, I stand by my little four-strand fence.  Sure, it's a wire for an electric
fence, but it's not hot.  The solar battery died a few years back, but the deer remember to stay away.  Bug and I can slip between the wires, and I don't have to worry about him getting shocked.  Although that might deter him from eating the grape and cherry tomatoes off the vine.
Since putting the fence up all but one of my deer-damaged plants are coming back.  To be fair, the one that didn't make it was looking a little peaky before the deer got to it.

And here they are now.  My wonderfully bushy tomatoes that desperately need to be tied to their cages.

Super Sauce
Grapes & Cherries

I can never seem to space them far enough apart.

Two rows, smaller versions in front.

Super Sauce


Since our area was being tested for biblical floods, the asparagus took a bit of a beating.  The torrential rains washed three of the small plants to the end of the row, and when I replanted them, they didn't make it.  That still leaves me with seven, though, and they are nice and healthy.

I was super excited to see this on top of my corn the other day. . .
And then on Sunday, another surprise. . . The soft golden strands of corn silk!
I am new to corn, and so everything that happens with it is exciting for me.  Still, I'm worried about the plant because it's not the vibrant green you see in the fields.  It started out that way, but when the rains dwindled and the heat kicked up a notch--or ten--it started yellowing.  The smaller plants seem to have stopped growing, so I don't know what's going on there.

The squash and beans are really doing well. . .

Yellow Squash

Green Beans

Green Beans 

LOTS of Flowers!
The cucumbers. . .
Add caption

I have sixteen watermelon plants. . .

But of all these happenings, I think one of the most thrilling for me is the gift my neighbors gave me with the use of their land.  Saturday, Mr. Bob used a discing attachment behind his tractor to loosen the ground, and then--against the wishes of my husband--I used the rototiller to turn it more so it would be finer, still.
Mr. Bob discing the land.
He even gave me a bag chock full of all kinds of seeds.  So I started with my own sugar pumpkin seeds from last year's crop, planting seven hills with three to four seeds, each.  I literally made hills, dug little troughs around them, filled a hole in the top with potting soil, and planted my seeds.  

Next I planted four hills of Jack-O-Lantern pumpkins from the bag-o-seeds.  Then my Argonaut butternut squash plants.  Eight of those that I had started in four-inch pots. 

All of these I planted using my hill method.  

Next in the row came Italian squash, which I'm pretty excited to see.  Then Waltham butternut, followed by a sprinkling of basil.  These last few varieties I planted using Bob's advice. . . Dig a hole with the hoe, drop some seeds in, cover and tamp, repeat.  Much faster.
Upper row at Bob & Joan's
Argonaut Butternut Squash

I got a little crazy and planted more pumpkins at the lower end of the field, too.  So, there are fourteen sugar pumpkin hills, eleven Jack-O-Lanterns, and something else, but I can't remember what it is.  **blush**

I watered everything using a five-gallon bucket and a tin can, then I went and watered Bob's plants he had on the other side.  I picked some blackberries by the barn, and stopped at the blueberry bush by the house on the way back in.  
Blueberries from Bob & Joan's.
Raspberries from my patch.
Blackberries from Bob & Joan's
Blackberries by the barn.

My first ripe blueberries.

Concord Grapes at Bob & Joan's
Not only are Bob and Joan letting me grow crops on their land, they entertained Bug while I worked and even fed us lunch!  I am truly blessed to have such wonderful neighbors that are so like family.

No comments:

Post a Comment