Friday, October 2, 2009

In Just 18 Days...

...we have progress in the beds. Take a looky:

I have begun the thinning process and I find that every time I remove a neighbor, the plant that remains grows twice in size within days. Those of you who know this miracle already must give me a little space here. I have always heard that thinning is a must but have not put it into practice with the vigor of this time and I see for myself the errors of my (past) ways. As I do pull or cut away the seedlings, I have transplanted a few here and there, to bulk up in the beds. I still have issues with just throwing away things and until I have chicklets to gobble up the greens, I will be me, as much as possible.

Here's the kale and lettuces as proof that I AM,I AM thinning.

And two bits of mustard tenders and buttercrunch lettuce. Don't ask which is which. I don't remember. All will be revealed in the fullness of time; 'til then, I think the tenders are on the front, with the lettuce right behind. That's kale toward the rear of the bed. And swiss chard scattered in the middle

Crooked neck squash:
it's beautiful and I do hope it will produce a few pieces before a freeze. I watch the hours of the day lessen and the angle of the sun lower with every passing day and worry that the beds have been placed a little too far towards the house for winter veg. Time will till on this, too. I don't want to remove the shading trees.

Ah HA! now look at the tomatoes.

If you read this blog, you may remember that this one (three really) on the left is the ONE I planted on it's side a few weeks ago. LOOK how it has recovered! The one on the far right is a single tomato plant but the other three is actually a single plant as well and is beginning to flower out again. Even if all we get are green tomatoes, I'll be content to know this technique is a success.

Not so good as of this post are the carrots and beets. They seem to struggle and I wonder if it's still just a little too early and warm. I replanted the beets after the ant banquet, as well as the swiss chard (which are doing fine, thanks) but only half of them have surfaced and I don't know if it's the seeds, subterranean ants or timing. However, I have lots of seeds and will try it again in a few weeks.

Ditto the cabbage and cauliflower: Only one cauli survives and two cabbages out of three each. And the second cabbage (and third) is looking grim. The brussells are still growing, weird. I'm grateful! but I find the others perplexing.

Rutabagas, I remembered to pick up a bag of seeds and they popped up very quickly and I'm glad of that because so far we have no signs of the red potatoes and I don't know if they are alive. I just heard from a friend that her are up as of this morning and she planted a couple of days after us so I'll hope for the best...

Sugar snaps, they are terrific!

and I picked up a bag of snow peas to plant as well, in good time along with spinach. I have shallots! and have planted leeks and red onions too but they are still laying low. The broccoli all made it and the collards are down to 3 survivors, out of 9. That's dreadful, yes, but we made out just fine with 3 plants last year and still had leftover in the freezer. I am not crying over the collards.

Over with the non-existent potatoes down in the back (grrrr), we planted red clover as a cover crop for next spring and they really jumped out of the soil. So did those weird squashmelonthings. Everywhere!!!! I hope the clover chokes them all out.

It is so cool to be able to do this and have fun at the same time. (That sounds alittle sick. Here I am writing about choking vegetables and massacreing fire ants and having fun!) It's like being a kid again with all the wonder and excitement AND disappointment, that's there too. (And the choking and murdering. Yeach, what's WRONG with me!)

But mostly just crazy fun and I wish anyone reading this drivel would give it a try.

If it's nothing more than a potted patio tomato plant in an apartment balcony, do it. If it's the odd jalapeno pepper plant in your flowerbed, DO IT! Stick in 3 bamboo poles and plant Kentucky Wonder green beans in the spring and you will have such fun picking beans for dinner for weeks! DO IT! HEY it's winter in the south, plant sugar snaps! Get a simple fence or lattice to allow them to vine up and you'll go crunch on these yummy peapods all winter long. I toss them in salads. Plant 3 collards in your backyard and you'll have fresh greens EVERY DINGDONG day! It's amazing.

I KNOW I am a lucky stiff. I know this! And I realize not everyone wants to garden vegetables. But just think: if you plant flowers in the spring, why not toss in a few edible plants as well. You don't NEED to plant lots to make it worth the while.

Anyway, back on topic: we stopped at Lowe's and picked up three peach trees and three satsumas and one kumquat tree. Also 4 thornless blackberries. We have already on the property a HUGE lowquat in full bloom at the moment and I look forward to harvesting this. I have been in discussions with a local blueberry man and muscadine man and both are lined up to help get those bushes and vines in shortly
But first, we need to get that tractor! We want to plant much more than 6 or 7 trees and without a posthole digger, I don't see it happening quickly.

UpDate: Unbeknownst to me, as I sleep deeply (when I do sleep, that is), we had a major "rain event" last night and all the trees were on their sides this morning. As were most of the seedlings and plants without stakings. (Don't you just love this new terminology over at the Weather Channel: rain event, tornadic activity.) So the photos may look a tad strange, with the plants keeling over and all. They'll straighten out with the sunshine later.

I leave you with a parting shot of Polo as Guard Kitteh!. He's a real panther out here in the Back Two.

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