Archive for the ‘gardening’ Category

Summer’s End?   2 comments

Just when I found a way of facing the facts of life, the coming winter life, that is, I find things have been turned topsy-turvy. You see, I’d found solace in the thought that Mother Nature would be taking a well-deserved rest after blessing me with such a beautiful summer along with an abundance of vegetables, and bouquets of flowers, potential  bouquets, that is, since I only picked  flowers on two occasions.The problem, although it’s not really a problem, is that my garden doesn’t want to stop so she can rest, and she doesn’t seem ready for even a short nap anyway.

The tomato plants are continuing to furnish me with daily portions

DSCN2098as well as promises of more to come

DSCN2097Yellow Squash, though tinier than in the dog days of summer. get a bit bigger every dayDSCN2093While even tinier zucchini hope they’ll be big enough to pick before the first frost gets hereDSCN2094I don’t think any eggplant will emerge from these lovely purple flowers

DSCN2091But maybe I’ll pick a pepper or two tomorrow

DSCN2099Even my container annuals, which in other years I discard in August because they’ve grown leggy and sparse, don’t  seem to know it’s October 15 and not August 15.DSCN2110DSCN2112But then I look at the deck from a different angle.

DSCN2105And I look up the road.

DSCN2106But still, with October temperatures like these……….

DSCN2114……the plants aren’t the only ones who are getting the most out of this summer that won’t quit. I’m still working in my summer office.

DSCN2107And as for The Mars, Marble, Marcel, & MarceauDSCN2115I don’t have the heart to tell them (or my outdoor green friends) the weatherman is warning of frost on Saturday night, and temps as low as 29 Sunday night.

Go Figure!

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The Sad Sweet Saga of the Tomato Plants   3 comments

I so enjoyed growing tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers last year that I decided to one-up myself and instead of buying plants. I usually start flower seeds in the basement, and although historically, most fail to thrive once in the ground, hope springs eternal. So, early March found me carefully opening seed packets and tomato, cucumber and pepper sowing seeds in planting trays. I placed them in the basement windows where they’d enjoy the morning sun.

Each morning I visited them, whispering words of encouragement as I gently misted the soil.  As the days passed with no signs of life, I entreated them. As April dawned, I summoned them to choose life. Finally in mid-April I threw up my hands and declared OK for you! Do what you want. Who cares. I can always buy plants.

In early April, I brought them up to the deck where the sun could bake the soil all day, then put them in the shed at night since, after soaking up the heat of the sun all day, it retains it well into the evening. Finally, one by one, 19 pairs of green leaves popped through the potting mix, stretching toward the warm sunlight. Tomatoes!!!!!! Welcome, Welcome,to The House of Mars, I exulted over each one as it emerged.

Eventually I realized I had a problem. What was I going to do with 21 tomato plants? They were my babies. I’d brought them into the world. I felt obligated to find them homes. Not just any home, my tomatoes needed good, caring homes. With this as my standard. I eliminated a few people who came to mind immediately. I stopped short of asking for references but i did come up with a list of candidates.

Actually the first two had no choice. I know my SIL (sister-in-law) to be an accomplished gardener with experience working in a nursery,and she and my bro have a fairly large terrace in their building; one that gets lots of sun. So no questions asked, I thrust two plants on her. 19 to go.

Same thing for my BFFFW (best friend from work). We’d discussed gardening many times, primarily who’s poison ivy itched more. She has more property than I do.  So she got 3. 16 to go.

I put out the word to the other candidates I’d come up with and the answers poured in, all in the affirmative.

I’ll take one15 to go.

We can take two. 13 to go

Sure give me two 11 to go.

That’s so nice of you. Give us 6 Six! gulp.

Oh well, that left me with 5 for myself. Last year I bought 4 and while they produced an adequate amount of tomatoes I could have put more to good use. At least I had one more plant this year

Since they needed lots of  TLC, I kept the five runts of the litter, kissed their siblings goodby, and delivered them to their new caregivers.

As for my five? Well, one decided it didn’t like The House of Mars, so, a couple of days after bring planted, it withered away. Then aliens invaded – not the usual suspects, my resident ground hogs  and neighboring deer.(Not yet anyway). Not even the usual tomato-eating insects. No these strange-looking hard-shelled aliens are bout the size of a ladybug, but with a hard black shell ,shaped somewhat like a family crest , and a round clear yellowish suction cup bottom. At first I just removed them to another part of the yard since I hate to kill anything, but they multiplied as did the perfectly round munch holes they left in the leaves. I hardened my heart and found myself taking glee in the crunching sound they made as I crushed them.

So now I’m left with 4 plants, one of which looks very questionable. Since the three cucumber seeds that germinated produced plants that looked healthy in pots, but bit the dust once in the ground, and the pepper seeds never woke up, I set off on a mission yesterday. I couldn’t find any cucumber plants but I’ll keep searching; meanwhile I came home with four yellow pepper plants and four cauliflower plants.

At least Ithink they’ll produce cauliflowers. The tag was missing and, of the two workers I asked, one said he thought so. The other one didn’t speak English.

Let’s put it this way, by the looks of the leaves, I’ll either get cauliflower or collard greens. I’d take a picture of the mystery plants and see if anyone would post a knowing comment, but somewhere, sometime, someplace, I lost my camera this winter.

However,  thanks to a postcard two of my happily settled plants sent from their new home, I can close with a photo.WP_20150516_003

Facing the Dreaded End   3 comments

But the ending always comes at last.

Endings always come too fast

They come too fast, but they pass too slow.

I love you and that’s all I know.

If you’re an Art Garfunkel fan you’ll know that verse from All I Know, written by Jimmy Web. It was an ode to a failed romance. I admit, when it was current, I was in just such a situation and found it comforting to sing along at the top of my lungs anytime it played on the radio. But today, with Eastern Standard Time back in position, November upon us, and alas! temps in the 30’s I’m singing it to last summer.

But before I let it  go, thanks are in order to a few hearty and loyal friends who have stood by through thick and thin and to this day, refuse to desert me.

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And these guys are super-loyal. They’ll be out there every day of the long winter, just as they were on the hottest driest days of summer.

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So will they

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This summer was unique in that it was the first year I grew tomatoes.  Here are the last three; the last three definites, that it

DSCN1778

And the maybesDSCN1762

Anyone have a recipe for fried green tomatoes?

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Posted November 3, 2014 by virginiafair in gardening

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Live and Let Live   2 comments

I love everything about summer but number two on my list, after going to the beach, is taking care of my garden. Like any mother I feed my plant babies and shop for them –  delicious foods  like fish emulsion and blood meal. I usually purchase these from Home Depot, but was in a hurry one Saturday and since I was already in Wal-Mart, decided to see if their garden department had what I needed.

Not only did they not have either,  but I was somewhat dismayed to find that the  products that supply plant nutrients were outnumbered by those that promised death –  to insects, weeds, moss – you name it

The Good

The Good

The Bad

The Bad

and the ugly!

and the Ugly!

I don’t know why but it troubled me on a deep fundamental level.  I actually feel sorry for the weeds I pull. Now I was on a quandary,  weighing  the end against the means.  Some people spray, I pull. It’s all the same to the weeds. Thankfully someone pointed out that I was protecting my flowers and vegetable plants because it’s a dog eat dog world, with everything sending down roots and competing for water.

As it turned out I could have left the weeds alone…….  because the deer got there first. I went out to water one morning and suffered instant numbing devastation. I kid you not. I was late getting to work because it took me a while to break out of shock. Was my live and let live attitude being tested?

Remember my tomato  plants and cucumber vines?

Back in July

Back in July

They don’t look like that anymore

In mid-August

In mid-August

The tomatoes fared a bit better,

DSCN1661

But they’re soldiering on. Wounded, but still nurturing their tomatoes.

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And so are the cucumbers,  bless their little hearts!

See the cuke (pickle) to the right of the stake.

See the cuke (pickle) to the right of the stake.

 

This called for action, but not too much. The most destructive I could get was repelling them with the noxious odor of musty rotten eggs.

DSCN1665

So far it’s worked. But the sixty-four thousand dollar question is……. Are they just waiting for the tomatoes to ripen?

Posted August 27, 2014 by virginiafair in gardening, Uncategorized

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