My morning routine varies little. After my cup of coffee, I make my way down to the basement to turn off and empty the dehumidifier. As I pass the vegetable garden, I will myself to stay on the concrete path Taking a deep breath, I descend each step, repeating a silent mantra, Leave them alone, leave them alone. My will power holds up on the way down,vegetable but evaporates on the way back up.
I bend over and peek under the giant atomic monster spectacle zucchini plant in search of any new green zukes,
then do the same at its slightly smaller yellow squash cousin.
If my garden was the state fair, I’d have to rate these two a gold medal, since no sooner do I slice and grill one harvest, but find several more lining up for the next time I fire up the grill.
Next I sidle over to the eggplant where there’s no need to search. Although not as prolific as the squash varieties, it has yielded one meal and it looks like another one is not too far in the future.
And although they’ve had their problems between the groundhogs’ occasional raids and my absent-minded trampling on them, the pepper plants are giving it their all. I gently part the leaves and count the pretty white flowers and recall how crisp and crunchy the one tiny pepper I couldn’t resist picking back in July was, even though I should have left it on the plant a little longer. One is waiting for me, if I can have the patience to wait for it to get a bit bigger, or maybe a lot bigger. Oh, yes, I’d give it a bronze medal.
But now the fun ends. I know I should just turnaround and go back into the house, but that masochistic part of me propels me on to the tomatoes with whom I have a love/hate relationship. I’m in awe of how huge the the plants are. But I guess they have to be if they are to hold up all those huge beefsteak tomatoes hanging from them. Green tomatoes. After checking each one for a hint of yellow or orange, I sigh and turn my back on them.
Slacker medal for them
You see, it’s more than my disappointment. It’s my friends I worry a bout. No, not my veggie plant friends, but my real live flesh and blood friends, the ones who were so hopeful as they accepted my overflow of small plants last May, the 23 seed tray mates of the 5 runts I kept for myself. Only two have reported red tomatoes, the rest are in the same boat as I am, seeking that slight change of green to yellow green, then on to orange……and so on.
Then came tonight – since we haven’t had rain in over a week, I hauled the hose over for a soaking than the watering can I usually use to gently administer to each plant.
I wasn’t really looking at it, but there it was. Well, isn’t it always the way?!?
Have faith my friends, have faith. Your’s are on the way!
At first I thought my failure to blog regularly was because my work situation has changed. I am now writing freelance from home. While it was one thing to come home from a day on my computer at the office and write a blog, it was another thing to spend all day on my laptop up in the loft, then come down to the living room and attempt a blog post.
But that wasn’t it. I realized it was the lack of pictures. You see, normally I’d be inspired by something in the city or at the shopping center, think I must write about that, snap a photo or two, come home and write. But then, back in January…………..
……….. I lost my camera.
I searched everywhere: in every coat, under the car seat, in my gym bag, my pocketbook, in the kitchen drawer. You name it, I looked there. I was even beginning to think about getting a new phone so I’d have a camera, when……….
……………I found my camera.
The prodigal camera had returned! It was hanging out with some t-shirts in the t-shirt drawer! If I ate meat, I’d proclaim “Prepare the fatted calf ” or whatever it was that the father said when his prodigal son returned. Instead…………..
………….. I charged the camera and started snapping shots .
Ready for an update on the house of Mars?
Marble has calmed down somewhat. He’s two years old and now that it’s summer, he’s content to sit on a little blue rug I bought at the dollar store to wipe my feet on when I come in. The cast of characters changes
After breakfast… with The Brothers
Alone at last
Then there’s the garden. If you recall, I started tomatoes and cucumbers from seed. Two cuke seedlings emerged, and 23 tomatoes. Not having space for that many tomatoes, I put them up for adoption and ended up with 5 for myself. Well, 2 died, and the cukes got eaten by groundhogs. The tomatoes are doing well They are the kings of the vegetable garden……
…….Ruling over 2 eggplants. 2 squash, 4 yellow pepper plants
I tried to rise above it, but I can’t. I have to point out, that’s not my shed.
Mine is pretty
So that’s what’s going on in the House of Mars. I’m enjoying this summer so much, writing on the deck is like not working at all.
So be prepared for more blogs from The House of Mars!
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 one. 15 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.