This Year’s Garden Surprises

I was happy with the bundle I picked on Monday. Gardening is an act in patience and it is beginning to pay off.  Two tomatoes ripen, the eggplant is long and delicious, the Kale is growing wild, and I’m trying to cut the cucumbers before they become too big. The tomatoes seem to be growing bigger this year and there are many green ones hanging on the vines.We gave the plants a bit more room and they are in a row at the back of the garden instead of rows of three next to each other. The plants seem to be bigger and more plentiful this year. Apparently, the squirrels can’t wait for the tomatoes to mature either and have started to steal some. The culprit is pictured below. We have lost two tomatoes (As far as we know) from this little guy and the first one he didn’t even finish. Ungrateful little fur-ball. I joke. We have plenty growing to go around, I just wished he asked first. Another surprise happened with the shape the eggplants. We were expecting Black Beauty Eggplants, which are fat and round. We are surprised the eggplants growing are long and thin but who cares? They are still savory. The peppers are almost big enough to pick. There is something better about growing your own ingredients. Maybe its the taste or the freshness nevertheless I can’t wait to get cooking.

Have You Seen This Squirrel?
Have You Seen This Squirrel?

Planting The Garden

Mother’s Day was busy. In the morning we planted the garden. Beefsteak and Big Boy tomatoes, red bell peppers, frying peppers, and eggplant have made it into the grown. Just like last year we pulled the weeds which wasn’t much compared to last year. Instead of adding manure this year we added peat moss. We spread the peat moss over the top of the area and was going to turn over the soil but the rotary tiller wasn’t working. After sometime we just decided to let the moss enter the soil naturally. We laid the seeping hose and pinned in the weed barrier fabric with staples. I planted the tomatoes in a row in the back, the peppers to the front near the stoop and eggplant next to the driveway. (Picture below). We left a space for the Romanian tomato pepper. I didn’t know I had to soak the seeds before planting so they ended up being late bloomers but from pictures below you can see they are growing strong and heathy. We are thinking of putting them in the grown this weekend or sometime next week. I was nerves after years of tilling that the worms present in the soil have been torn up. So we added some new worms to the soil. I didn’t take a picture but we also planted cucumbers and kale over in a small area of the yard.

This week we are helping the boyfriend’s grandma plant some of her veggies in her planter pots. So excited. I love gardening and I can’t wait for the veggies to start growing.

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Romanian Tomato Pepper Plant
The Garden
The Garden

Spring Seeds

Saturday, March 15 I planted Tomato Pepper seeds with some help from my niece. I love planting seeds in my little cow pods. It reminds me that spring is on the way. I live in New York so the spring temperatures have been being a tease. A few days it has been enough to just wear a sweater. It’s a reminder of what is missed. But a day later the temperature drops to 30 degrees and feels colder than it felt in winter. Well no matter how much Old Man Winter is fighting, spring is coming. We have the spring equinox and the snow is melting. Little buds are starting to appear on trees and bushes.  I can’t wait to see some color back in the landscape.

If you are wondering I have mostly planted tomato pepper seeds and a few pods of parsley and oregano. The basil from last year is still alive, barely, (it was even a cold winter for the sun room) and I potted it with some new nutritious soil. Most of the other garden plants we purchase from a nursery near us. We plan to plant our usual Big Boy and Beef Steak tomatoes. I know we will continue planting eggplant and cucumbers. The question we always seem to have at the shop is which peppers will be add to the garden this year. Last year was an assortment of green bell peppers like California Wonder or Frying Peppers. A year before that we tried Lady Bell and Jalapeno pepper plants. I can’t wait to see what appears in the cart this year.

Below the picture may just look like dirt filled cow pods but I promise their are seeds hiding. When they start showing their sprouts I’ll make sure to post an update.

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Tomato’s Growing Pains

I have had my garden for a few years. The knowledge I use now was instilled by my dad and mom. (My parents had a big garden before I was born till I was five.) Now, everything I planted is coming in and my mom and I can’t eat, or can fast enough. I have been sharing the booty retrieved from the garden with some friends. Everyone is grateful but I am amazed by the questions I get sometimes. Some want to know how I get so much product because they are not getting the same results or they are picking my brain for their future garden. Others are worried by the look of some of the tomatoes.

My garden is out in the open air succumbing to the elements and I don’t spray any chemicals. It seems every year some of my tomatoes get “stretch marks”. I have always told my friends it is because the inside is growing faster then the skin so the skin tears and tries to repair itself. The other day my brother tried to tell me the stretch marks are from worms that eat the tomato while it’s growing. When I did the research I was relieved to find out I was right. Also, I learned how to stop the stretch marks from forming. I would have to regulate the water so it is the same from day to day and make sure the plants don’t get to little or to much sun. I laughed at this bit of information. I am probably not going to put up a shade on a sunny day and I will try to keep the amount of water steady from day to day. I just think my tomatoes taste great so what if they don’t look perfect. What is life without a few imperfections.

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No Water Needed?

Recently, I went to a bridal shower and in return the bride to be handed me a lovely light pink gift bag. With the bag came these words, “No water. It was nice seeing you. I’m so glad you came.” I returned polite farewells and moved out of the way so the next person could say their goodbyes. I opened the bag to the picture below. The net has left me with to many vague answers and none of the plants I’ve found have looked like this one. Am I right to think it’s an air plant? Can anyone tell me what type of plant or flower this is and how to take care of it? What should I expect? I don’t want to kill it. Any help will be great.

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The Garden

Saturday I planted the garden. Since the temperature stayed in the mid 60s and the sun was in and out if the clouds it was a perfect day for gardening. My mom, boyfriend, and I pulled up all the weeds we could and turned over the ground. We mixed in four bags of compost manure. We laid down the rubber seeping hose and decided where the plants would go. Last year we used the fabric weed block and within a month it was worn down, tearing, and the garden was over run with weeds and grass. I was disappointed since I was trying to make my garden as environmentally friendly as posible. This year we went back to plastic. As a friend says, “If you are 79% environmentally friendly I think you are doing better than most”. We laid the plastic, pinning as we rolled it out, making sure to have a nice overlap at seams. We cut a “X” in the plastic enable  to dig a hole for the plant. I grew the red peppers from seed this year but we bought the other plants all ready established. We planted Big Boy and Beefsteak tomatoes, eggplants, cucumbers, and two green bell peppers. Below is a picture of the completed project.

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They Are Coming

It’s all over the news. It sounds like a horror movie come to life. Could you imagine waiting 17 years for sex? That’s what the cicada does. At least that is what I’ve been hearing on the news.

I leave in New York and any day now I will be hearing the male mating call of the cicada. For 17 years they live as larvae feeding on tree roots. They are already rising from the depths as soil’s temperature reach 64 degrees Fahrenheit. They will emerge, shed their hard skin, and spend the next five weeks trying to get laid. Sounds like college.

I didn’t have the garden 17 years ago. I was 14 and preparing for 8th grade graduation. Before that it was my mom and dad working the garden. (Huh, I should ask Mom if she remembers what her and Dad did.) Anyway, today I looked up if they would bother my vegetable garden planting. I was thinking, they’ve been underground all that time. It must take a lot of energy to climb out of the ground, sing and get it on. Therefore, they must be hungry? So, I’ve investigated using the World Wide Web. After much searching I’m satisfied they like trees. The vegetable garden should be fine. Panic subsided. Also, I learned the cicadas can be eaten but I will leave that to the imagination.

Now I wait and see if the Cicada song will drive me crazy because pictures of them creep me out. **Shivers**