16 May 2009

Houston, we've got a garden

Don't look now, but it's starting to look like a garden. Of a fashion, anyway. The thistle has become the bane of my existence. I spend more time digging it out and no sooner do I get the patch over here than it pops up over there. It's like playing Whack-A-Mole with a dinner fork.
I did manage to weed, compost, and top dress the Summer Squash patch, the small beds around the raised planter, and the two tomato beds. In keeping with my companion planting experiments, the tomatoes are sharing their beds with more onions, garlic, shallots, parsley, and marigolds. And if you think that's suggestive you should read what they said about Linnaeus and his ideas. So far, I've had little to no insect damage to my crops, so there must be something to the companion theory!

There were even three new toads skulking under the marigolds so I herded them into the toad house. Ever try to herd toads? 'Nuff said. They seemed to prefer the wide open prairie, er, onion patch and hopped out the back door. As long as they're eating the wee buggies, I don't care where they roam.I planted 10 Zucchini 'Black Beauty' seeds and another 10 the following week for a successional harvest. On the trellis on the edge of the zucchini bed I planted Snow Peas. I even made good on my threat to add a pink flamingo!
Isn't she a beauty!
Bad news, though. My 'Black Cherry' tomato has a large black spot on the stem a few inches above the soil and some of the lower leaves are shriveling up. Even the 'Costoluto Genovese' is showing signs of crankiness. At first glance, it looks like stem rot - a bacterial disease which likely came from the grower - but since all my tomato books are packed away in a closet in Arkansas, I'll have to ask our Fruit and Vegetable Culture instructor Harold to confirm the diagnosis.

The news that's really worth writing home about was our shopping trip to Groff's nursery. I had heard of this venerable plant haven in hushed and reverent tones so I was as eager as my classmates to go. After work on Friday we all piled into the Short Bus (it so fits sometimes) armed with plant books, lists, dreams, and $50 compliments of Longwood smouldering in our pockets! Soon as we arrived and got the lo-down from Joyce (who brought our mascot Sweet Pea, her new chihuahua), we scattered like a bunch of quail being chased by birdshot and probably made as much noise in the process! On impulse, I purchased an artichoke, a cardoon, and a Burkheya - my nod to the dreaded thistle that plagues my garden. I'm hoping the altitudinous stature of the first two will give the wee weed a complex and it'll go somewhere else.

Meanwhile, on the Ornamental side of my garden, I decided to abandon my study of invasive weeds and re-tilled the soil, reworking the design in the process.

And I've got this large container to plant. I'm thinking a tall grass for height, a couple of container tomatoes, something spilly...decisions, decisions.

It's still very much a work in progress so stay tuned for more exciting developments. And if you'd like to see it yourself, bring a fork. I'll put you to work pulling thistle!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

These pictures are so YOU! As the "older sister" of the over educated, dirt digging, church going, tea drinking Deb, I have a mighty large collection of postcards from all over Europe of dirt. Some have flowers, some have plants, some of are fields but all have dirt. Most send pictures of themselves in front of buildings. Not my baby sister. If it doesn't have dirt she doesn't send it. I do believe after years of education and many white collar jobs, my sister has found her roots (ha ha ha).