Friday, April 24, 2009

Adopt a Crop update: It's been hot. Obviously.

It even LOOKS hotter in this photo. Because it is.

While I haven't done a garden update in about 7 days, these pictures actually only represent about 3 days worth of growth. To be specific: 3 days of 90+ degree weather when the vegs got off their asses and did something. 

The other four days were spent as Vegetables of Leisure, lazing about in cool normal 60 degree temps of April, splashing around in tiny puddles created by the sprinklers that didn't immediately evaporate because it wasn't yet unseasonably steamy hot in their beds. 

I mean, look at this same tomato, pre-HEAT:

Look at that damp earth. I think it was around 60 degrees when I took this photo.

It's not even up to the first ring of the cage yet in this pre-I'm wearing shorts and flip-flops and sweating into the night photo. This tomato was biding its time. Acting all sly with its "oh, I'm still small and not even thinking about putting out blossoms yet. Give me a minute to collect my thoughts here, OK?" when I asked it what it thought it was doing just all not growing and everything. 

And then the mercury hit 90 and what does it do? It grows half a foot in three days and suddenly has EIGHT blossoms as if from nowhere.

Like I didn't know you had those hidden behind your back the whole time, tomato. 

I'm on to you, man.

Not that I'm really mad or anything. I mean, this is what I want in life - vegetables that grow and blossom and make food for me - but I can only handle so much deception. You know?

Meanwhile, the basil was quietly growing into a tree.

You don't fool me, Basil. I know your kind.

I have a plan for keeping the basil in check and that plan is called Pizza Night. That's right, Basil. Your future is in the shape of a bushy shrub, not a tree - so don't get any funny ideas. And no going to flower when I have my back turned. That kind of disobedience will not be tolerated.

Thankfully, I have a few plants who know their place in life. One being the cucumbers. They know their lot in life is to become jars of dill pickle chips and they are working very hard to make that happen. Almost too hard, in fact. These seeds are suspiciously vivacious, germinating and putting on new sets of leaves every other day. 

Why are they working so hard? What do they have to hide? I may have to run a background check on these guys to see if they have any suspicious activities lurking in their permanent records. Smoking in the boy's room, perhaps? Some misdemeanor drug charges?

I'll get to the bottom of this.

Does anyone else smell smoke?

The beans are moving along well, even after I introduced some new roommates to make sure that I was getting my requisite 4-6 plants per pole as stated on the packet I forgot to read thoroughly when I originally planted this bed with 3-5 seeds per pole, whoops.

A few of the newly planted seeds have germinated while the 2 week old seeds are making quick progress toward the lines I restaked to the beds with strong staples. I just knew (read: because the neighbor said so) that those lines staked into the soil with spikes weren't going to sit strong and silent in the soil once these guys started winding their little fingers around them and pulling hard, and I wasn't willing to risk it. Because then I would cry and no one needs to see that.

However, I plan save my "Oh, I'm so impressed" face for when these guys actually grow tall enough to get on the lines. THEN we can talk about Wow beans this and look at the awesome beans that. For now, let's not bolster their egos too much. They get big-headed easily and I can't have my beans all full of themselves and trying to go over my head to management.

Come back to me when you've got a finger on that line, and no sooner.

The corn is still, on the whole, a pretty fucking amazing slacker. Officially, there are three corn seedlings OUT OF 27. 


Although, I reseeded last weekend after my excavation with trowel produced zero moldy seeds (which is what I thought I'd find given the cool rainy weather) and instead produced, well, nothing at all.

Methinks the bastard birds got to the seeds and THAT is why my germination rate was so poor. The Miraculous Three that survived to become seedlings were the ones lucky enough to be planted in such a way that when I ran the irrigation lines, their homes fell underneath and, as such, they were shielded from the pecking birds. While normally having a freeway running above your house is not ideal, in this case it was a strategic advantage. 

Mental note: If there ever comes a time when I'm fearing for my life due to a drastic rise in the pterodactyl population, I'll be sure to approve the city's plan to extend I-280 over my backyard.

Traffic noise is a bitch, but at least I'm only five minutes from Trader Joe's.

To shield these new seeds, I put the Supah Technical frost cages over the beds to keep the birds out. No more on-the-clock snacking, you jerks.


The lettuce is busy playing Teacher's Pet. It's perfect and does exactly what it promises and then sometimes surprises me by randomly sprouting up under a dirt clump (not pictured) and pushing it out of the way with its mighty lime green leaves. 

Unfortunately, lettuce is a little slutty and, after a few beers, tends to throw its skirt up and show you its frilly underpants, which we have decided is something we're willing to look past given the sheer magnitude of salad greens it will produce.

Promiscuous lettuce is welcome in our house any day.

Of course, I'm banking on the beans actually getting on the lines and growing to the top of the tepee so that there will be some shade for this lettuce so that it doesn't get all bolt-tasic on us and turn into a bitter tree of failure, but it's too early to be that pessimistic. Even when the beans are teasing me by setting new leaves while leaning away from the lines. 

Such a tease.

And while this is an update on crops and not on $.99 cent landscaping, let's briefly glace at what's going on in the pee hole if for no other reason than the fact that it's happening without any interference (ie. work) from moi:

Apparently it's poppy season in the pee hole because there are poppies of all varieties coming up with the borage, lupine and myriad daisy-like things. Standard poppies, California poppies, Iceland poppies, big poppies, small poppies - all growing and thriving and all without my help. It feels good to not be needed.

It also feels good to know that if WHOOPSY neighbor kid Max appreciates any of these flowers by running his tricycle through them, they'll either spring back or reseed themselves at no cost to me. 

Yay for DIY landscaping where the Yourself is aimed at the plants rather than me. That's right, plants, YOU do it YOURself and leave me out of it.


  1. I am SO jealous....our growing season is still a month off before we can even plant!

    And that basil has my mouth watering....ah, perhaps I'll just have to settle for this cyber-version while the ground here thaws away.

  2. I have to tell you, I actually have four tomato plants growing in MY backyard...they are not brown yet!
    These poor tomato plants were given to me because they were abused by their previous owner and needed a good and loving home. I'm embarassed, because they started their life with me in my small ledge in the kitchen window. I had to water them twice daily because they were still in those little six pack things you buy them in at the (my) hardware store. I finally put them out in the yard yesterday and they have survived so far!
    My daughter planted herb seeds and the plants are still residing on that very same ledge where the tomatoes used to live. No brown in the herbs yet either...I am so stoked! I have actual plants that I am keeping A.LIVE!

  3. Yeah, it was 85 degrees here yesterday (I KNOW, what is UP with that?), and the one volunteer arugula plant pretty much doubled in size in that one day.

    But on a much less happy note, some fucking bug is killing my seedlings. They're INSIDE. In the BATHROOM. What the fuck? How did a cutworm (which is what it looks like) get into the bathroom? Grrrr.

  4. I love reading about the progress of your garden. Mine is doing well with only a few losses here and there. The Roma tomatoes are coming along nicely, clusters of Thompson seedless grapes are all over my two grapevines, baby key limes are fattening up, zucchini blossoms are all over the place, and the cilantro is ready to use. We'll see how everything does.

    I love the "pee hole" growth. Amazing how a bit of "do it yourself" has challenged Mother Nature.

  5. You used the word myriad correctly - you don't know how happy this makes me. Sad, I know. On another note, my lettuce is about the same size, so I must be doing something right - STOKED!


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Look at you commenting, that's fun.

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Sucks, right?

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