Friday, April 17, 2009

Adopt a Crop update: They know it's about to be hot

Before hot weather, tomato plants can be smaller than basil.

I believe that the slow/nonexistent progress with the corn and tomatoes is due to the fact that they're wise to the coming weather.

Vegetables have the weather gadget on their iGoogle pages, too, don't they?

In case you are not as gadget-happy as my vegetables, I am happy to tell you that Nature thinks it's going to be almost 90 degrees here on Monday.

Yes, you heard me right: NINE OH degrees. Wow. Get me my shorts.

And I am also happy to tell you that this is probably why the corn has been so slow to start from seed (3/27 seeds germinated is not the best ever) and why 3 of 4 tomato plants have shown zero change since I put them in the ground a few weeks ago. 

This minuscule growth makes me look like a rockstar.

One of the tomato plants is visibly doing some growing and putting out new leaves, but he's clearly some sort of show off and I have it under good authority that the other tomato plants think he's a jerk, so do with that what you may.

Dude in the front is the obvious jerk-off. He's way bigger than the others and so I love him more.

The lettuce, however, seems to be enjoying this cool April and has, thus, been growing all proper like - putting out new leaves happily once I thinned the encroaching herd of overseediness resulting from my haphazard planting tactic known as, "just throw the whole fucking packet of seeds in there because who can be bothered to individually plant tiny ass lettuce seeds anyway?

I like my new, bigger office. Thank you.

I do like growing lettuce from seed, I should tell you, because it is so utterly satisfying in its ease and quickness. Run your finger through the soil to create a little gutter, pour some seeds in there (or the whole packet, whatever) cover it up, let Nature do some watering and BAM a few days later you have some sprouts. Then you do some thinning - leaving just the biggest and baddest seedlings - and BAM a few days later the remaining big and bad lettuces have grown new leaves as a sign of appreciation for the extra room to move.

Like a thank you note from the lettuce, is how I see it. Because I'm Crazy with a capital NUTJOB.

Now I have to go back and re-thin since the new open space just left more room for the stifled seeds to sprout. Yippee.

The basil is doing not much, probably because it hangs out with the tomatoes and they're on strike until the hot weather comes. The basil is such a follower.

The beans seem happy to do their growing regardless of the weather and are, frankly, impressing me with their sheer will to get on the lines I've not yet properly staked down. I feel like their motivation to grow comes from their desire to prove my neighbor right about how the stakes I used to fix their lines into the soil will pull out the second the beans get on there if I don't stake them down more permanently.

We're preparing our rebellion.

Yes, the beans are obstinate traitors. That is what I'm saying. 

So, this weekend, after I try to kill myself by running 10 miles, I am going to get out my hammer and nails and properly secure these lines to the bed frames so that I don't end up with unstaked beans because that would ruin the whole Bubba-built-me-something-for-the-garden thing if it doesn't work out just perfectly like I said it would so that he would build it for me.

So you know, "working out just perfectly" means that the beans are to climb to the tippy top of the bean tepee meanwhile providing shade for the bolt-happy lettuce underneath. It's a master plan of mine but won't come to fruition if the lines of the tepee don't hold down the friggen beans, now will it?

Those lines look tight now, but wait until the beans go ker-climbing their way up. Bad, stretchy news.

No. No, it will not. So, to get a hammer I go. And then I hope to not do this. Poor Kris. That is *so* something I would do. Except I would probably milk it for longer because I'm a whiny bitch like that. You know I wouldn't be docking lamb's tails or hosting a wedding for 150 people in my backyard with a busted thumb. Oh, hell no.

Anyway, back to the vegetables. 

Specifically, the Adopted Crop o' the Year: Lemon Cucumbers. Even more specifically - WTF? All the seeds are germinating even though it's been so cool! Even more specifically than that - Even the one I have growing inside almost by itself is putting out new leaves! 

Save me from this vile woman!

I guess the lemon cucumbers were meant to be, y'all - good choice. I'm looking forward to seeing how this crop comes out. Even though I have not yet figured out how to use the slicing attachment for my food processor. Anyone know how to use this? I scared.

Meanwhile, I should probably thin these two mounds of 100% germination madness, but I can hardly bear to do so after last year's near total crop failure of seeds. This boon has me wanting to save each one for...for...well, for I don't know what, but if you live near me and want one of these seedlings, let me know and I'll try to save it for you. They seem to have a very strong will to live and morph into pickle chips later in the summer. 

Don't you think I'd be hot as a pickle chip? Yeah, me too.

That's just what they told me though - I'm not making any guarantees or anything, FYI.

In the veg garden's outlying areas, which I like to call "the sites to be landscaped in the future but for now I'm mostly ignoring", the strawberries are putting on fruit, 

(mental note: put out beer traps for bastard slugs), 

we're imagining that the cherries are starting to turn reddish, 

They look sorta reddish-ish, right? Our wishful thinking powers are very strong.

the lemons are not dropping their tiny fruits (miracle), 

By now, they'd normally be dropping these all over the patio and I'd be crying.

and the apple tree has a new hairdo.

Don't diss the fro.

This is all good and supports my assertion that plants that produce food must not always be restricted to growing in specially designated areas. 

Landscape with food, that's what I say.  And get out the shorts in preparation for the heat. Also sunscreen. And the sombrero. And the ice cream maker. 

I have a lot of work to do.


  1. I'm feeling super stressed, now, because I haven't planted herb one for this year, which means I'm waaay behind on killing them. My lemon tree is a sad stalk at the moment, because it made it through the weird, hard winter only to wither up a couple weeks ago. Every leaf -- withered. I refuse to pull the plug. . . .

    Hey, if that slicing blade is like the grating one in my f.p., it attaches to a stem and is actually really easy to use. I say this after being scared of it for the first three years, and now I wonder why. I always forget how to get it on the stupid stem thing though.

  2. I considered posting a photo of my thumb nail, if only because I find it fascinating how many colors it can turn. But then it occurred to me that MAYBE my disgusting thumb wouldn't be as fascinating to others.

    And hey, how come the slug beer trap didn't work for me last year? Was I using the wrong kind of beer? I think I used some nasty Linenkugel that tasted, I swear to God, like bubblegum. EW. I guess the slugs didn't like it either.

  3. I love all of the pics of veggies - so inspiring. I guess if I'm going to plant something, I should probably do it pretty soon.

  4. I thinned this weekend, too. I had never done it before because all this gardening business is new to me, but now I feel like maybe I didn't totally fuck it up. Seed packet instructions are totally intimidating, am I right? I just don't believe the zucchini seeds really care if they get planted a 1/2" instead of 1" deep, you know?

  5. I've got the sombrero out this week over here too. Your garden is looking gorgeous!

  6. Your garden looks great and seems to be doing well. My little patch of dirt is making me happy, too. The cucumbers are blossing like mad, Roma tomatoes are emerging, and so on. It's so lovely to go out there and see the garden's progress each day. I'm tempted to measure each plant and make a growth mark on the wall in my kitchen to show my babies' progress.

  7. Appropos of nothing in *this post, I am compelled to tell you that the pasta with kale and white beans you post long ago FREEZES BEAUTIFULLY. The sorority girls I cook for loved it even more the second time 'round. I thank you.

    Now that I think of it though--what the hell is up with the cages over your plants? Is it your type- A-must-keep-things-in-line thing or is it some amazing anticritter thing? What gives?

  8. oardening...i am so excited about it. yours looks great.

  9. I am curious what you use for tomato cages, is it a two in one type thing? I can't seem to make the picture bigger, it looks very sturdy which was one of my problems last year....

  10. You show off with your puny tomatoes and basil. I feel for you, Finny. It was 80 here in Missoula today! So, that's not so bad, eh?

    Your bean teepee over the lettuce thing is brilliant. It'll work. Nice job, handy bubba.


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