Thursday, October 08, 2009

Night gardening

"Hey! As long as you use hand tools!"

Says my super bright neighbor (one of the shitty ones) when Bubba joked that with our new yard projects we'd be working long hours, potentially straying into Night Gardening, if it got too busy.

She doesn't live on the same planet as we do, this insane neighbor of ours.

BUT - I did end up following the moon phases for the first time in all of my gardening life by planting the fava beans this past weekend in accordance with the First Full Moon of October rule handed over to me by the nice neighbors.

The same ones who grew fava beans double the size of mine last year. And the ones who had tomatoes so big they started moving their stuff into my yard.

So, when they said that they always plant theirs with the first full moon of October, I listened. And made mental mind list notes. And then promptly forgot about it because that is my way.

Also, I had a race coming up and it was eating my whole mind. You remember.

Anyway, last Saturday, as I was Relaxing and Doing Nothing, as instructed by the race handbook and everyone I knew, Nice Neighbor reminded me that "Hey! Tonight is a full moon! Better plant those favas!" in that voice that tells me that he thinks his wife is crazy for holding on to this Italian tradition from the old country even though he wouldn't dare go against it.

I mean, he doesn't want to risk shrimpy favas does he? No. I dare say he does not. Even though he doesn't like them. But - I do believe he likes peace and quiet and if the favas come out shrimpy, Nice Neighbor Wife will be anything but quiet.

Let me assure you of that. Wow.

So, with all that said, I went out and planted fava beans during a break from Relaxing and Doing Nothing because YAY planting fava beans is about as close to Doing Nothing as gardening can get.

And, please make note that I did this planting during the bright sun of day time and not during the dark hours of night - even though it would have been fun to do that just to fuck with the shitty neighbors. I might have even run the sod cutter just to see if I could get her to come screaming from her house. That'd been funny.

Really, now - night gardening? Stoppit.

Before fava beans

After fava beans

See what I mean? It's like nothing happened. Because almost nothing did. I just took a dozen or so seeds and pushed them through the soil beneath the composting corn husks. And then I walked away. Feeling triumphant and timely. And still relaxed.

Now, who knows what's going on under all that corn detritus, but I do hope it's the early germination of all of my fava beans. That'd be great. It'd be super great if they also got big and tall like my neighbors' did last year so that I can stop feeling like a tard for planting things when the moon tells me to.

I just can't have someone else telling me what to do. I don't enjoy that.

But while the favas do whatever it is they're going to do (GET HUGE, DAMN YOU), I'm going to be taking down another bed this weekend while I contemplate what the eff to do about the tomatoes that live on. And on and on and on.

So, like, say goodbye to the green bean tepee, since I've pretty much let the remaining beans turn to rattles on the vine (shaking the tepee makes the creepiest rattle sound now - it freaks out the dog) and, even though it's being stupid and putting out more blossoms, it's high time for this bitch to come down.

Quit showing off, beans. No one is impressed.

Plus, it's ugly.


Now, I was planning to do garlic or onions or some kind of winter-type vegetable in this bed, but I've frankly lost my inspiration. And while I have some fun things planned for the spring garden, I can't seem to get my brain excited to prepare beds now for a winter crop of whatever.

SO - probably no winter Adopt a Crop, unless inspiration strikes and/or I go to the nursery and onion sets start jumping into my basket. It could happen.

Or maybe I'll just plant all the beds with fava beans and then witness the horror on my other neighbors' faces when I turn them under before the beans can be picked and eaten. You should have seen when I did it this year. I thought one of them was going to brain me with a shovel.

ANYHOO - the tomatoes. The tomatoes are a problem. In a way.

We're like a bunch of red-headed stepchildren. Just more delicious.

See, I planted four plants this year. Which is exactly double what I planted the last few years. And what I imagined would prevent us from having the tomato lull in the season that we experienced last year due to the fact that Bubba and I are expert tomato eaters and can handle two full tomato plants like we're total fucking professionals.

Well, as it turns out, we're only professionals when it comes to handling two plants. Four plants is a bit much. Even for us. And we eat a lot of tomatoes. And I give a lot away. And I've been stocking our chest freezer on a regular basis with bags full. And I've canned around 6 quarts. And I've made and frozen sauce.

AND YET STILL - there are the plants, taunting me. Waving their overgrown branches at me with their flirty little new blooms in October of all times. Ripening more fruit every day as though it's the middle of August and I've got time to just go to town canning and freezing them every five minutes.

So, the other day, during a moment of Tomato Fatigue, I made a BBT (bacon, basil, tomato) sandwich on challah (because nothing says Terrific Jew like bacon on challah) and had a chat with the tomato plants.

At least it wasn't THIS sandwich. Now THAT was naughty.

"Here me now, plants...", I scolded.

"You will be coming down in a few short weeks. Before the frost can come and turn you into goo. And in these few short weeks, I expect you do to your best to ripen all of those green marbles into something edible otherwise next spring....NEXT you know what will happen? I will only plant two of you fuckers and you don't want THAT to happen."

You can totally see them quaking in their beds.

And, yes, I realize that this rant makes no sense. Because I'm talking to plants. Because these plants are annuals and it's not like they'd be coming back anyway. Because plants don't respond to threats from crazy people. And so on.

Just for the record, I still go on these rants anyway. Makes me feel like *I* am the boss of somebody for once.

All it really means, though, is that while doubling the number of tomato plants sounded like a keen and dandy idea, it was just as ridiculous as I'd imagined it could be. So, next year, only two plants.

Or maybe three. And a tomatillo. Oh who knows.

Thankfully, all I'll have to contend with soon are hopefully lots of kumquats, which are growing mightily thankyouverymuch, and Meyer lemons. From which I can make the Most Hated Dessert of All Time (if you're me) for Bubba because he deserves it for picking up my drunk ass in the city a few weekends ago after an evening of girl-ish debauchery.

Nice man, that Bubba.

I feel like this kumquat is big. But I might just be a proud mama.

I think lemons are the slowest growing of all fruits. Given this is how this same lemon looked three months ago.

Wow. This sort of turned into a gardening update and all I wanted to tell you was that one of my neighbors is totally mental. Huh. Funny, that.


  1. Hint: Instead of rolling and chilling and rechilling, etc. do this very cool little trick I learned from the Chez Panisse gingerbread recipe. Find yourself a bread pan. Line with Parchment. Put dough in pan relatively evenly, freeze. Sure, you get rectangular cookies but they're so good that nobody cares!

    -- Love your blog as an east coast half-marathon slow running knitter

  2. Funny how this year you have tomato fatigue, and I have no tomatoes. It's like the world has been turned upside down.

    Yes, I think you should go for the middle ground and have three plants next year. That's reasonable. I think I may go for middle ground and only have 15. Restrained indeed.

  3. Fava beans, planted by the full moon, night gardening: It all sounds kind of creepy. What are you cooking to go with these night beans?

    Ha! My word verification is "cusses."


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