In the last few weeks we have had a lot of rain. While I stayed out of the way, the kitchen garden totally soaked up all that water. Now I have a sort of squash jungle, aided and abetted by more tomato plants than I will know what to do with. Tomato baseball, maybe. But what kind of squash? And those little bushes, the ones in the space where we thought we planted okra, is it really okra or are we looking at 20 more tomato plants?
I won’t show you the zucchini. It’s a little obscene, though it makes fine zucchini bread. I thought this was a baby pumpkin but Julien says no, it’s some kind of round summer squash. I guess you stuff them. We poked around in there and found a few other things. Little did I know, they look like baby versions of their grownup selves. So the butternut squash is already yellow and elongated, etc. So that’s easy. But what about those ones that are flowering but not producing? And how do I get these guys to lay off the leaf growth — enough is enough — and start making more veg?
In between the squash and tomatoes, Julien planted carrots, onions, all kinds of things. It’s more like foraging than harvesting. I go out with a bag and start pulling up stuff, saying, oh look, beets, onions, how nice. Maybe there is chard. We finally have recognizable arugula, mizuna and tatsoi. He couldn’t understand doing a garden without potatoes, so I found starts for quite an exotic variety over here, russets. We will finally have decent potato soup and I think he’ll take a few home so his wife the chef can make potato bread. Now that he knows zucchini bread can be a dessert, I think he’ll be feeding it to his kids.
It turns out my tomatoes just needed about ten times more water. Now they’re doing great. We have two plants that look to be enough, all by themselves, plus, seriously, about 20 mystery plants. Some we planted. Others are volunteers from seed left out last year. Flowers, maybe a few actual tomatoes but I’m not sure which ones. I’m hoping some cherry tomatoes show up. The polythene cloth that I put all over the place is an absolute lifesaver for a lazy gardener like me. It covered the weeds, the cardboard and hay we put down to kill the weeds and all that dirt that rots the food before I can get to it. I love the stuff. It’s reusable, fortunately, and when it gives up it falls apart. I think it can be dug right into the dirt, so no worries. You’re not looking at future landfill.
On the pest front, things are not too bad. They seem to find most of what they want out in the meadow, that brown area in the back of the first photo. Apart from that they seem to zero in on older plants that we’re letting go to seed. They’ve been staying away from the healthier plants. Plus we do get a little help from bugs we like.
The fruit is doing better than maybe it should. These are entirely uninvited plums growing on shoots from a tree that was cut down before I arrived, but with the roots left in place. I have three or four trees like this, plus leftover raspberries. Some we’ll keep, some we’ll try, probably futilely, to eradicate. The deliberately planted trees, eh, I’m glad I’m not a farmer. My bumper crop of cherries also soaked up all that rain, then burst. I have two trees full of previously gorgeous, now rotting, probably fermenting, fruit. If you stand under the trees you can get a little buzz. That’s about the best I can say for them. We have a few apples. Everything else looks happy but is not really producing yet. It will happen.
All my drought-resistant flowers turn out to be secret drinkers. It’s amazing what they got up to while we were hiding from the downpours. Suddenly they are huge and everywhere. We have roses about this color. When you step out the front door the scent is amazing. And thanks to the blog buddy who suggested a garden fair a short drive from the house. I went and found these lovely bushes that look remarkably like hollyhocks and fill in a neglected corner in a very pleasant way.
I’m still not used to winter. We had a warmer winter than usual, but still, it’s not for me. So all this growth, the late sundowns, all of it, I am cherishing. We are between the freezes and wind of winter and the heat waves of summer. It’s pretty nice.