Is This It?

I may have solved the riddle of the ten zillion tomato plants.

If any of you care about my kitchen garden the way I do, getting right down into the weeds, as it were, you will remember that I have tomatoes right, left and center. Tomatoes and butternut squash: everything else squeezes in around the edges. The question is, how did this happen?

I think I figured it out. We had tomatoes for lunch, as we have done every lunch for a couple of weeks now. Not complaining, just saying. The first ones to ripen were these gnarly, irregular things. I’m trying to work out a variation of all cats being grey in the dark, but it’s not coming to me. Anyway, chopped up, gnarly works just fine. Some other varieties are starting to come online. We have beefhearts now and I think I saw a possible San Marzano turning pink.

So, today’s lunch, herbed omelet and a caprese salad. Just as I was about to dispatch this guy, have him meet his mozzarella, I realized. This is a Berkeley Tie Dye. What looks in the photo like a blown-out highlight is, okay, a blown-out highlight, but the main thing is, it’s yellow. Green, yellow and red, all on the same ripe tomato, a sure sign. I planted Berkeley Tie Dye last year. Not this year.

So this is the deal. The possible deal. Last year I planted all kinds of things. Then I ran off to Paris and left everything to fend for itself. Not many things came up. Some things came up, bore fruit — cherry tomatoes are pretty indestructible — and the fruit just rotted on the plant. Or maybe I threw it toward the compost bin and missed. Anyway, there were all these seeds left in the ground that just laid dormant.

This year I have spent a lot of time at the house, actually watering and taking care of things. And as avid readers know, we do no-dig; the seeds would still be near the surface. So my guess is that seeds from last year sprouted right alongside seeds from this year. Hey presto, bumper crop.

Fortunately I have a lot of cookbooks.

Garden Devastation

I couldn’t resist. My new electrician turned up with a digger. He only needed to dig a couple of holes but I had paid for the thing for the whole day. So could he….

Well yeah, sure, way more fun than wiring. And out came at least half a dozen old tree stumps and a whole lot of volunteers that planted themselves in the wrong places.

It looks pretty bad right now, but soon it will be just fine. I’ll be able to re-establish some visual axes and keep bay laurels and all from undermining walls. I’m more concerned about this mess. I sprayed what smelled like fish emulsion all over my veggies, only to find out that I was supposed to avoid the leaves. Oops. The tomatoes and potatoes didn’t mind, but every squashy melony thing took a serious beating. You’re looking at Sugar Baby pumpkins. We’ll see if they come through.

The butternut squash didn’t get fertilized/blitzed to quite the same extent, so they should be fine. It looks like nothing will take out the tomatoes.

When I pulled out the bushes, I worried about demolishing habitat. In fact there were no nests in those bushes. There are plenty of other nesting areas, plus of course I have put in nesting boxes. In addition to the hoopoes and all that we see, it looks like the barn owls have returned. You can see a feather, top one below, and I startled something when I stepped into the garage the other day. I’m thinking barn owl. I think the other two feathers are from a crow and a little owl.

So things are settling in. If I can figure out how to get that fertilizer under the leaves, all will be well.