Garden Weekend

When I lived in Iowa, Memorial Day weekend was the time when everyone planted their vegetable gardens. In those days (before global warming), the early June nights might still be cool but we were pretty well assured that the danger of frost was past and the growing season could begin. I had no gardening experience except what I’d learned from my grandfather, so I planted everything in my Iowa garden that he used to plant in his garden in the north Georgia mountains. And so I can attest that, for a limited time only, okra will grow rampant in Iowa (and since there is virtually no one there who knows what okra is, there’s no one to eat all the excess). Purple hull and lady peas (really not peas but we call them that) also are excellent cultivars in Iowa. (Again, limited acceptance.) Melons are dicey – I think I managed to get one watermelon harvested before frost in three seasons. 

So now I’m gardening in a more southern clime, and this is actually a report on how things are doing. The cucumber vines are blooming and beginning to climb their trelllis. The fig tree has recovered from the Great Easter Freeze, although we may be short of figs this year. Ditto the blueberry bushes. Strawberry season was pretty good for all concerned – the birds, mice, rabbits and me. And for the first time, my pomegranite bush is blooming! Could it be that there will be home-grown poms this year? 

The featured attraction of course is the tomato garden. All of the plants are in the ground now and doing well, including the Hillbillies which, as my faithful readers will remember, were planted separately under the unfortunate waning moon. Most of the tomato plants have bloomed, and several have set fruit already. This weekend, I sprinkled a small pinch of slow release organic fertilizer around all the blooming plants, in an effort to boost production. This is a new thing for me this year so I will let you know if I think it makes a difference. 

The big job for the tomato garden this weekend was STAKING. I do not believe in the “sprawl” method of growing tomatoes. Not here in the south, where sprawl invites pests and fusarium wilt. So, thanks to the help of Goshawk (who made the stakes and cages in return for tomato futures), the plants are staked and caged for the summer campaign. 

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Whew. Now I can relax. And think about next year’s garden. Okra? Perhaps a row or two of Silver Queen corn? 

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3 Responses to Garden Weekend

  1. poetloverrebelspy says:

    Do you fence your garden at all, or just deal with the critters as they come? Corn will probably attract raccoons or possums. Are deer a problem where you live?

  2. B Barron says:

    I live on a 1/3 acre lot close to the city, and although I share it with other inhabitants of the urban wilderness (possums, rabbits, squirrels, snakes, and that devil’s spawn, the Ultimate Raccoon), I haven’t seen any deer. I don’t fence anything or do anything to keep out the critters. It would be pointless; I have learned from experience they always win. That being said, in five years of increasingly diverse gardening, I haven’t lost too much. The biggest problem for tomatoes is bird strikes. I try to pick tomatoes a day or two from ripeness to keep the birds from devouring them. Ectasy is coming home from the office and eating a warm, perfectly ripe tomato right off the vine while holding your briefcase in one hand and the tomato in the other. Agony is arriving at the garden only to find that the cardinal bird had his eye on the same tomato you did, and the bird got there first.

  3. akdmyers says:

    We got most of our garden put in this weekend as well, though we’ve done all flowers this year. Our only herb is some mint left from the previous tenant, which we have been trying to contain to one corner – those roots are a pain! I have never lived this far south before, and so it was startling to discover that many of the things I am used to planting at this time, like snapdragons, are pretty much already out of season. I guess I’ll have to get an earlier start next year.

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