Every so often, I look at this blog and wonder if it’s worth the bother. I think my life must be terribly uninteresting and the failures here at the homestead have far outnumbered the successes in the gardening realm. Still, on the rare occasions that someone does come by, as my aunt and uncle did this weekend, and looks at the place with their eyes instead of mine, it reminds me that being too close to something can give you tunnel vision sometimes.
So here’s what’s been going on around here of late, beyond the workaday crap that made August a hellish month, stress-wise – a month in which I managed to lose eight pounds, dropping me to 100 even. I’m working on keeping the needle there and climbing, and thus far, the “keeping the needle there” part is working out better than the “climbing” part.
I had worked my ass off to prep a bed of corn, which started out well.
And then, there was zero rain. None. Zilch. Nada. So I was trying to water. Then I had some kind of animal run through this back side of the plot – probably the damn dog next door, who is forever running all over our property. And then these critters showed up, along with the corn earworms.
I don’t think I could have done enough to turn that plot into arable soil that would sustain growth to maturity. Between all of those factors, the corn withered, and eventually had to be cut down. A total loss of the time and effort spent.
I’d put in a line of limas, which I hate, for other people to eat. Out of eight seedlings, two survived. Neither has put out any beans as of yet, although they both have flowers.
I had also set up several cucumber plants, of two varieties: picklers and lemon cukes. One of each survived, and this lone pickler, along with one lone lemon cuke, are the output so far.
We have harvested some handfuls of tomatoes. Fried green tomatoes are a hit around here, and those went over well. We’ve also had some ripen successfully, from several of the tomatoes that managed to survive the tropical storms and the drought and the occasional storm rolling through, and the bugs.
The guajillos have performed very nicely.
I have a couple of bells peppers ripening – two fruits, from two different plants that survived of the six that went in the ground. My plan as we head into fall is to rig a greenhouse and try more peppers.
The onions have performed nicely, and much better than I thought they ever would, given the poor soil conditions.
Likewise, the cowpeas – that’s black-eyed peas, to you non-Southerners – have thrived
under conditions that managed to kill off their brethren, who started out well but faded down the stretch.
Today I had to pull up and burn the only zucchini plant that was producing anything, as caterpillars invaded and stripped the thing down to its stalk in the span of a single day. When we set it ablaze, the caterpillars, which could not really be seen before just at a quick glance, suddenly were everywhere, wriggling around as the flames caught them.
The garden, such as it is, has not produced enough to even feed a single person much of anything. But what I have managed to get out of it has been useful
and lovely to see and smell.
After a backbreaking day of working the soil, coaxing what I can out of the garden, pulling weeds, and trying to get grass to grow in this sandbox of a lot, and then returning to the day to day work that goes into running the business, it’s nice to simply step outside for a moment.