Sunday, June 06, 2010

The Garden Report: June 6, 2010

You know, once upon a time, my backyard looked like this:

weeds galore

Gorgeous. (I can’t remember when I took this picture…this is what our whole yard does over the winter if we don’t stay on top of it…which we didn’t, except in the beds…) (‘Course, usually the husband gets out there with RoundUp and napalms this stuff, but this year I was all, “Don’t you dare! You’ll hit my poor little peas and broccoli, I just know you will!” so…he didn’t. And then the weeds took over the world and we all died, the end.)

OK, not really gorgeous. Actually, kind of frightening. I mean, even the composter was afraid of these things. Look at the poor thing, cowering against the shed all terrified and pleading for its life…

weeds of doom

Heh. Yeah, but, you know, the thing about this yard was: Zero Maintenance. No weekends spent planting or harvesting, canning or drying, no weeding, no raking, no digging your hands in a mix of compost and clay and vermiculite and peat moss and etcetera up to your elbows on a day that might have been spent doing more important things – like surfing the Internet, watching Deadliest Catch or eating ice cream until you throw up.

me mixing yet more

I had all kinds of tools to use for this. I had the tarp that was supposed to make it easier. I had twisty-thingees and hoe-like-thingees and shovel-thingees…but at the end of all things, it was just easier to jump on in there with my hands and mix-mix-mix.

It ended up being a hair over a cubic yard of mix. (And an extra run to Home Depot because we under-estimated just how much we needed to fill those front boxes.)

This right here is how to avoid ever needing a sleeping pill again. Seriously. I could have fallen straight into bed face-first by the time I finished moving all that stuff from here to there, then mixed it all up and moved it yet again into the boxes.

Once filled up with the mix, I planted three kinds of lettuce in one box, onions and chives in another, and the last one has a bunch of herbs (sage, basil, oregano, and thyme) and these cute little pak choi from Renee’s Garden. They’re quick-growing, tasty, and look adorable while they grow.

Then I took a deep breath and charged into the backyard. A neighbor had donated six tomato plants to us this morning, ready to go into the ground.

free tomatoes

…but he wasn’t sure what kind they were. Chances being good that they’re going to need cages and/or staking, I set them apart from other things where we could easily get at them to apply such if needed. And now we’ll see what happens – if they’re like my Roma tomatoes, they’ll get to less than 2’ high and then, uh, stop…if they’re like the cherries or the Mortgage Lifters, they’ll erupt in all directions until we put them in jail and stop their rampage.

Speaking of rampage, the cherry tomatoes are busting out like crazy, all over the bush.

cherry tomatoes

There are at least sixty of them already. Not that I counted, because that would be compulsive. (OK, I may have counted – but I wasn’t precise about it.)

We also have a few of the beefsteak types going.


And the yellow-striped heirloom is also starting to fruit up.

yellow tomato

(Not that you could tell it is a yellow-striped heirloom, seeing as how they’re still green. But eventually, this is supposed to be a yellow tomato with green stripes.)

The green beans bust out in blossoms this week – they’re being a bit modest and putting them largely under the bushes, but the wind rustles through them like a lover moving aside his sweetheart’s hair and gives us glimpses.

green bean flower

And there are baby green beans erupting all over the place.

baby green bean

I can’t wait to torture the kids with fresh green beans. BWAHAHAHAHAHA...

The carrots are starting to come up, looking an awful lot like grass. Especially in areas where the seed obvious got caught by a little breeze or something as I was planting.

scattered carrots

Afraid they were going to be {gasp!} overlooked, the diva cucumbers have finally decided to start coming up.


Things are definitely starting to pick up speed out here as the unseasonable cold is finally giving way to the seasonable warmth; it flirted with 90 this weekend, and the soil was beautifully warm and lush to work with all over the yard. When I was planting the “bonus” tomatoes I was digging pretty far down, and it was lovely and warm to quite a little depth.

And the plants are showing how much they appreciate it, with blossoms and sudden surges in growth. I didn’t take any picture of it because I got all absent-minded, but I swear I can actually see the corn growing right now; I tucked the beans and pumpkin seeds into their spots all over that little field (which took a ludicrous amount of time and Tylenol, thank you very much) on Saturday, and by this afternoon when I went back there again it was like, holy smokes - they’d grown another inch and a half!

…they’re as bad as the Denizens, I swear…(but at least I don’t hafta buy clothes for the corn)

This is an exciting time out there. Fruits and flowers, all over the yard. Wondering just how much is going to actually come out of each spot; how many potatoes are under those hills? How many of those blossoms are going to become green beans? Good grief, how many more cherry tomatoes is this bush planning to produce?! New spinach already poking up its head, carrots and onions and cucumbers and lima beans, corn and butternut squash, zucchini and pinto beans, sunflowers and cilantro.

It’s like having a supermarket under construction in my backyard. Coming soon…!

We’re insanely tired right now, but get to enjoy that smug glow of righteous self-congratulations. We got a crazy amount of hard work done this weekend.

We kicked butt, yo.

And very, very soon, we’ll start really enjoying the fruits of those labors – literally, and in the most tangible of ways.

Perhaps lightly steamed with a sprinkle of salt, or sautéed with bacon, or served up rinsed and raw with a light vinaigrette.

1 comment:

Science PhD Mom said...

Glad to hear someone else has trouble discerning future carrots from other fact I will likely hoe up my carrot bed and replant, because the three weeks since I sowed the seeds have wrought major weed havoc and I am just not feeling the love for hand picking over rows of potential carrot seedlings to remove the weeds. The decision to use old seed and sow when it was still cold is looking like a bad one at this point... Anyhoo, love the new sprouts & buds & such! I can't wait until my garden is doing likewise!