Thursday, July 03, 2008

Keep On Growing

When work gets stressful or tiring I retreat to the garden. I don't think about too much when I'm there sometimes and then sometimes I do my best thinking there. This past week has been unusually and gloriously cooler in the late afternoons; almost fall like, so a wonderful time to go out and putter about amongst the flowers and such. I harvested my first batch of green beans and cooked them. I should have a batch of okra soon. I have lots of tomatoes but none ripe yet. I am experimenting with companion planting on a small scale. I read where it is good to plant catnip around eggplant, as it deters flea beetles, and I have a time with those little pests, so I tried that this year. It did not seem to be doing a lot of good but then the catnip really took off and the eggplant really looks much healthier now. I usually keep some catnip growing anyway for Grendal and for myself. It is a stimulant in cats but a sedative to humans and if you have a tension headache or just need good sleep, a hot cup of catnip tea works great. I add some passion flower to it also and will sleep so soundly.
The corn is doing well. This is Silver Queen. It is about as tall as I am now. I try to always plant my corn in blocks or spirals instead of long single or double rows because corn is pollinated by the wind instead of insects and if it is kinda clumped together it seems to do better.
Some of my tomato plants are almost my height also. I am very eager to harvest my first ripe tomatoes. I plant marigolds all through the garden also to deter different insects, plus they just look pretty and don't require much attention. I brought home a large roll of burlap from the railroad job and have been using that in the walkways of the garden. It works pretty good but it's better to put it down before the grass gets up much because it will not kill grass already there. I have been intending to cover it with pine straw to kill the grass and for looks but that is way down my list of to-dos. I wish I had brought a second roll of the burlap home now. We had tons of it left over from the job and tried to give it away instead of discarding it but could not find anyone who really wanted it. We use burlap to cure concrete so it is not unusual for me to be able to get lots of it.
This is a new plant for me this year. It is paprika! It is doing very well with all the plants having 3-4 good size peppers each. I am especially proud of these because I started these from seed; something that I am not too good at. You can pick these when they are yellow/orange and use like a pepper or wait until they turn red and then pick and dry them to grind up for the spice. That is my intention. I have not had to water much this year but don't think that is going to last. Our rainfall has slowed down considerably. I also add powdered kelp meal to my soil every year along with an organic fertilizer and compost. I till all of this in when I first turn up the garden in the spring. The kelp is supposed to help the soil retain water and improve the soil texture. I think it helps and it is not particularly expensive. I know a lot of you prefer to only use amendments that you can produce yourself and maybe one day I can have the time to work on that myself. When I get my chickens going (chooks, eh Molly!) I know I'll be using them to help fertilize!
This is one lone Moon and Stars watermelon that has volunteered in the garden. I did not plant any watermelon this year but this one was determined to come up anyway, so I let it have it's way. It's doing pretty good actually. And in case you are not familiar with this variety, the plant is not diseased with those spots on the leaves. The melons not only have little "moons and stars" but the foliage does also.
I have a 3 day weekend now so I am going to attempt to get a significant amount of stuff done on the house. We'll see. I guess I have been a little burnt out on the house lately because I've just been having to make myself work on it. I need a change of some kind; a bit of good mojo to float by. I'm not sure what is wrong with me. I've been out of sorts for some time, cranky and restless. That is why I have not posted a lot at times. I did not want my posts to reflect my mood. I feel like a butt for feeling this way because I really don't have any problems to speak of but I guess it happens to everybody sometimes. Anyway, I hope everyone has a happy and safe 4th!!
*Derek and the Dominos


Woody said...

Annie..your garden is looking fantastic! We grew moon and stars a couple of years back and they were a tasty melon. I wish we lived closer. I would have used a roll or two of burlap. I just hate to see stuff go to waste.

I know what you mean about diving into the garden when your feeling off center. Even if I only get fifteen minutes to myself it seems to help. I hope you have a happy, centered and peaceful fourth.


Robbyn said...

Hi Annie,

Wow, look at your garden! It's wonderful!

I hope you get a chance to kick back and ENJOY your place...and that you have a great 4th :)

Richard said...

You got the "Summer Time Blues"...they even wrote a song about it. Garden looks great. I have some radishes that you can use for paint removal if you want them... :-).

Anonymous said...

LOL @ chooks...see how easy it is to speak aussie ! Not only will they fertilise for you, they will de-bug it and give you hours of amusement watching their antics!

You have 3 days off girl, make sure one of them is nothing but "you" time, doing whatever takes your fancy, burning yourself out wont help you enjoy that gorgeous home or surroundings!

The garden is looking fantastic, those tomato bushes are monsters!

Have a super break

Floridacracker said...

I can't believe you have time for a garden that nice with your work schedule.
Looks way better than mine and I'm around a lot in the summer.

It must be nice to have real soil vs. our sand.

Robbyn said...

I left you something on my last post...have a great 4th :)

Rurality said...

Your eggplant looks lots better than ours! But I did read that the flea beetles can eat up to 20% of the leaves and not really do any damage to the plant as a whole. That made me feel better, since ours are definitely chewed up. :)

Where do you get your organic fertilizer?

edifice rex said...

Hey Woody! Thanks! Yeah, I would sure have given you all the burlap you wanted. We tried hard to give it away because we really hate to be the ones to throw it out but sometimes we just can't find anybody to take stuff. Hope you have a nice 4th also; so far mine has been great!

Hey Robbyn! Thanks so much! Hope ya'll have a great weekend too!

Hey Richard! yeah, I guess that's it. I'm reminded of that Springsteen song, "I'm just tired and bored with myself". Ha!

Hey Molly! Thanks mate! Ha! I'm gettin' good at this! lol! I'm having a good time this weekend and just relaxing.

Hey FC! Thanks! Well, my soil is very sandy actually but I amend it heavily when I plant and then basically don't do much else the rest of the summer because, you're right, I don't have a lot of time. I'm sure your garden looks great too though.

Hey Karen! Well, I don't know that the catnip is helping much, those dang little bugs are still there some. I hate to admit it but I get my organic fertilizer at Lowe's. I can't think of the name of the brand right now but the company has been around for some time. I think it works very well.

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to drop a line and let you know how much we enjoyed visiting with you last weekend. Your place is great. You have accomplished so much AND worked full time AND gardened AND made pottery AND landscaped AND AND AND....Truly, you have a wonderful place. You have such an artistic eye and can envision things that other people can only wish for. There are many folks out there that would like to build a house the way you are doing and do not have the courage to take that step. I know that sometimes it seems slow moving, but look at what you have now that you did not have 2 years ago. We have been working on our cabin for 4 years and you have us beat. I don't even have a kitchen sink!!! (Well, I have one, but it is not hooked up yet.)

Come by and see us sometime. We would love to have you. You are such a special person. You are friendly and cheerful, even to strangers who come knocking on your door.

Take care of yourself on your new job.

Karen J.

edifice rex said...

Hey Karen and Barry! Well, thank you SO much. Those are very kind words and I really appreciate your encouragement. I enjoyed ya'lls visit very much and would like to see your place too. I have worked hard on this place and I know I have accomplished a lot, even though sometimes it doesn't feel like it, but I could not have done it without all the help I've had from other people.
Ya'll stop by anytime you are in town!