According to Google, it was Cicero who said that “If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.” I’d probably add yarn to that statement, but as it happens I’ve spent the past few weeks reading (“Under the Dome” and “The Leftovers“) and making frequent visits to the backyard. Considering I had virtually no idea what I was doing…
…and considering we put the garden in a few weeks late, I’m stunned that its come this far. Our “harvest”, if you will, has been limited: one green pepper, two cucumbers, a bowlful of greens, and a few scrawny strawberries. That said, my daily (sometimes, twice daily) pilgrimages to the backyard are getting more and more exciting:
The tomatoes came late but the branches are laden now and they keep coming — one or two are just beginning to ripen, but there are still blossoms and the bees are happy, frequent guests. I’m dreaming of oven-roasted cherry romas on crusty bread with goat cheese, and hopefully some home-made sauce. I also have two bushes of Wapsipinicon Peach tomatoes, which according to the seed package will be small yellow tomatoes with a sweet flavor. I’m thinking these might make an interesting salsa.
The bees have also been busy in the watermelon patch. I planted two of my seedlings and as of this morning we have 11 watermelons in various stages of growth. Yesterday alone I found three new ones, tucked under leaves here and there. Happily Erik will eat all the watermelon he can get his hands on; I just hope these don’t ripen all at once! There are also approximately a dozen green peppers of various stages, which I’m hoping I can leave long enough to get red peppers.
I mentioned in a prior post that the cukes had taken over the squash. Despite oodles of squash blossoms and plenty of bees, I’m not seeing any squashes. The cucumbers were late – we’ve picked two so far, and there are another six or so down there the size of gherkins. However, I’m pretty sure we have powdery mildew – whether it’s from all the rain or something else I’m not sure. I removed a number of leaves and sprayed Neem oil once, but it was so rainy I don’t think it made any difference. I suspect this is why I’m not getting any squash, and why the cucumbers are struggling.
Knock on wood, thus far we have had no pest issues. I’m puzzled by this, frankly, but I did plant a plethora of marigolds around the perimeter which was suggested as a deterrent by all of the organic gardening books I read. There’s also a ton of spiders down there, and while I’m not exactly a fan of spiders I’m assuming they are keeping the bugs in check. In addition to the marigolds I also planted mint and lavender, along with some bee balm, along the outside perimeter of the raised bed. The lavender, bee balm and marigolds absolutely helped with attracting bees, which have been plentiful. I find it oddly calming to watch the bees buzzing around from blossom to blossom; I’ve caught myself just standing there for several minutes seemingly staring into space, but really just observing the bees running their errands. The fact that the frenzied bees calm me down? Well, it’s probably a good thing we’re on vacation!