Backyard Bliss

I slept most of the day and awoke to find the garden gorgeous.

Part of the Backyard

Part of the Backyard

Ignore the grass and weeds in the bed around the patio. Please. That’s what I do. But you’ve probably guessed that.

That’s a few squash plants in the planter. There’s a Chinese snowball bush directly behind the squash.  The tomato and cucumberplants are in the raised beds a bit beyond. And as always, there’s the stinkin’ juniper behind the wall.

Photos of the cucumber flowers to come soon. They’re gorgeous!

Summertime

Tonight is Beltane, the beginning of Summer. I don’t have anything special planned, other than to light a candle or two (or three or ten… I can never stop until I hit double digits). And I plan on meditating a bit to try and ease some stress.

But for now, my baby tomato plants are happy, healthy, and growing so fast that I am smacking my lips in anticipation of the lovely ‘mater sandwiches to come. The backyard is a thriving little greenspace of flowers and veggie plants (and weeds – oy). And the temperature is just comfy enough to spend time outside, but still hot enough to make the baby tomato plants produce good tasting tomatoes later this season. Life is good.

Happy Beltane!

Tomato Armaggedon

Well, it looks like the tomato plants aren’t going to make it. They lost too much plant material and now they’re in shock. I may get a small, miserly crop much later, but it’s more likely that they’ll just die.

I’m debating whether to get more tomato plants or just not have tomatoes this year.

Tomato Woe

So. I’ve got about 19 tomato plants in the backyard. On Monday night, they were eye high with hundreds of baby tomatoes on them. On Tuesday night, most were waist high with only the largest of the tomatoes present. A few of them were knee high. One is almost completely gone.

I’ve been in a pissy mood ever since. Because the plants were gone from the top down, I thought deer had been snacking on my plants. (Last year, it was bunnies eating the baby tomatoes at the base of each plant. But this couldn’t have been bunnies, unless they were acrobatic bunnies who stood on each others’ shoulders just to eat the top of the tomato plants.) So I sprinkled chipotle pepper flakes on the plants to keep the deer away until I could find a permanent solution. Turns out that wasn’t necessary.

Later, as I searched for green tomatoes to pick for fried green tomatoes, I found this ugly bastard:

The Little Bastard Responsible

It’s a Tomato Hornworm, the little bastard; it’s about two inches long and capable of eating a whole patch of tomato plants in 24 hours. While I took this picture, it ate an entire leaf off of my tomato plant.

I killed this one and sprayed to kill any others lingering around my tomatoes. Bastard.

So my tomato crop is going to suffer this year. No canning for me. I’ll be lucky if the plants don’t die from losing about half of their height in less than 24 hours.

Dammit. I am so pissed.

Cold Snap

Last week, I was wearing shorts. Today, I’m back in a sweat-shirt hoodie. Where has my lovely Spring weather gone?

I’ve got nine tomato plants sitting on my kitchen table, waiting to be planted. I’ve been craving tomato sandwiches for a good month already. And it’s going to be another month at least before mine will be ready to pick. Sigh.  There’s just something about a homegrown tomato.

It’s difficult to think anything but pleasant thoughts while eating a homegrown tomato. 

-Lewis Grizzard

Ain’t that the truth?

If you’ve only eaten the tomatoes sold in grocery stores, you’ve never had a good tomato. Grocery store tomatoes are bred for shipping ability, which means that they have a tough skin, watery innards, and little taste. There’s a world of difference in the taste, and it’s one I can’t exlain. It’s something you’ve got to experience.

I have a small garden, I call it my Victory Garden. It’s just three small four foot by four foot boxes of good soil I play in every year. Last year, I produced a ton of tomatoes and one sweet watermelon. Rabbits ate everything else I planted. We’ll see how I do this year. I’ve got some plans for an anti-rabbit fence to go around each box. I am somewhat skeptical about my ability to make the fence I have planned.

Later, Upon Further Consideration: I have a degree in civil engineering; I even worked as a structural engineer (briefly), for crying out loud. I should be able to make three anti-rabbit fences. Right? We’ll see.