Garden 2012 – Week Twenty


   How the frack are we on Week Twenty already?  I canNOT believe it’s been five months since we hauled a pushcart full of seedlings and potting soil home from our neighborhood nursery.  Incredible .


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   It’s hard to believe that when started out, you could still see the patio. 


These days, it looks more like this:


  Or in the case of one end of the space, like this:


   That lovely mangled mess is the result of the Mystery Mater insisting on falling over and becoming entangled in the yellow pear tomato and tomatillo growing beneath it.  I tried to keep them separate, but they’ve just bolted in this heat, and keeping up with the madness has been next to impossible.  I must admit, part of me likes the look of it, as if the wild has taken over that corner of the space.  It does make picking the fruit a little tricky, and one must keep an extra sharp eye out for spiders, bees, and wasps that sometimes like to take refuge from the weather under the leaves.  

   As with the Mystery Mater, Legz has refused to grow upright.  Honestly, I think next year I should invest in topsy turvey planters, hang them, and be done with it!


   We must simply have the ideal environment for cherry tomatoes on our patio.  Of everything we’ve grown so far this year, the yellow pear, sweet millions, and mystery ‘maters have been some of the only crops we can consistently count on. 


   Between them all, they seem to churn out enough small fruit for one really awesome Caprese salad each week, which is fortunate, as I appear to be completely addicted to them at the moment. 


  Our basil is doing well enough that I haven’t had buy any for the salads thus far (knocks wood).


   I wish our beefsteak tomatoes were doing as well.  We still have those four rather small Abe Lincolns, but no more have started. 


  Our Big Rainbow bolted recently, and even had a few blossoms, but sadly they all dried up and dropped off without producing fruit.  Here’s hoping they’re just late bloomers.  Literally.

   Speaking of late bloomers, the real excitement this week has been the tomatillos.  I wrote in Week Seventeen that I was becoming concerned about our tomatillos, which have been blooming for ages, but haven’t produced so much as one  teeny fruit.  At the time, I’d Googled, and read that this is early behavior for them early in the season, but come August they tend to go crazy.  Well, it’s nearly August, and look what I’ve found!


   That may not look like much if haven’t been obsessively examining tomatillo plants like I have.  A lot of blossoms look similar to that just before dropping off; they get enveloped by the husk, going pale and drooping down, so it would be easy to just write off as one more dying bloom.  I wish I had one to show you, though.  The crucial difference is that they tend to shrink before dropping, whereas this one has actually grown.  It’s elongated and turned a paler, almost yellow/white shade, and the veins in it, previously thin and light, have thickened and stretched and turned a sort of purplish color.  In my reading, I discovered that the husk grows first, just like this, and the tomatillo comes in a little later to fill it.  Unless my very strong hunch is a very wrong hunch, we’ve got the start of a real, honest to god tomatillo husk.  I am SO excited to see how thins develop over the coming weeks. :D

   On the opposite end of the excitement spectrum is that teeny, tiny thyme plant I repotted.  As you can see, it’s not exactly flourishing in its new pot and location.  On the other hand, it’s not dying, either.  That’s a good thing, right?  For good measure, I dug out a packet of thyme seeds and scattered them in the pot.  Hopefully this little fella will soon have tiny brothers and sisters.  Fingers crossed!


   Sam Jackson, the summer squash, has grown SO much, we’ve had to turn him back on himself. 


   Despite all of his incredible growth and the amount of traveling he has done, he’s managed to produce bupkis, apart from some spectacularly gorgeous blossoms.  The blossoms are edible, but Sam only seems to grow one flower a day, which makes doing anything with them sort of tough, as I can never gather a proper batch.  Sadly, it has become clear to Bro and I that dear, old Sam, along with all of his summer squash brothers and sisters, are simply taking up valuable real estate, and it is with a heavy heart that we have decided to stop watering them.  I hate to cut off any plant that is flourishing, but we really do have limited space, and everything in the garden needs to serve some kind of purpose or we’re just wasting resources. We would simply pull the squash plants, but they have become so intertwined with things that we’d like to keep, that it would be impossible to separate them while everything is green.  When the squash plants turn brown, though, we’ll be able to see where we need to cut.  So if you start seeing a lot of brown in my pics, know that it’s just our poor, failed squash-growing experiment coming to a dry end.  Sad! 

   Right, campers, that’s all the news for this week.  I shall leave you with a few random pictures of some of our favorite garden residents.




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