Jun
26
2012

  Garden Expansion

When we returned from an overnight trip to my parents' place last week, I found a flat of various seedlings on my doorstep. They were not too dried out, despite the hot weather, so I figured they must have been put there the previous night. I have one neighbor whose garden I have never seen, but I have only heard rumors about its magnificence. She had given me extra seedlings in years past, so I presumed she was mystery donor of the current batch. A phone call confirmed my suspicion. She said she brought so many plants since she thought I didn't have a garden yet this year, but since I do she didn't care if I used them all, they were extras she doesn't have room for herself.

I left them in their little peat pots for several days deciding what I was going to do. Today, I decided to clear the pile of dirt from behind the carrot patch and create a bed for at least some of them. I was able to dig up the pile and create the bed this morning while the boys were still strapped into the jogging stroller after my morning run. But when Max started fussing, I stopped and took the boys inside.

After lunch, I tried to get a little more done before our sitter showed up. I put M in his outdoor saucer, and he was content there for 20 minutes, and W happily puttered around the garden to help as he could. When M wouldn't be confined any longer, I put him in the garden with us to see if that would work. In a word, no. Within the first minute he had nearly choked on a green cherry tomato, and picked half a dozen green tomatoes off the lower part of the plant, and upended a pot. I immediately gave up and went inside until the sitter showed up 30 minutes later.

While she had the kids, I cleared out and leveled the site of the future mulch path behind the squash. I added three more pepper plants to the pepper patch, and did some weeding. Killed four hornworms which had been eating my tomatoes. Found four tomato cages, which was no easy feat since weeds and vines had overtaken them in the yard. But I ripped them free and used them on four of the seven new tomato plants I was able to plant in my new tomato bed (behind the carrots). A few of the seedlings in the tiny plastic seed pots were looking pathetic, so I planted them in 10" pots. Those pots might not be large enough to support grown tomato plants, but at least it buys me some time until I decide where they will go. I have a new cherry tomato plant that I think I will try planting upside down in one of those hanging contraptions. Cherry tomatoes are so unruly, and I already have one taking up a large space in the garden. Of course, I'm not sure where I will put the hanging bracket, so I might wind up with another cherry tomato plant in the ground after all. Time will tell.

There are some peppers who by their names I suspect are hot. I might give those to a different neighbor, whose children are old enough to not eat a whole hot pepper raw. Or I might take a chance, and just keep M out of the garden. He's a real terror to my plants, so that's probably the best thing to do anyway. Next year he might be old enough to "help" garden. W actually is doing a pretty good job of staying on the paths this year, and he can shovel mulch and put it in place without smothering the plants (he puts it on too thin, but that is better than just dumping it on the plants!). And he's comically precise about watering. He really is a decent helper. The only drawback is that he eats his weight in cherry tomatoes. I don't have any left for my salad on days he is out there. But considering all the other food he could be filling up on, I'm happy to let him eat all the tomatoes he wants. And he did bring one over to me while I was gardening, so while he didn't leave much for a later meal, at least he was kind enough to share.

T has band practice tomorrow night, but he usually leaves home around 2 in the afternoon and is gone until late-night. So to make up for saddling me with the whole bath-and-bedtime routine, which he usually helps with, he watches the kids in the morning so I have some free time. But after gardening for nearly four hours straight today, I made another arrangement. Since I suspect I will be too sore to garden much during my free time tomorrow, I asked if he could finish the path behind the squash for me and I'll watch the kids.

I have to do laundry in the morning anyway, since I skipped it Monday and deliberately didn't bother today since the weather was so nice I wanted to get the garden shaped up before it gets hot later in the week. But I'm running out of clothes, since I left the stuff packed for my trip to NY still packed despite the trip being postponed, and I haven't washed the stuff from our trip to Richmond. So even if T watched the kids, I'd just be doing laundry, so what a waste of "free" time, eh? Especially since the boys LIKE laundry day. But T consented to my proposal, so I'm looking forward to getting the garden just a little more done. His garlic might be ready to harvest soon, and that will open up another large location I can put another bed of something.

Here's a link to before and after photos in a google album. If you use gmail, you might want to go ahead and connect to me on g+. I still haven't figured out how it works exactly, but I think it makes it easier to see photos. Until T finds the time to update the apache server (or something like that) for this site, it's all I've got for online photos, the google account.