Monday, June 20, 2005

Random Garden Observations

Well here we are on the verge of the solstice and the planting is complete. I put spinach seeds in the ground the very last of March. I started the artichokes on February 25. This planting and planning business can take a very long time. I admit to one hold out. I have four “Long-keeper” tomatoes in pots that I intend to put in the garlic bed after the garlic is harvested. That will bring to 34 the number of tomato plants out there.

When I arrived in March there was snow still melting in shadowy pockets of the yard and everything was brown. I went from noticing the first wisps of green in the field to a hayfield this morning that is filled with white daisies that are almost past peak. The yellows of spring have given way to the deep greens of summer.

I’ve thought often this spring about when will the day come when we are no longer unfolding and opening up to the glories of spring and summer and instead heading toward fall. When is peak? Is there a plateau of summer? Will I know it when I see it, or will it only be obvious in retrospect? I love the yin and yang of solstice. In that darkest day of winter was the seed and the promise of longer days. And so too this Tuesday will carry with it the opposite promise.

The Tomatoes

Sunday night is my night to “fuss” over the tomatoes. I return from the gallery openings and work on suckers and do tie ups. It’s a good way to keep track of the progress and to watch for hornworms. I am a little disappointed that my blossoms are not offering much in the way of fruit yet. So far I spy a few cherry tomatoes, but they are really tiny. Perhaps it hasn’t been warm enough. Here is the tomato inventory. Unless otherwise indicated they were grown from seed. (* = Cherry)

Big Early (purchased as plants at Longdale Nursery) – 3
German Johnson (potato leaf) – 4
Belgian Giant – 4
Prairie Fire – 2
Better Boy – 3
Old German (Longdale) – 1
Sweet Italian (Longdale) – 3
Boxcar Willie (Longdale) – 3
Sweet 100’s* (Arlington Market) -4
Sugary Sweet* – 3
Long Keeper – 4

I appear to have been a little too vigorous in my pruning of one Belgian Giant and one German Johnson and have turned them into determinates unintentionally. I think they will find a new route to fulfill their destinies. Sorry guys.

The Zucchini

Strange things are happening. The variety is Raven. ALWAYS the male flowers precede the female flowers. Not THIS year. I have three fruit without a single male blossom. Perhaps the fruit will wither, but if they prosper, I will need to get to the bottom of the mystery.

The Apple Trees

Matt Tobin dropped by yesterday to check on his “children.” He pointed put that on the year old whips, I should be sure to pinch the leaves on the bottom third of the tree as they appear and then higher up later in July. His wisdom on watering was 1st week every day, 1st month every week, thereafter every month. He was also careful to reiterate that next year if there is a hot spell I should be very attentive to their water needs. Second year trees need special attention in heat waves. I saw two munchers out there this morning. One was like a small ladybug and the other was an actual caterpillar.

I have blossoms on two trees. Is fruit possible?

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