Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Adopt a Crop update: My evil plan is working

Lettuce growing in the shade of beans. A true romance.

When I go out to the garden, as I do approximately one to two dozen times per day, the first bed I inspect is the cuke/bean/lettuce bed.

And while I'd like you to think that this is because I'm super protecting your adopted lemon cucumber crop, that's totally not the reason.

The reason is because I like to watch my Evil Plan unfold. With my Evil Plan being to extend the lettuce season by growing the tender boltastic leaves in the shade of the rapidly growing beans on their tepee.

And, much to my extreme joy and pleasure, this is totally working.


Not that this is *my* Evil Plan, since I know that this whole strategy has likely been around as long as the Three Sisters planting method, but still, for it to work for me is excellent. Makes me feel like I'm finally learning something about gardening rather than just running full steam into the soil in the spring throwing seeds and plants and stakes around me as I race to warm up from winter and get my hands in the dirt LIKE NOW.

The desire for a warm garden tomato is extremely strong in, say, March, so it's hard to control myself long enough to put together any strategy, much less one that works. Much less one that's also Evil, by my standards anyway.

Evil Standards = Gently defy nature to extend harvest

Granted, that's not very Evil, but I can start wearing my Halloween costume while I perform this task, if you feel like that will more appropriately honor the Evil. Just kidding.

I think this Evil Plan has been developing steadily, but being away for four days while we had a minor heat wave in NorCal really emphasized the developing Evil. In short, I came home to find the beans nearing the top of their tepee.

I predict this guy will hit the top before the end of the month.

The same tepee that, when Bubba built it for me, I thought might be a little tall but who cares maybe we can get extra channels on the teevee with it. (The fact that we have satellite TV should be disregarded for the purposes of this particular theory.)

The race is so ON.

On the less triumphant side of things, I brought in a replacement for one of the suck-tastic Better Boy seedlings since he's showing so few signs of life that it was pissing me off that precious warm weather was being wasted on his sucking self when I could have another plant potentially growing in his hole.

Of course, when I came home with this new not-sucky replacement, I didn't have the heart to chuck Mr. I Refuse To Grow Despite Heat and Optimum Conditions, so I just planted the new not-sucky plant next to him. A little, "Why can't you be more like your big brother?" guilt, I feel, is an effective gardening method.

We'll see.

His buddy in the We Suck Vegetable Bed of Failure is starting to perk up and act like he wants to be a part of this family, so I'm leaving him be and also trying to spend some extra time encouraging him to continue on his path to righteousness. And by righteousness, I mean, The Best Tomato Sauce Ever. Yep.

I want to be the best. I really do.

And, hey, speaking of under-performers - the corn doesn't suck anymore.


We're reading above our grade-level now.

Now that I've replaced the seeds that refused to grow after two sowings with healthy seedlings, a handful of which were crushed by a wandering racoon, and covered them to protect them from future wanderings, they're doing, well, GREAT.

They look good. Like, small scary children could potentially be rustling their way through their stalks very soon, kind of good. I like that. Scary in my mini corn field. Fun times. Perhaps that will entertain me enough to distract me from the fact that I'll be lucky to have two ears of corn to rub together this season.

Again, we'll see. There's no telling what will make me lose my shit or, conversly, provide enough entertainment to warrant otherwise crappy behavior acceptable. I'm a loose cannon, folks!

Thankfully, I don't have to hold back any tears with regard to the cucumbers this year. They're very happily doing exactly what the packet promises, and so far, without any bugs to speak of. And if there were any naughty bugs (there are some good ones in there, they get to stay), I would know. I did a very intense veg bed weeding this morning and found nothing naughty to make me cry.

Of the 14 seeds I planted (7 per hill), I've left 4 per hill to go bonkers. I also caged them after the recent Night of the Racoon, which will also help them stay upright and strong when the alleged Heavy Yields begin.

Say it with me, "Pickle Chips. Pickle Chips." Alright, then.

They only love me for my fiber.

I have a new artichoke on the plant and the first one is big enough that I'm thinking we'll eat it when we get home from backpacking next week. Because that's what I need after eating dehydrated food for three days: FIBER.

You know.

If I had red stitches, MLB would want me.

For those of you keeping tabs on the #1 tomato - it's fucking huge already. When I left for Yellowstone, it was the size of a marble. When I came home, a paltry four days later, it was the size of a baseball. I'm afraid to look at it today, lest I find it the size of a basketball and have to consider the possibility of doping.

No steroids in this field, damn it.

The one million blossoms on the Meyer lemon tree are now one thousand tiny lemons. I hope that, at some point, they become somewhere in the neighborhood of a few dozen ripe Meyers from which I can contemplate making the Most Hated Dessert of All Time since I think Bubba could use some Lemon Love.

Oh! Spank me! That sounds nasty.

#1 Nasturtium. Not nasty at all.

And to end on a Not Porno note, the nasturtium have begun to bloom in all the beds, which is nice since it brings some color to the Complete Green of the vegetables and also fulfills another Evil Plan of recent years: confuse the cucumber beetles.

What the hell am I talking about? Well, according to various companion gardening resources, nasturtium repel cucumber beetles by confusing them. Specifically, with all those leaves in and around the cuke plants, they get lost and give up trying to kill your cukes.

Whether this is an accurate portrayal of events, I can't say, but if it's going to work, then I've got the ideal setup given that even *I* couldn't immediately locate my cucumber plants for the forest of nasturtium.

Thankfully, I don't give up that easily.

Can you tell what's naturtium and what's cucumber? SEE! It's hard.
Oh, and if you're interested, I'm updating the Garden Tracker with our daily harvests (mostly lettuce so far), so you can see how the Sow ---> Reap process is hashing out. So far so good. I'll let you know when we're getting close to Zero Barrier.

And if you don't know what Zero Barrier is, you haven't watched nearly enough doomsday movies. Please go rent Armageddon and come back when you can understand what the fuck I'm talking about.


  1. Wow. Those are some over-achieving beans. And don't feel bad about your corn. At least YOU didn't kill them yourself. Like I seem to be hell-bent on doing. The latest victims: some starter tomato plants that I actually BOUGHT. And then forgot to water. I think they're goners. And I spent MONEY on them. Dammit.

    And by the way? That shot of the lemon tree? That is extremely phallic. Georgia O'Keefe would be proud.

  2. Wow - I am SOOOO jealous of your garden! And MOST jealous about the tomato progress! I'm really certain, barring strange unforeseen events, my tomatoes are going IN THE GROUND this weekend - VERY exciting. Cukes and squash might be going in to! ANNNND the peppers... I can't wait to plant okra, but I want it to warm up a bit more consistently first.

    Yer gonna make lemon COOKIES and not lemon CAKE or lemon MERINGUE PIE!? Sheesh! I really thought you were gonna go the cake route.

    Thanks for the reminder about nasturtiums - I've got two flats I've started, and was thinking of tucking them in around the deck. I forgot they're so great interplanted with the cukes - so that's where most will be going!


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