About The Country Wife Blog

Friday, July 13, 2012

Hot for Gardening

It is July 12.  Memorial Day weekend is the traditional start of gardening when planting here in Vermont is likely to avoid frosts.  This year, again, we had an early spring and people were already eating lettuce, spinach, and other goodies by Memorial Day.  We were not.

When Bob was gone on his Appalachian Trail hike in early June I went out to the growbox to see what I could do.  There were so many weeds and so much brush coming up through the hardware cloth (or whatever it is called that is guaranteed to prevent weeds from coming up), that I could not do a thing with the garden.

Finally the stars aligned and we had tools, equipment, and personnel all in the same place at the same time and yesterday Bob roto-tilled up the grow-box.  If we were really smart we would have thrown on the Mittleider fertilizer, roto-tilled in into the soil, let the garden rest a week, then roto-tilled again, but...I just could not be that patient so out I went today in the brutal heat of mid-day after Bob left to help Ben with his house today.

Growbox rototilled and ready for PACC  5' by 30'

Last year I had a very simple tomato support system, but it failed due to the fact that Jacob Mittleider used 4 by 4 or 6 by 6 posts and we did not have the money nor did I have the expertise nor the strength to do it myself added to which I was stupidly too proud to ask for help...SO, I made my own duplicate system using PVC pipe.  It did not work, however,  I only spent about $17.00 on the parts.  What a bust.  Oh well. Live and learn.  Hopefully I have learned.

So this year I decided to use the same parts to do a different sort of tomato support system.  My thought is that it is important to put in the supports before the tomatoes go in...so I did pound these uprights in with a sledgehammer to the best of my ability.  The string support will follow later if the tomatoes make it up a few inches.

Rebar and PVC uprights from last year's disaster plus drip hose that also failed last year when I forgot to shut off the hose and drained the well dry.  Dumb.  Note attached to my pocket as I type to remember to shut off the water in another half hour.
There are actually two rows of projected produce---about 24 plum tomato plants and a row that includes zucchini squash, collards, and green onions.  Judging from the packets, there is some likelihood that the zucchini have time enough to produce a harvest before the frost.  The collards may possibly make it as well as they are supposed to be "improved in flavor after a frost".  That remains to be seen. (I fell in love with collards in North Carolina last year...even without the pork added to the cooking process.)  The green onions need 4 months to grow to harvest.  I am sure that won't happen but maybe they will be mature enough that I can bring some into the house and put them in the planter that has one benighted tomato plant in it on the porch currently.

North end of tomato row where tomatoes are planted about a foot apart and which I hope will have begun to stand upright by next Tuesday when I need to go out and put the Mittleider fertilizer on them again...twice a week.  If they are upright, I will start in with the string supports at that time. If not, I will wait until next Friday.

Having sat here at the computer for half an hour now my heart has stopped pounding like a jackhammer,  the blood has stopped shrieking through my veins, and the water has stopped dripping into my eyes. Now the heart is just thump, thump, thumping loudly, the blood is swish, swish, swishing at a somewhat breakneck speed, and the dripping has stopped and I am just soaked from the skin out.  Working this body hard in the heat of the day has repercussions!

Really I was only out there in the garden for a little over an hour and not working fast...just plodding along but  I WAS wearing my Bug Baffler which is black, and keeps the bugs at bay but is very hot.  When I came back into the house I drank a full glass of water THROUGH the Bug Baffler in about 3 seconds flat.  Since I am feeling a little headache-y and nauseous I think I will go pour in some more water and maybe eat a couple green olives then lie down.

Happy harvesting to all you gardeners who put your gardens in at the appropriate time.  One tip I am reminding myself is that before the snow flies, or certainly before the ground freezes, I want to yank up all the garden refuse, compost it, and roto-till the garden, really putting it to bed properly.

We will see...

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