Friday, May 28, 2010

Garden Update

 Roma Tomatoes

"One board, one nail, one bag, one rail..." -Jimmy Hodges, The Mustard Seed.

The garden is coming along.  I still give Jimmy the credit for my seeing it through.  Mike, the guy with the dirt wagon met our gate with his trailer.  That's the last we have seen of Mike.  But Lowes has delivered the last of the dirt via 3 pallets (75 bags each) on fork lifts that are driven right to the garden.  Andy, our tenant let me use his truck to pick up some bags.  So adding peat and composted material to top soil has been the best way to do this. Below is Bob with the lucky family machete opening bags of topsoil.

Andy's Truck & Bob's Machete
Last weekend I was feeling particularly triumphant because I had gotten all but 2 of the 8 beds filled and had planted green chili and tomatoes.  50 mile an hour winds blew the daylights out of them and they were laying on their sides that evening.  So I hooked up my orange mechanic's light and worked until 1am staking over 50 plants.  Mind you, I had about 8 stakes.  I cut up anything and everything we had for stakes. It was a fishes and loaves kinda story.  In the end, they all had stakes.  I don't really know how. And I don't care!  The wind continued for another day and half.  The plants are all still alive, but they have been whipped by the wind. 

This week I finished planting my original  two beds with pumpkins, squash, melons.  I have made a seat and will put trellis over the seat to make a small enclosure.  Abby our dear 3 year old friend will be the "pumpkin queen" on her throne made of pumpkin, and squash vines.  What kid doesn't like to hide under the vines?   Now to build the trellis over the wooden seat.  The vines will grow quickly, and I will need to stay ahead of them.
 Above the original 2 beds with peas and squash. Future home of "the Pumpkin Queen"
Strawberries under shade cloth and tomatoes

So now my challenge is the heat, altitude, and shade.  I realized that at 5,000 feet I need to provide my little sprouts with some shade.  It will be too much.  I quickly made a cover for the strawberries that were getting burned to a crisp.  Hopefully I can get this done in time.  I would like larger pieces of the cloth over the top.  But that will take some real engineering.  I designed some individual bed roll out shade.  Going to make one this weekend.  We'll see if it works.  If those winds come up...and they will, I need to avoid becoming the only sail in the desert.  It's always something, isn't it? :-)

Currently I have the following planted: mild-hot green chili, sweet peppers of green, red, and yellow, banana peppers, roma tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes, chives, asian eggplants, swiss chard, italian thin string beans, bush beans, arugula, lettuce, radishes, beets, strawberries, and herbs.  This week pickling cucumber, magic purple beans, and scarlet runner beans, lettuces, crenshaw, watermelons and more herbs go in.  I am mostly working at night as sun and I are not getting on well.  It's cool, and the crickets are out, and the full moon helps light my way too!

We have had a clutch of Phoebe eggs in the arched trellis hatch. All 4 babies are almost full grown.  They have decide they like our back yard.  It has lots of water for them to play in.  They sit on top of the shed and Mama flies in food.  During the morning and early evening they put on arial shows for each other (and me and the cats). They nap on top of the rubbermaid shed in the afternoon.  I hope they continue to live with us, in spite of the droppings!
Phoebes chicks waiting for Mama to fly in lunch.
So Jimmy: I've done it (with help from many) with your guiding spirit.  Summer is here!

Thanks for reading. I'm still amazed that you do.