Wednesday, June 11, 2008

June 11, 2008

Well, I was thinking tonight was going to be a very short post because I had nada to talk about, but funny how a trip to the garden sparks ideas.  Before I begin, is anyone else shocked that we only have 10 days left before summer and we never had spring?!

First off, today I ran into the tomato crisis.  I went to Subway and ordered a sandwich. I'm picky about veggies, which you know if you've read my blog from the beginning (aside from the onions, I planted only what I eat).  So when I go to Subway, I get lettuce, tomato and cucumbers only.  Today, because of tomatoes had company over (their names were Sam and Ella), I only got lettuce and cukes.  Even with bland tomatoes, the sandwich was lacking.  On the way back to the office, I had two thoughts.  The first was how lucky I was to start a veggie garden this year so I can have totally safe tomatoes and don't have to worry about my family getting sick.  The second thought was a bit more out there.  I've watched the Dervaes Path to Freedom videos again of late, and what I thought today was that I shouldn't worry about not having tomatoes.  Unlike Judy, my plants don't even have the start of fruit on them, let alone tomatoes ready to harvest.  As my buddy Ron said, one generation ago, if a veggie wasn't in season, you didn't eat it.  And tomatoes are not in season (here anyway). 

Well, that was going to be it for my post tonight.  But I was reading the new comments today while my kids were taking baths (playing at that point).  Seems both Toasty and Tim from my area (well climate at least for Tim) are already harvesting peas. And I know for a fact that I planted peas right around the time that Toasty did.  Now my peas are nothing to complain about. They're nearly 2 feet tall (only get 3 feet high) and are flowering, but I'm not harvesting peas.  I even went out to the garden to closely examine them to make sure I wasn't missing green pea pods against green leaves.  I wasn't. /sigh 

While I was out there. I thought about how badly the peas were crowding the bean squares.  Look at the pic I took yesterday...

They're more in the bean squares than in the pea squares. What you can't see is that more than half of the back side of the pea row is open and bare.  They're growing toward the light.  We can't have that. It's not fair to the poor beans.  So I broke out my spool of twisty ties (thanks GardenGirl for introducing me to them).  I love how you can make the twisty tie as long as you want.  So I pushed the stalks back against the trellis one more time.  This time however instead of bouncing back out, I tied them to the trellis (loosely).  Here's the after picture...

Subtle change, but notice you can actually see the string separating the squares, hehe.  And poor beans, they're even more stunted than they would be with just bad seeds and crappy weather.  Speaking of poor beans.  Look at them close up.

Have I mentioned that I have planted all four squares with 9 indoor-germinated bush beans multiple times and this is all I've got to show for it. I don't even know if I have enough seeds to finish planting out four SF if I get 100% germination inside and 100% sprouting outside, which I haven't even got 50% so far.  Grrr.

In contrast, my pole beans have germinated well and sprouted over 80%. In addition, they've done exactly what Judy said they would. They got their two big leaves and sat there for weeks, doing nothing.  Then they started to shoot up.  Not nearly as fast as they would if it were actually spring, but look at this...

See, it is holding on to the trellis!  Sure I put it there, but it's holding on and hopefully won't let go. Here's to hoping it will climb the string and touch the sky!

Well, today was supposed to be the start of three good weather days. Today was crappy. Now they're saying tomorrow will be nice and that's it.  I STILL have not been able to mow, so I worked really late at work today so maybe I'll take off an hour early and mow. 

Finally, my mother's been on a jelly craze of late.  It helps that both familys (hers and mine) are completely out of jam and jelly so nobody's getting PB&J sandwiches.  So she's been digging in her deep freezer and pulling out all sorts of berry juices, frozen berries and renderings.  Last night she canned strawberry jelly (never had that before, only incredible strawberry jam), blackberry jelly and plum jelly (both from my yard last year).  I think it's absolutely amazing that even with slim pickings on plums last year we can feed two families PB&J sandwiches for a year!  It's been two weeks since my last PB&J, so I know what I'm having for lunch tomorrow, hehe.

Funny that both my brother and I have independently gone to my mother in the last two weeks and asked her to impart her preserving knowledge on us.  As boys, even cooks, we didn't have any interest growing up in canning. Now we both want to learn.  Isn't that cool!  It's going to be fun!  I can't wait to have the option to can tomatoes, beans etc. rather than just freeze them.

Enjoy your garden!


  1. Jamming is really easy. :) I watched my old landlady do it with plums once, and decided I could do that, too. Just follow the instructions on a packet of pectin (or watch Alton Brown). Easier than a lot of things, IMO, esp. if you have that $20 canning set of clamps and funnels and such. Most of the problem is cleaning up all the sticky drips.

    I think your peas won't be far away! I had blossoms for only about a week or two before I noticed I had pods.

  2. Remember, I sprouted my peas indoors (only until a root formed) and planted them in the ground around February 15th. Much earlier than you did I think. Were I to do it again, I would put a plastic sheet over them until they sprouted and grew a bit. Like I do for my corn. Cuz the peas took like 3 weeks to sprout after being set into the ground.
    On the other hand, my pole beans (Helda from Territorial Seeds) are 9 feet tall and have started blooming. Yes, I do mean 9 feet tall. They have performed better than I could have imagined in this eternally frigid weather. I did start them in 4-inch pots indoors then moved to my cold frame until they were 12-18 inches tall. 29 out of 30 seeds germinated. No insect, bird or slug damage. Transplanting was smooth and trouble-free. I seriously wondered about the wisdom of doing this procedure with beans but it worked out so well I will never direct-sow a bean again if I can help it.

  3. Wow Tim, your pole beans from Territorial are 9 feet tall, mine are nine INCHES tall! That's major different growth. I doubt it's just the variety. I guess I won't worry and just be thankful they're not dying.