Monday, July 18, 2011

How Does Your Garden Grow?

The Big Max pumpkin vines threaten to overtake the entire garden plot:  but I must guard the squash with care as the critters are very fond of them.

Northern California is having a mild summer, so the tomatoes are taking their time ripening.  At least mine are. This is my first vegetable garden in ... can't remember. But everybody in Northern California does it--to distinguish ourselves from Southern California denizens who put swimming pools in both their front and back yards.

So I had to join in and am finding it an absolute delight. Also a lot of work.

The delight comes in watching your product go from small, helpless looking plants to big bold things that turn out edibles. 

And the pace is pretty swift.  Without trying to steal anything from that scene in Rear Window (where Jimmy Stewart compares the two photos of the garden to show that something grisly has been planted there) I can show you an early photo of my plot, to compare with that above.

Just about forty-five days ago, I felt I had it all under control. Silly me.
That was then ...

And this is now!

The work--as one might expect--is in the cultivation, and in protecting the product.

The pumpkins have been the biggest challenge. The vines produce a male blossom that lasts just a day and the bees must visit it and then visit the female blossom--which appears with a small baby pumpkin attached--to pollinate the squash. And all this must happen amidst the challenges of squirrels stealing the squash blossoms, bees busy elsewhere on the blackberries, birds pecking at the maturing pumpkins, and rabbits sneaking in an out for a nip.

Honestly:  sometimes I wonder how my father did it.  Did he just sit out there 24/7 with his shotgun and watering can? He was certainly determined enough to do just that. As is usual since his death, I wish I had asked him more about it.

This was a man who could do all that and still look like Cary Grant. No wonder I was a little intimidated.

Always looking natty, even with a hole in his jeans.

I spent the whole day in the garden yesterday (not looking glamorous at all, by the way), transplanting the dahlias so I could get them out of the way of my Invasion of the Body Snatchers-like pumpkin vines.  While I was out there I took a few pictures of my work in progress.

My biggest pumpkin so far: after I took this photo I covered it with wire mesh in hopes of keeping it from being nibbled at. There are two in the distance.  One of them has already been supper for somebody.

I heard a man interviewed on NPR who has written an entire book about the tomato. Even the vines have a complex and beautiful smell. 

Lots o' cucumbers.  I ate a whole one with my dinner one night and got hives on my neck so I'm going to be either making pickles or supplying the entire neighborhood!

I'm closely watching the debate in Washington about the debt ceiling--had my iPod headset on as I worked. But like most Americans I feel helpless to have any impact on it. It seems out of control.

Gardens are different. The problems are frustrating but solvable. If we could just learn to cultivate our loved ones and our country with such care.

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1 comment:

Don Meuler said...

Yard bunnies and a family of deer are keeping our yard mainly green. Most blossoms disappear as soon as they develop. I imagine planting vegetables would lead to disaster...