|The Garden, Year 2 : Back for More
||[Mar. 17th, 2018|08:58 pm]
The garden beds are getting another go-round this year. The mint, oregano, and rosemary made it through the winter and are our senior plants this year. I assume they organize meet-and-greets for the new plants, dispense wisdom, and talk behind everyone else's back about how things were better back in the day. Thyme and sage have joined the herb section this year, and while the thyme has been integrating well, the sage sits around hating the world but refusing to die because I dunno, I guess it enjoys being miserable. I've never known how to keep sage happy.|
Last year I dropped stupid cash on the fancy soil, and when I went back this year to ask about mulch, the guy was like, "Oh, but you bought the Happy Frog soil last year?"
"Well you shouldn't need mulch then. As long as you kept feeding the soil all year."
"You fed it with the molasses. Right?"
"...Oh. Yeaahhhh. Yup."
"Great, well then that'll hold the water and you won't need mulch."
"Uh... awesome. Then. Thanks."
(I have not fed it shit. Though honestly, this soil + the compost is already so much better than anything else I've worked with, I have a feeling it'll be fine if I don't shell out another fifty bucks for replacement stuff.)
I got some Swiss Chard in early, and it's been pretty low-maintenance so far. Chard is nice to have around—I don't like making a whole salad out of it like I would with say, spinach, but it's convenient when I want greens to add to a pasta dish, stir fry, or soup. And when I start to notice that the heat is too much and it's done for the year, i can harvest the whole things and sauté them down to a manageable volume.
I also picked up some beet seeds and threw them into a couple of the beds back when I put in the chard. And like, I like beets. But I didn't expect as many of these things to germinate as they did. And now I'm morally obligated to keep these dozens of beet seedlings alive, until such time as they produce beets and then I have no idea what to do with fifty beets.
I've made a grave error here.
(ETA: pickling beets could be a thing?? I am saddened to learn that the awesome pink pickled vegetables we used to get at Zankou Chicken in LA were actually turnips with beet juice added, but I bet pickled beets would be cool too.)
And then there are the headliners, the prima donnas: the tomatoes. Despite my complaints last year about tomatoes being damn dirty heartbreakers, apparently I decided they were worth it on the whole, since we've got another half-dozen plants this year. The memories of the "Purple Cherokee" heirloom tomato loomed so strongly in my mind that I got two of them this year instead of one. And then we've got three little varieties (since they're hardier in general) and one "Brandywine" heirloom, which is a long shot, but if successful, will make giant pink tomatoes that are the stuff dreams are made of. And the plants were all like two bucks each, so even if they all bomb, oh well boo hoo try again next year.
I don't think they'll all bomb though. Not least because I learned some things last year that I plan to put into practice:
1.) Cage these suckers earlier than you think you need to, and keep them on the straight and narrow. I thought I was on my caging game last year, but everything still ended up sprawling into the grass where it was much more likely to get eaten by critters.
2.) Speaking of critters, I'll be on the lookout for baby stinkbug broods and will be much more ruthless about killing them. My "knock them into soapy water" ninja technique has improved since last year.
3.) Be consistent about watering. Tomatoes complain about that kind of thing emphatically, in the form of cracked fruit.
4.) Be proactive about making fried green tomatoes with the unfortunate souls who aren't going to make it to ripeness.
All this being said, they'll probably fall prey to aphids (ugggghhh aaaapphhiiids) or some disease I haven't heard of yet, but maybe we'll get a few edibles out of them before they do.