Garden update

April 20, 2017

Pea vines, growing apace.

Well, we’re all duly planted and mulched, some herbs replaced that I, ahem, got a little over-enthusiastic with on fertilizer, and now we can sit back and wait for (more) growth.

The tomatoes are coming along nicely, as are the peas and lettuce and cucumbers. Cabbages and carrots and radishes are a bit slower. Today, I planted the remaining three rows in the fenced garden: Lima beans in one, watermelon and canteloupe in one, and yellow squash, zucchini and eggplant in one. That’s all the planting but for the late stuff — pole beans, okra — which will go in after the lettuce, carrots, radishes, and cabbage are done.

Tomato plants, surrounded by a heavy layer of straw. Die, grass and weeds, die!

The straw is designed to keep the weeds and bermuda smothered out. I am not fond enough of a hoe I want to keep a close acquaintance with the business end of one, at least not until we get all the bermuda rhizomes killed out of the garden plots. Plus, in a double bonus, it can be tilled in at the end of the season, after it’s pretty much decayed, a second layer added, and that left to overwinter. In turn, THAT can be tilled in next year, along with some manure, if I can get some brought down here, and I ought to have some good, rich soil to start out fresh in.

Salad on the hoof; butter lettuce, my favorite

Speaking of the straw: I had looked for straw at Lowe’s and Home Depot, but they didn’t have any. Happens a friend had posted a photo from their farm nearby the other day, and lo and behold , they were advertising straw for sale. So I called her and said, “Hey, I need straw.”

“How much do you need?” she asked.

Well, hell, I don’t know. Here’s the space I need to cover. You tell me. I think it wound up being about a dozen bales. Her nephew and his buddy showed up yesterday afternoon to deliver it, commenced to spread it, which I did not expect them to do, and then refused to let me pay for either the straw or them for spreading it.

I paid ’em anyway.

Let me just tell you ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em — if you’re ever tempted to despair about the worthlessness of today’s youth (much as our parents’ and grandparents’ generations likely despaired about us, you come up here and let me introduce you to these kids. There are no better kids in the world. I do not doubt they drive their aunt and uncle to distraction from time to time; kids do that. But Jerry and Frankie Gilliam, y’all have raised some fine, fine young adults there.

So after I did that, and staggered back inside to get a good drink of ice water and sit under the fan for a bit — it got HOT out there today, I am here to tell you; there was sweat dripping on the ground! — I decided I needed a little sitting/reading/coffee-drinking nook where I could enjoy the garden. So I gritted my teeth and took out for the dreaded WalMart (which isn’t bad if the only place you’re going is the garden center) and spent 30 bucks on a couple of plastic chairs and a plastic table, which went into a nice shady little corner behind my storage shed, next to the fence and the greenway that backs up to my house.

That will be where you ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em can find me, mornings, until it gets too suffering hot early in the day to sit outside.



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