April 25, 2010

Frustrated Farmers

When I was growing up, TGOO always had a garden. I think the two things I really remember with great vividness and laughter from my childhood regarding TGOO were his perpetual battles with the squirrels and his gardens.

Mom used to call him the Frustrated Farmer.

When we moved to Pensacola, their land had about a quarter acre that was fenced in with no real purpose. Every year, TGOO would rent a tiller, and he'd go out there and till the land. I will tell you now, it looked like hard dang work. Back and forth he'd go, moving that dirt with that big contraption.

And then he'd plant.

There are some funny stories about things he'd plant. For instance, I know if you plant potatoes, you'll get potatoes for the rest of your life.

It was through his gardening that I came to realize that the grocery stores only pick the vegetables that look 'just right'. They had to meet some spec code. Carrots had to be a certain size. But what I want to know is how they ever got carrots that met code, because I swear, not one of TGOO's carrots ever met it.

I don't think I EVER... EVER!... saw a 6 inch long straight carrot come out of his garden.

I think the garden had been radiated or something.

His carrots always had multiple pieces coming off, looking like legs or tripods.

And nothing tastes like a homegrown tomato.

Which brings me to my boys. This Frustrated Farmer thing must skip a generation. I don't have the urge to grow anything, but that could be because I'm growing three boys and they flat wear me out.

But my boys? Mr. T had some science project where he had to grow tomatoes, a vegetable that he loathes, but so taken was he, that he's become a tomato farmer. That is all he talks about... his tomato plants.

Yesterday I was in Home Depot buying flowers for my garden. The older boys need a family project for a badge they have to earn for Eagle Scout and my garden was the perfect opportunity.

As Ringo and I wove our way through the plant section he found these green stakes that help keep tomato plants upright. "Mom! Mr. T NEEDS these for his plants! They're falling over, they're so heavy with tomatoes."

And so we bought this fencing contraption that he and his brother promptly set about to putting together, the minute I pulled in. Mr. T's tomato plants have been saved.

But as we bought MY flowers, I was coerced into buying... blueberry plants for Ringo.

And at dinner last night, the big topic was what else could be planted that would be eaten. Mr. T and Ringo were on a mission.

Rutabagas were ruled out. I don't know what to do with them and I don't have the time to learn. They didn't want a one crop wonder, so broccoli and carrots were ruled out, as was lettuce.

I came home today to find my side yard has turned into a garden. I now have blueberry bushes, strawberries, tomatoes, cucumbers, zuchini squash, yellow squash, canteloupe, and yellow watermelon.

And they are all planted amongst each other, so I'm wondering about this whole cross pollination thing. I strongly suspect that the cucumbers are not going to be cucumbers, but something morphed.

We shall see.

They are excited. I'm in it for the ride. If we get anything edible out of it, I consider it a bonus.

Stay tuned. I feel wars with bugs, rabbits, and birds coming on. We don't exactly live in a bubble...

I'm sure pictures will follow...

Posted by Boudicca at April 25, 2010 08:54 PM

Rutabagas are for making Pasties. (cf Pastie Recipes care of Michigan Tech in the far north part of the UP)

Posted by: The Thomas at April 25, 2010 11:11 PM

Take a look at my post today about It has Grown. Something your boys will need to look out for those on the tomatos. Along with mildew and mold. There is spray stuff for the mold and mildew. I also suggest they feed them every couple of weeks. With all the rain, not much nutrients stay in the ground here. I love growing vegies even if more wild animals get it than me!

Posted by: vwbug at April 26, 2010 05:00 AM

Some of my best memories are of working with my grandmother in her garden, since she always planted a ton of stuff. Corn, peas, tomatoes, watermelon ... Of course, she did all the hard work, so it is easy for me to romanticize about it!

We haven't had a garden in years, largely because we know we will have to fend off creatures if we do plant one. The last one we planted, when we lived in Idaho, was a good one, though we had to plant the peas and corn three times before it took. We found out that a mama pheasant and her babies would visit early in the morning and walk down the rows with the corn and peas, chicks in tow. They ate the shoots.

Posted by: PeggyU at April 26, 2010 10:05 AM

For the blueberry bushes - you will want to get some sort of fine netting to put over them or the birds will eat all the berries before they have a chance to mature to the picking stage.

We have 2 blueberry bushes in our yard. Every year they have nice little berries on them and every year those same berries are gone - every last blessed one - before they get near the picking stage. I'm like you - no interest in gardening - so I don't bother to try and net them, but I thought I should let you know so Ringo can look into it.

Oh yeah - Mr. T may like growing green beans too - they are truly excellent fun to grow. They work really well as a potted plant too. I got wild and crazy one year and grew green beans in a pot on the patio of our condo. They were great, but I wasn't too interested in doing it more than once. Heh.

Posted by: Teresa at April 26, 2010 12:21 PM

we have quite the garden.

nothing tastes as good as home-grown!

Good luck to your boys.

Posted by: wRitErsbLock at April 26, 2010 05:56 PM

The Thomas is quite right!


Posted by: Quality Weenie at April 27, 2010 09:20 AM

I plant tomatoes, green beans, cucumbers, sweet basil, and lima beans. Growing tomatoes in the South is much different than in the Midwest. I get white flies (there's a spray for that) and yellow leaf rot (I have to add bonemeal to the soil for calcium). Back in St. Louis, all I had to do was plant 'em and stake 'em. And yeah, there ain't nothing like a homegrown tomato.

You're prolly gonna have zucchini and yellow squash coming out your ears. That's why I don't grow them anymore.

Posted by: Denny at April 27, 2010 04:36 PM

Our blueberries have survived the birds...we get several 'crops' off them as long as we keep picking them.

Mmm...need to go check on the bush now. Craving some blueberry muffins now.

Posted by: Mrs. Who at April 27, 2010 09:04 PM