Sunday, May 2, 2010

Gardening FAIL (and accidental success)

Epic Gardening Fail
Yesterday while getting a new dishwasher installed (yay! Thank goodness we have amazing landlords) I wanted to show off my growing garden. My landlord is a bit of a gardener himself and I knew he'd appreciate seeing how well things were doing. Sadly, he told me more or less what I knew myself: everything is crazy overcrowded. We'd replaced the dead seeds with seedlings in more or less the same spaces/spacing. So while we followed the instructions on planting the seeds correctly it's implied that once your seeds take off to seedlings you thin out and transplant to other places. Well that memo was basically lost on me. I had seen that the plants were growing rather large and I could only imagine how big they'd eventually get. So that afternoon while Zoë's Dad slept (and then so did Zoë) I took it upon myself to "fix" our rows or what I thought was "thinning them out".  There's a space perpendicular from the veggie garden/rows that I'd observed in full sun one morning. At the time I'd thought to myself "that's where we could put tomato plants in the ground next year if we wanted to try that." Well I decided it'd be a great area to transplant the extra plants. So I tore out weeds/grass, chopped the roots of the poisonous looking weed growing against the fence where the garden wold be, softened the dirt, enriched the soil with compost (that I had to manhandle to get out of the composter), dig holes in the new area, dig up the plants from their previous homes, and transplant them to their new spaces. Two hours later, I was sweaty and exhausted, but my new garden area was almost done. I worked so hard on this space/project. I don't know the last time I sweat so much or so hard. (And I didn't complain! I just took a mini break, got some water, and braced myself for more work.) It was a sight to be seen: old sports shorts, a tank top, sports bra, AND my new rain boots. I'll tell you what, I didn't worry at all about bugs getting on my feet! Now dirt everywhere else ... that I wasn't able to control or stop.
When Zoë's Dad woke up I proudly showed off the new area (that he'd previously said wasn't needed and didn't want to create). It was about 2 and the fence shaded the ENTIRE area. That's right, my new veggie garden was in complete shade at 2pm and there was nothing I could do about it! I realized instantaneously that all of that work was for nothing. Apparently that space gets sun in the morning and shade (from the fence) in the afternoon. I can't test this theory just yet because I can't even see the sun today. *sigh*

Tomato Updates
While outside taking photos of my epic fail of a secondary veggie garden I figured I'd take photos to have updates for the rest of the garden. Every day (unless the forecast includes rain) I water the plants and I've started fertilizing them with organic fertilizer. Okay I've fertilized the tomatoes twice and the veggies once, but I plan on continuing to fertilize them once or twice a month, as the package instructs). Well the Ciudad Victoria currant tomatoes are growing like gangbusters!  

The eggplants and basil are thriving. The potted tomatoes, my Silver Fir Tree and my Black Seaman, seem to be doing well but not nearly as well as the other veggies/currant tomato plant. 
My one and only Black Seaman baby tomato so far

 My Silver Fir Tree and it's growing baby tomatoes.

I've noticed the last few times I've checked out the potted tomatoes that there are ant looking red bugs all over my Silver Fir Tree. I haven't done anything about them yet, beside blasting it with water to knock them off. I'm hoping they're just giant mean looking red ants. But soon if they don't go I may have to investigate them further, they may one of the many dreaded pests that plague tomatoes.  I don't see any noticeable damage but they do concern me, especially since them seem to hang out at that very spot every time I've seen them!

Success I had little to do with (aka accidental successes)
So on to the veggies/fruits in the garden. The sunflower is doing amazing, it's taller than I am! It has a baby bud on it, so in the next few weeks we'll have a sunflower. Sadly I know it'll die after that so I need to get a move on to plant more! I'm not sure where else I have enough sun and height to grow more sunflowers. But it did amazingly with rather little care and they happen to be a favorite flower of mine. So hopefully soon I'll either have more seedlings growing (or purchased) and/or seeds to try again.

The now thinned out garden is doing well. The watermelon seems to finally be thriving. I've noticed that they've started vining, if only the actual leaves for now. There's also another happy note on the watermelon. While laying down the leaves as mulch and weeding one of the watermelon seedling's got accidentally clipped leaving it with no more leaves. I marked the spot with a stick on the off chance it'd grow back. Either that seedling grew roots and has not sprouted a new bit OR the original watermelon seed finally took off. Either way I've noticed growth at the very end within a few inches of the stick and the leaves look like watermelon plant leaves. See the evidence below:
I know there's plenty of weeds/grass/clovers growing but there's also a little baby offshoot of leaves. And compared to the watermelon plant I think it's a baby watermelon seedling!

I finally planted the mystery cucumber plant from Farmer Herman and Ms. Louise from Turkey Hill Farm. Hopefully now it'll take off over the next few weeks/months and I can report what the mystery type of cucumber is.

The overall garden looks like it's doing well. But most exciting of all of the updates is that I've got a bloom! That's right, one of my squash or zuchinni plants has a bloom. (I'm not sure which it is because while planting that row I confused where what was planted.) Soon, maybe in the next few weeks I'll have an edible veggie from the garden then!!!

So there you go. A little bit of disappointment, a lot of sweat and tears, and also some happy updates.

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