Wednesday, September 24, 2008

fall garden

We have two enormous pumpkins growing, but one of them seems to be rotting on the vine. There are several small ones too but I don't know if they'll ripen before the plant dies. Or if they’ll ripen off the vine. Really I don’t know anything about pumpkins, except that if I allow them in my garden next year they will be re-routed out through the fence as soon as they have more than three leaves. Dan says I was foolish not to know that they’d trample over all my other plants, but since our pumpkins last year were all stunted from being planted in 2” of gravel and munched on by the deer, I didn’t. I should have taken Pumpkin Circle more seriously.

I transplanted a few strawberries into the fenced-in garden so maybe next year we'll actually defy the mammals and get berries in June.* The everbearing plants are still producing but Dan is less-than-appreciative of the tiny berries. I cut up old jeans to use as mulch in the strawberry patch and they're working really well. I used large swaths of denim with slits cut in them for the plants to poke through- effective and stylish. Unfortunately, I fear that I'll need to re-do it in the spring because I doubt that all of the plants will find their way up through the same holes.

The broccoli plants are hanging on but look pretty pathetic and unlikely to produce. The tomatoes also look awful but have a lot of fruit on them; it's nice to see them surviving despite the toll a month of rain took on them.

We pulled up the basil and drafted potluck guests to pull the leaves off the stems. Dan has frozen pesto.

Cowering under the pumpkins is a plant which, despite its attack, has produced several hot peppers, which add good flavor to chili. They also, alas, burnt my hand on Sunday. Someday I’ll learn. The scarlet runner beans are still flowering. Next year I'm planting more- we like them better than green beans.

The fall carrots failed and I forgot to plant spinach. Soon I’ll put in some garlic. (I wonder if it would be safe from the mammals or if it needs to go inside the fence too. I think I’ll try outside; it’s used as a repellent after all.)

A demanded an apple yesterday so I filched a few from the ground below a neighbor’s tree. Luckily she, unlike C, is undeterred by mottled skin. We want to ask the owners of our local apple trees if we can bring ladders over to pick but haven’t had a chance yet. (There’s a public apple tree near my office with lots of good lookin’ apples on it, none of which I can reach. All the limbs within my reach have stunted fruit that look like crab apples. I’m baffled and ladderless.)

*Y’all can give me copper tape for Christmas to help me defy the invertebrates. The slugs annoy me, but as long as I consider them relatives to sandworms I can live with them. It’s when I start thinking of them as Hutts that they really piss me off. When I encountered one last week that was about the size of A’s hand, they became Hutts.

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