All posts tagged: organic gardening

Save the grapes.

In past times the marauders took all. This year we vowed to defend against their incursion. The harbingers arrived yesterday evening, as we ate the evening meal. I gazed out the open windows and into the gardens as is my habit in weather fair and foul. The grape clusters are small this year, but numerous, and their purpling flesh glowed in the lowering sunlight. I admired their bounty and watched the leaves of the vines rustle in our summery breezes. But wait. My eyes sharpened and I peered intently. Not breezes rustling the leaves! Not breezes at all! The leaves shook and shimmied as two, no three, no! Many robins and starlings gripped the vines with tiny feet and ravaged the fruits with rapacious beaks. A fight broke out over a particularly lush patch. Wretched pillagers fighting! Over MY grapes! “They are here!” I announced to the WideEyedSpouse, “They are in the grapes!” He slewed about in his chair and gaining his feet stormed the arbor with determined strides. The winged looters fled his arrival, perching …

Green tomatoes all over the place.

Hoist with my own petard. That’s my tomato situation. Although to be fair and correct I wasn’t intending to harm anyone with my tomatoes. Ok, I might maybe have considered throwing the nibbled ones at squirrels and urban skunks so maybe I can use the petard thing. You know, I’m just going to. The healthy tomato garden. Last summer I planted five heirloom tomato plants: the garden peach and some kind of giant lumpy variety. They grew fast, blossomed well, and produced just a few incredibly aromatic, pleasantly textured tomatoes. The WideEyedSpouse and I made an event of each one because they were so few. This summer I decided on a tomato blitz. I tortured myself with descriptions of heirloom and organic varieties in the Fedco catalog. I agonized over which seeds to buy. I settled on a cherry variety, a dense purpley Cosmonaut, and the succulent yellow Garden Peach. I nurtured those seedlings under a grow light in my dressing room for months. It was inconvenient, sure, but we all dreamed of a tomato …

Thinning seedlings: I think they scream as I tear them out…

I think the baby plants scream when I ruthlessly pluck them out of the ground. I know it has to be done. It is my job as a gardener to be a creative, even divine force. The choices I make about which of the little seedlings get to swell into tastiness, into full fruit and seed producing maturity, are irrevocable. My choices shape the future of plants in my garden through pollination and seed harvesting. The lucky ones spaced properly apart for effective growing survive. The particularly lovely, big, and cheery looking guys make it. A lot of not-yet, never-will-be plants will die though, and their unique random genetic mutations die with them. It pains me every time I tug on their little bodies and feel their tiny roots rending. I have already this spring killed baby radishes, peas, tomatoes, carrots, peppers, eggplants….and it isn’t just the vegetables who get it either. Zinnias, poppies, nasturtiums, wild bergamot, calendula: no one is safe. My seedling book says that I am doing no one any favors by …