All posts tagged: vegetable gardening

Trash picking for winter lettuce.

It’s more complicated than that title makes it seem. With some in-between formative steps. The WideEyedSpouse and I walk the Useless Little Black Dog and the Corgi for several blocks through the neighborhood every evening. This is terrible in the winter, mostly. It is nice in the summer, generally. It is ALWAYS great on trash day. Because we live in a neighborhood of historic homes filled with epic volumes of historic junk, someone is always prying something out of the basement or off of the house. I scored a china cabinet that reeked of basement mildew two years ago. It is now my garden tool shack in the garage. Elegant, efficient, free. From Spode to Spades. (I know, right?) The trick is to get there quick. Super quick because as I’ve noted before, Buffalo has an active trash picking culture. My amateur attempts are pathetic compared to the experts. We moved into this house and set up the garden four summers ago. I’ve been waiting for someone in the neighborhood to replace their generously sized …

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 …

Twenty things I could have bought with the $20 I lost yesterday.

1. 2,000 pieces of penny candy. Two thousand. 2. 20 minutes of satellite phone time to talk to the Spouse from the remote fieldwork location. 3. 2 dozen Paula’s Donuts. That’s 24 items of pure deliciousness. 4. Two tickets to a Buffalo Bisons game. 5. 20 Mega Millions lottery tickets. 6. A shovel. 7. 6 bags of Family Size potato chips. 8. Gas for a scenic drive to Olcott and back, with a stop at Reids Hot Dogs. 9. A really big bale of toilet paper. 10. Contact lens solution, pickles, potato chips and fair-trade coffee at Target: the intended purpose. 11. A dog chair. 12. A dog license renewal. 13. A marriage license (17 years ago). 14. 180 dukie bags for dog walks. 15. 2 completely drinkable bottles of wine, or one wine-in-a-box (Equivalent of 4 bottles – stays fresh for a month. Just saying.). 16. 2 6-packs of quality beer. 17. Almost 3 months of Netflix. 18. Approximately 60 showers, 8 dishwasher runs, 5-10 loads of hot water laundry (whites and dog beds) …

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 …