Since it was so nice this afternoon and I didn't have anything better to do, I drove up to my Big Garden to bring some tomato cages and stakes to support what will hopefully be some large plants before too long. I also took a little inventory to make sure that the stuff I planted is indeed coming up, and that potato bugs weren't eating my plants to death.
So here is a picture of the area where people rent their plots.
My garden is about halfway down the field. Its a bit of a hike from the car when you have a lot to carry, but its not too bad, especially when you have something to cart your stuff in.
Yup, that would be a sled.
When I first got to the garden, my next door garden neighbor was working in her plot. Her name is Peggy. I only know this because other people have said "Hey Peggy! How's it going?" She seemed very friendly to these people and I thought she must just be a warm fuzzy kind of person. I was wrong. She immediately came over to me, pointed at 2 of my tomato plants and said, "Are these tomatoes?" I told her that they were, which I'm sure she already knew. She then pointed to her garden and told me that those tomato plants were going to spread over into her garden and that she had stuff planted "there" (at this point, she pointed to some dirt) and said my tomatoes would interefere with her garden.
Here is a picture of the offending tomato plants. The plants immediately next to the twine are 4 o'clocks (which are flowers). The two tomato plants are in cages. She told me that the tomatoes will grow to be 6 feet in diameter. I couldn't believe it. In all my life, I've never grown a 6 foot diameter tomato plant. I said, "You mean this tomato plant will grow that big?" She then asked me if I'd ever gardened before. (I wanted to punch her, because she obviously was very condescending... and I hate that...) She said that things in this garden grow very large. I assured her that they were in cages and wouldn't infringe upon her garden. Besides, if they do, I can pull them out. Its not like I'm hurting for tomato plants or anything. The thing is, everyone that gardens here is very, very friendly, and very, very helpful. Except Peggy. She kind of stormed off in a huff. The whole exchange left me feeling badly. Maybe I should just pull those two plants out and call it good. But then, I'm kind of stubborn and would like to prove her wrong. So maybe I'll just leave them there.
This is Peggy. I'm sure I'll be referring to her in the future so... (and I really didn't set out to take a picture of her backside... it just happened that way.)
Anyhoo,here are some random pictures of my garden:
The top left picture is of either watermelon, squash, or cantaloupe. I can't be sure. Yes, I kept a record, but out of context, I can't be sure what this is. Same for the top right picture. The middle left picture is of rutabagas. Yay rutabagas! Next to that is cabbage. So far so good on the cabbage. I haven't noticed any snails yet, but if I do, I'll sprinkle some egg shells around the base of each plant to prevent the snails from climbing up. The bottom left picture is of basil. It looks a little pale and sickly. Hopefully it'll take off soon so I can make pesto. The bottom right picture is of radishes, I believe.
Oh hey, there's another picture of Peggy. Right between the tomato cages there. Maybe she's a lovely woman and we just got off to a bad start. Hmmm. We'll see.
And here we have a hoof print. Splendid. Guess I'd better look at protecting my stuff. I already have a tomato casualty. See below:
Again, I do have a few plants to spare so I'm not heartbroken about this....yet.
And now, some pictures of other people's gardens.
This is someone's cucumber trellis. Very cool.
What the heck?
And now, a science lesson
In every garden, there are certain pests that are extra-hard to control. Especially when you aren't allowed to use pesticides. Some of the worst are squash bugs and potato bugs. I have to wonder, where do these little buggers live if I don't happen to plant squash or potatoes? I mean, do they zoom through the air, spy a potato plant below and come in like a kamikaze? Or do they live in the soil? I should know this; I'm a science teacher. Must've been absent that day....
Anyway, last week I noticed that there were some potato bugs doing unmentionable things on my eggplants. Right there in broad daylight! In fact, they had eaten a great deal of the leaves off the eggplants and left some souveniers behind: eggs. (And you know what bugs do to produce eggs. Bug porn. Yikes!) So I squished those potato bugs and scraped their eggs off from the undersides of the leaves. Well today, there were potato bugs on my tomatoes. Apparently, potato bugs are dyslexic or something because clearly, tomatoes are NOT potatoes. And there were eggs.
This is not a great picture because you can't really see the bug, but he's orangey striped. And below him on the stem of the tomato, are his eggs. Or maybe I should be saying "her". Must have missed that day of school as well.
Here are the larvae. This was someone else's potato plant, mine haven't even sprouted yet. But aren't they gross? The adult bugs are crispy when you squish them but these are just gooey. And then you get orange goo on your hands. Ick. And can you see the damage they've done to the leaves? Its only going to get worse for this plant. I hope someone comes along and squishes these little guys. It won't be me!
Its pretty exciting to visit my garden and see the changes that are going on. Yesterday, there was no evidence that I had planted carrots and today, I can see their little grassy tops poking through the dirt. Nature amazes me!