Monday, September 3, 2012

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Genocides and Manduca Sexta

It is the time of year when the Tobacco Hornworms via for my tomatoes.  These creatures are kind of amazing and I do have some guilt when I dunk them into the soapy water jars of death.  But they eat my tomatoes.  Nobody eats my tomatoes unless they have my permission.

Tobacco and Tomato Hornworms become Hummingbird Moths.  So I don't eliminate all of them.  But if I were to not do anything, the voracious eaters would decimate my entire garden.  They will, left unchecked completely strip a tomato plant of all leaves and fruits leaving only pathetic stems.

It is lush here in Maine this time of year.  The air is thick and dense but green and vibrant nevertheless.  It is the conjunction of Hornworms and the air quality that remind me of Thomas Disch's book "The Genocides." I know that I am on rather shaky ground in my hornworm elimination...most poignantly after reading this lovely little book.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Onions, Cabbages, Beets- Oh My

 Before I talk about onions, cabbages or beets...I need to gush on about how much I love tomatoes.  I love them.  I love the way they smell.  I love the way they grow.  I love tomato flowers.

I love to eat them raw, right off the vine- naked.  Pop them in my mouth and eat them.  I love them prepared other ways as well.  But the point is I love them.

This year I have some good non hybrid seedlings going.  I transferred them into Ball jar cloches today so that they could have a little bit more room.  They seem quite happy.  I had to refrain from looking at them all day.

I also have a mess of squash transferred into larger pots as well.  They are quite happy about the extra leg room.  These seeds are also non hybrids.  I love making zucchini bread and butter pickles.  I will have to wash out my Ball jars really well.

Finally- also in the greenhouse is a new crop of Mizuna (mustard greens).  These are a very fun and spicy veg.  My daughter is prone to going out in the greenhouse and picking off clumps of mizuna and eating it.  She loves it and it grows right back.  Yay for that.

 As I said in a previous post, we usually wait to plant the big garden until just after the full moon in May.  This year has been very warm.  So we took a chance.

We have cultivated four rows of heartier items today: early peas, beets, collards- all in seed form.
We'll see if they do well and if there are frost free nights between now and- well- summer.  It's kind of exciting and was a lovely day off with my husband.

We also planted a row of onions and cabbage starts.  Last year both of these crops were still going in the big garden into November.  With this knowledge we think they will be fine even if we get a frost.

We also experimented with black landscape cloth. This should keep the roots warm and minimize weeds.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Tabla Rasa

Garden Plot
April 18, 2012

 Our big garden plot is roughly 35 feet by 70 feet (I think.)  This is the size of our house lot when we lived just outside of Seattle.  This summer will be the fifth summer we have cultivated this plot.  We're planning to put a greenhouse in that patch of grass in the picture above.  (stay tuned on that.)

Usually we plant the garden just after the full moon in May.  This is usually when the frost is gone.  However, I think this year may do away with that wisdom.  We have had very warm weather here and I don't believe there has been a frost for over a week...making it about a month ahead of schedule.  I might take a chance and plant the garden soon...maybe.  But this early warm weather is scary.

Not so scary is my favorite apple tree.  We canned some apples from this tree last summer and I think today might be a good day to make a pie.

What I love about this tree is the defiance of gravity.  She bends down but never quite touches the ground.  When we moved here in 2007 she was dieing.  There were no apples for about the first two years...(well the second fall there were some apples but...) Then for the past two years this tree has gone crazy with apple making.  And she is rewarded for her defiance.  They are the best apples of all the trees.  (Ssshhh, don't tell the other apple trees as I like them too.)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Apocalyptic Tomatoes?

July 24, 2011

August 23, 2010
 It's cloudy out this morning but warm for mid April in Maine.  As my husband left for work he said it was like summertime.  This worries me but perhaps we'll have tasty tomatoes when the world heats up.

Two summers ago we had lovely tomatoes.  So many in fact that I was okay sharing with the tobacco hornworms.  Well, I only shared some.  Hornworms are interesting.  They are pesky.  But once they change they are lovely hummingbird moths. 

I use some of them as live models and make prints of them.  Then I let some have my tomatoes.  I figure it's a fair trade.  Maybe a little better for me as I still get to see them as hummingbirds in masquerade.

Golden Hornworm