Of Tomatoes and Cukes

I did it again.

Despite the twelve step program, I planted a much larger garden than I can possibly care for properly. I knew I needed to cut back. In April, I was very resolute.

  • No more than 30 tomato plants this year.
  • Four zucchini plants is plenty.
  • I live in the country. No one is going to see my autumn display of 100 multi-colored pumpkins, squash and gourds.
  • Even three growing boys cannot eat 80+ pounds of potatoes before they start to sprout.
  • Garlic is a weed. It does not need much encouragement to take over a 4X8 raised bed.
  • Dill is weed. It needs even less encouragement to take over the entire garden.

 Here is the status of my garden on July 25.

  • There were 46 tomato plants at last count. The kids will be eating lots of spaghetti sauce this winter.
  • Ten zucchini plants germinated and who am I to judge which ones should live and which ones should die?
  • The farm store was selling seeds 40% off and there were five or six types of pumpkins and squash that I have not grown before. Three pumpkin patches are better than one, right?!?
  • It would be wrong to waste all of the potatoes that sprouted. They should be planted. If each plant produces 1 1/2 or 2 pounds of potatoes….anyone have a potato gun for sale?
  • Garlic is still a weed, especially when it is fertilized and has grown thick enough to choke out the other weeds. (At least it tastes better than thistles!)
  • If you want to find the spinach, lettuce, green beans, cabbage, beets, wax beans, snap peas, shelling peas, or the carrots, just look deep into the dill patches. You might catch sight of the plants that were purposefully planted in that area.

My only saving grace is found in rolls of black plastic. I have come to depend on this to keep the weeds down and to conserve moisture. I first arrange soaker hoses and then lay out black plastic sheets. I cut holes and either plant seeds or transplant the desired garden plant. After one or two wind storms help me figure out the weak spots, I finally get them secured tightly. When I need to water, I hook up the garden hose to the soaker hoses. Note to beginners–make sure the end of the soaker hose is sticking out prominently from beneath the black plastic. Trust me, this will save lots of time looking later….

After harvest, I have to dispose of those piles of black plastic. My environmentalist tendencies frown on this part of the equation. This year, I finally found biodegradable brown paper in local stores. I have seen this in mail order catalogs in the past, but the shipping costs always made it too expensive. My resolution next year is to try this paper AND plant less. Anyone want to put Las Vegas odds on either resolution?

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