adventures of beck

Thursday, October 09, 2008

My First Year's Harvest

Although we've been pulling a few ripe tomatoes off, it's been mostly green in the windowsill this year. An experience gardener I know told me that this year has been bad for tomatoes. Not much early warmth in the spring, erratic irrigation, all led to tomatoes that weren't too burly here in IL. My parent's tomatoes apparently rocketed from the ground. Crazy what a difference across a GREAT Lake can make. I picked my plants this year based on... nothing? I wanted tomatoes, and I wanted orange flowers. I think I chose some kind of Better-Boy Hybrid (which, if you're a Garden Elitist, isn't cool.) Luckily, gardeners are very mellow, so they still talk to me. Heirloom tomatoes are the coolest of the cool, because you can gather the seeds. They don't look anything like store tomatoes, but they taste good. They come in tons of colors too. Hybrids can be sterile, which is very un-sustainable. The orange flowers I picked were Giant African Marigolds. I liked them because there was a LOT of orange in the picture. Turns out, Marigolds are good buddies with tomatoes, and they defend eachother's pests. Very cool. I only had one hungry rabbit(?) come after my tomatoes. I just pulled down the bunch he'd nibbled on and left it out for him. Rabbits don't even like Marigolds, I think I read. He ate a little more and then hasn't come back really. The Marigolds grew ferociously, and without much assistance. They started blooming in July? They are still going nuts. Top picture shows my ingredients for flower food. I learned it on the web: water, some Lemon Lime Soda (not diet) for sugar, and a few drops of bleach to kill bacteria. You only have to change it once a week. I never change it, and the water doesn't really get gunky even without the bleach. We'll see how it does with bleach this time. You strip the leaves off too. My guess is, so you're not sending sugar to something you don't even want to look at. (Not that I have something against leaves.) The coke bottles were for my brother- they're like 1950's version of coke packaging. But I forgot to give them to him, drank a couple, and then gave up and started using them for nifty vases.

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Anonymous Anne said...

I hope you are wearing a floral apron and gardening gloves!

10:46 AM CDT


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