Monday, July 28, 2008

Way, hey, blow the corn down!

So both Saturday and Sunday evenings ended up being rainy and windy. The rainy I'm down with, seeing as I know I live in a desert and appreciate rain, and also because if water comes from the sky, I don't have to water my garden as often. Not that I mind hauling the hose to my little patch of garden and walking to the train tracks to turn the water on and off, but it's nice to have a break every now and then. Even though it had rained, I went to check on my garden. OK, I admit that the sunshine of this morning made me forget that it had rained just a few hours before so I went to water my garden, only to find the ground sufficiently moist in and around all of my plantitas. I walked the length of my garden, even picked a zucchini that was getting a little large, and cried out with dismay when I got to the far end of my garden. I have six little rows of corn planted, and as of Saturday Morning they were all standing taller than I am, but this morning the end three rows were all laying down flat! So sad! I tried to pick them up, but having had a taste of laying down, they didn't want to exert the effort it took to stand up. So I found a rock-buddy for each lazy corn stalk. Seriously, I got a bunch of double-fist sized rocks and stood each corn stalk up, and put a heavy rock right next to each corn plant. I'll go back tonight to make sure that the corn is still upright. I have no idea if this will keep my corn up, or if bending so close to the roots has already doomed those ones, but it kind of hurt me to see my corn laying down so sad-like. Turns out white people just don't do corn-rows well. I did the best I could, promise! (The pictures here are from July 10th. Corn is still happy and tall)

So My garden is doing well, for the most part. The bugs seem to like some plants more than others. For example, the green peppers, and the beets have a few leaf-holes, but the tomatoes are pretty much untouched. The canteloupe leaves have so many holes that they look like lace, but the winter squash is healthy, and bug-unfriendly for some reason. Oh well! We're supposed to do the whole organic thing, so we're not allowed to use pesticides or inorganic fertilizer and whatnot. So I went to the gardening store a few weeks ago to see what was available. Seeing as how, months later, I realized that I should be making some attempt at fertilization. I did use compost at the beginning of the whole gardening process, so that probably helped in minimizing the damage from the lack of proper nutrients and whatnot. So I wander around the store for awhile but none of the fertalizers were labeled 'organic' so I asked one of the gardening-store guys about organic fertalizer. They gave me some flak, and went on a bit about how the inorganic stuff is so much better. I explained the whole community-garden thing, and after they couldn't convince me to sneak out at night to use the stuff they thought I should, they pointed out the bone meal and fish emulsion to me. Bone meal for phosphorous, which is good for fruit production, and fish emulsion for nitrogen for leafy greenness.

A word on fish emulsion. It is pretty nasty stuff. It's a thick unhealthy-brown liquid that smells foul. The garden store guy described it as "smelling beyond-foul. It smells as if you took a Utah Lake carp (utah lake having a reputation for being rather filthy) who had a bad case of gas, and then letting it sit in the sun for a few days before putting it in a blender. But trying my best to keep to the organic thing, I bravely purchased a little bottle of the fish gunk. I also ordered some seaweed extract stuff from Burpee's website. So I went and sprinkled some bone meal around my plants, and diluted some seaweed powder into a spray bottle and sprayed around the base of my plants, and then put a few tablespoons of fish yuck into a 5-gallon bucket which I then filled with water and poured out the base of my plants. Organic Fertilization... Check! I'm not sure that it did all that much, but I'm fairly satisfied with myself having done it, so there you go.

I have lots of baby plants: tomatoes, beets, green peppers, cucumbers, yellow squash, zucchini, ornamental squash, pumpkins, watermelons, spaghetti squash, and corn! The only things I've eaten so far have been peas, lots of yellow squash and zucchini, and a few beets. My heirloom tomatoes are doing pretty well, and my winter squash has pretty much announced it's domination of the entire garden. Lots of fun stuff will come from those vines, I'm sure.

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