Friday, October 16, 2009


Call me the intermittent blogger.

Actually, I thought up that title a couple weeks ago but was so uninspired I couldn't bring myself to post. I'm less uninspired now, as opposed to more inspired, which might be an overstatement.

In July, I sing the praises of Early Girls, my very favorite tomato. By October I can hardly be bothered to pick them. The squirrels apparently feel the same way.

I have harvested many pounds, though. The last two batches became slow-roasted tomato sauce, just because it's easy. I discovered if you forget about the sauce in the oven, what you get is more like slow-roasted tomato paste, which is pretty, um, intense.

The squash gets big points for beauty.

I've never eaten a Lakota. Considering the poundage, I hope I like them.

Late-summer blues isn't the only thing sapping my gardening energy right now. We've done a lot of big-ticket work lately, like thinning and topping the 30-plus-foot bamboo to allow more sunlight.

That apartment building is such an eyesore, and it feels strange to thin our optical barrier. The difference in the garden is noticeable, though, and that means more to eat. We have our priorities in order.

The other big change is the wisteria, which grows vigorously over an archway of three cement-footed 4x4s. The original idea was that it would form a kind of doorway leading from one "room" of the yard to another.

The effect, while lovely, was also sun-blocking, so off came the branches, out came the 4x4s, and up came the tree.

It now lives near the remaining bamboo closer to the fence. Since it stretches toward the light, we're hoping it'll reach back toward its original site, again forming that lovely archway, but without stealing light from the garden. I love the carpet of lavender blossoms underneath in the spring. Fingers crossed.

The result of all this work is that the yard currently looks something like this:

We have lots of 20-plus-foot lengths of bamboo to build with---heck, maybe we can refloor the house---and a lot of cleanup to do.

The summer garden is slowly ending. I've pulled up all the squash, saluting the ridiculously productive zucchini and scallopini as I went, except for the butternut that has three tiny, probably ill-fated squash on it. I pulled most of the beans, but couldn't bear to cut the one that's still blossoming and climbing the apricot tree.

And finally, to the planting. Yippee! So far I've planted about 80 onion sets and transplanted 50 or 60 spinach plants, which is what dragged me out of my gardening malaise, I believe.

And after Kevin's egg joke, it was gratifying to return from a weekend away to find this:

And lastly, a surprise treat in the harvesting basket:

That's Dodger, our pest control. I've been on him to get the rats that have been scuttling around outside our bedroom window, belittling his paltry mouse offerings. I think he finally took it to heart, because last night he showed up with two startlingly large bite marks under his arm, and this morning we're off to the vet.


Ribbit said...

Awww...poor baby, but those squash look awesome. Ah, light...I'm thinking of taking over the empty lot across the street. More developed neighborhoods should be allowed to have small community gardens until the land sells.

Engineeredgarden said...

30 foot tall bamboo would come in handy at my house! Shoot....I'd have to build somthing with that, for sure...Removing things that block sunlight to the garden area is worth the trouble, in my opinion. I really envy your winter squash harvest, because I love those butternuts! Lastly, the kitty looks sweet in the basket. :-)

kitsapFG said...

Dodger is a darling. Every garden should have a cat.

The sun improvement projects are perfect. I am constantly doing things to improve the sun exposure on the garden. My husband will not let me go the real full distance with the idea though - he refuses to let me remove a few trees. Oh I would love to though.

Dan said...

I was wondering if they were more joke eggs, hehe. Nothing better then give stuff a good whack back. I have a huge hedge beside my veggie garden, there is always a fight between light and screening the neighbors junk....

Heather said...

I am in the same funk! I cannot seem to find the energy to even plant my garlic. Maybe this evening. Your spinach looks fantastic~

GrafixMuse said...

Oh my, that's a lot of hard work thinning the bamboo and wisteria to allow more light to your garden and a lot of cleanup. At least the bamboo will be useful.

Dodger looks to cute curled up in your harvest basket. I hope all goes well at the vet.

Mr. H. said...

I wonder how that Lakota squash would do in our garden, I know the butternuts hate us. I'll have to look it up.:)

Also, I will have to try the whole sauce in the oven thing, it sounds like such a great way to reduce it.

I paused to look up the Lakota and it sounds like a winner to me. It is supposed to be good for pies, and a good keeper that will do well in the same conditions hubbard squash thrives in....that works for me. I might give it a try next year as I need a few new squash varieties. Thanks for the idea!

Sue said...

I don't think I've been on your blog before. I clicked on your name from a comment you left on another blog. I enjoyed the previous tour of your garden. I like to give views from different directions, too.

A bunch of my tomatoes looked like yours, too. I had assumed it was squirrels, too, but a couple times saw birds on cages. That made me think it could be birds, and not the squirrels eating them. It was frustrating, because they would get to them just as they were ripe enough to pick.

Denise said...

Hey Ribbit, an entire empty lot? What bounty, and what work. Maybe your whole street could do it?

Engineeredgarden, too bad bamboo is so awkward to ship. I agree: as weird as it seems to cut something that's growing cheerfully, if it's blocking the garden, it's worth cutting.

kitsapFG, Dodge really is a garden cat---he's always out there curled up in the beds (when he's not napping in the basket, apparently). And re your trees, what's it called when you cut a slash in the trunk...?

Dan, I'm with you on wanting to keep something of a screen. It wouldn't be nearly as bad if there were something pleasant on the other side of the fence, would it?

Heather, I'm glad to hear it isn't just me. I hope your funk's lifted, too.

GrafixMuse, thanks, and Dodger's wound is just fine. Apparently he has a significant heart murmur, though, so the vet recommended a visit to the cardiologist. Um, no. He seems happy as a clam, thankfully.

Mr. H, definitely try the tomato sauce; there's nothing easier, and the slow roasting really intensifies the flavor (especially if you forget about it, like I did). And if you do try Lakota and find some good recipes, please let me know. : )

Sue, welcome! You know, I've had a running battle going with one particular squirrel, have watched him continue eating a tomato while I'm walking toward him---I swear I can see him calculating how long it'll take me to be in walnut-tossing range---before he flees at the last second. I haven't seen a bird near the toms, but who knows? Thanks for dropping by.

Kristin said...

I concur with you about this time of year being a bit difficult--the end of summer blues, and I also agree that getting out in your yard is the way to get over it.

You're yard has become a wonderland--and the abundance of food it's yielded is proof.