Sunday, July 13, 2008

It's a jungle out there

Remember when my tomato plants were teeny?

Or even two weeks ago, when they were large but not ridiculous?

Check them out now:

From the front of the garden, the tomato cages are barely visible beneath the sprawling plants. I knew that tomato plants are actually vines, and that they'd behave like vines given the chance. I didn't realize that the smallish cages I borrowed (about three feet tall) would be way too short. Apparently, caged tomatoes can grow up to six feet tall. (Another site I looked at said tomato plants can get to be ten feet tall. TEN FEET.)

The tomato plants looked sort of pitiful, all slumped over the sides of their cages. I used yarn to tie some of the longer vines back up and anchor them to the fence posts, but I'm not sure how much good it will do. Next year I'm definitely going to buy some much taller cages, and possibly a stepladder for harvest time.

And while we're talking about vines, let's check in with the cucumber plant. Remember this cute little sprout?

I have decided it shall henceforth be known as the cukudzu, because it is trying to take over the world:

Note how cukudzu is climbing the garden fencepost, seeking new territory to conquer:

The tomatoes are in on the plot as well. I caught one of the Big Boys trying to link tendrils with the cukudzu across the top of a hapless, vineless bell pepper plant:

The day I went out to tie back the tomato vines, I checked the cukudzu for baby cucumbers, since it hadn't produced any yet. I lifted a few leaves and came face to face with a small baby rabbit. Hee! So cute! I thought, and let the leaves drop back to cover him. As I turned away to head for the tomatoes, I suddenly realized what I'd seen and did a total cartoon character double-take. I went back over to the cukudzu, lifted the leaves, and said to the rabbit, "Wait a minute, how did you get in here?"

The rabbit spent the next ten minutes dashing from hiding place to hiding place among the squash leaves, with intermittent sprints that always ended with him hitting the chicken wire / "rabbit proof" fencing head-on and rebounding. He finally escaped by taking a flying leap THROUGH one of the holes in the rabbit fence, which should apparently be called Big Rabbit Prevention Fencing (Don't Ask About the Baby Ones).

He's so cute, I almost wouldn't mind sharing. Almost.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


I actually made three loaves from one of the zucchinis and gave the other one to Evilducky. I figured I didn't need SIX loaves of zucchini bread hanging around the kitchen and tempting me with their yummy, yummy goodness. This was my first time ever making bread (lame, I know), but it was pretty simple. I used the recipe from our Better Homes & Gardens cookbook, and it turned out pretty damn tasty, both with and without nuts.

Friday, July 4, 2008

still growing!

The newspapers that I put down in the garden last month didn't do a bad job. The paper held up really well against the weeds and grass, but where there were seams between pages, the grass was finding a way through. It was also sprouting up around the sticks that I used as stakes. The papers had to be wetted down every day so they wouldn't start to blow around in the wind, so after about two weeks I decided that the maintenance was just going to be too much and bought a roll of landscaping fabric.

It was pretty nice outside when I started the project. Most of the garden was in the shade, and it wasn't too hot. Since Bermuda grass is so tenacious, I figured it would be best to finish covering the garden with newspaper, and then lay the landscape fabric on top. I've heard that grass can get through landscaping fabric, and I didn't want to take any chances.

So far, so good! Of course, I haven't had to do much yet. I just laid another row of newspapers down along the beta test row and pulled out all the sticks, and then rolled out and anchored down the fabric. Cake!

Then the sun started beating down on me, and I had to hoe out weeds and grass that was rooted at least 6 inches deep, and I hit the fence with the hoe about 45 times and snapped one of the fence posts. Easy? No. Vocabulary enhancing? Yes.

This is the point at which I almost quit. I was hot and sticky and pissy and just about done with caring about weeds. I knew I'd really regret having to come back out the next morning, though, so I sucked it up and kept going.

Finally done! Woohoo!

The zucchini plant had started flowering that week, too, which was nice:

Week Six:

Fabric holding strong so far!

First harvest:

(It's not much, but we were pleased.)

Week Seven:

(I put up chicken wire across the middle of the patch in an attempt to keep Cucumberzilla from overtaking the pepper plants.)