Thursday, July 29, 2010

Home is where the garden is.

I really missed my garden while we were in Hong Kong. It was exciting to see what had grown while were were away.  Dalton, our young neighbor, had taken great care of the garden while we were gone and had done all the watering, even rolling up the hose pipe (a task we are extremely lazy about).  The place looked great BUT before I get too deeply engrossed in this blog - Please can someone tell me what this is?

When I first planted out my squashes and melons, I had them all labeled, but when the slugs ate them down to nothing, I panicked and replanted seeds left, right and center without recording what went where.  Also, I found some volunteers in my dill pot.  I've no idea what they are or how they got there...birds, I presume, so I planted them out too.  All lessons for future gardening!

So, I also need to know when to harvest this thing - its about a foot long right now.

The day after our return we had a visitor to the garden - Or is he  visitor?  This is the third sighting of a gopher snake in our yard - perhaps he is a resident?  I don't mind.  He keeps the rat population down - not to mention gophers.  I like him.  My husband doesn't - he does have a snake phobia. But I feel like I'm doing something right in my attempts to have a garden that also supports wildlife.
I dug up some parsnips - delicious.  The okra is ready and the bell peppers are nice thought less fleshly than I would like.  We got four cobs of corn that tasted rubbery.  We did miss the best time for them.  I'm never leaving my garden in July or August again for so long...  Brocolli, kale, onion and carrots abound - I think I'll be able to grow them year round (yes Scarlette, never go hungry again!).

My cherry tomatoes are a riot of red garden candy.  Yesterday, Al popped over to show me his "cherry tomato" and wanted to know did I want to compare them to mine - like his other veggies in a previous post.  Then he pulled out from behind his back a beef tomato, the size of a babies head!  He insisted that all his cherry tomatoes were hanging just as big as that back in his yard - He's a funny guy.

I had intended posting a picture of it but we ate it before we remembered to photograph it.  I had to resort to using an Artists impression.  Mind you, I use "artist" in its loosest term.  My art teacher in School used to make strange noises when I'd show him my art work - I couldn't work out if he was laughing or crying!

It was the most gorgeous tomato I've ever tasted.  My husband and I plotted to get another one.  We wondered if he'd given us the first one free to get us hooked then he'd make us pay big money for subsequent ones...  I figured I'd tell him about forgetting to photograph it and that we needed another one for the blog.  Clever me!  Though no more have shown up, knowing Al, he's waiting for it to ripen to the perfection he demands from his garden.

Speaking of great neighbors, the neighbors on our left hand side are wonderful too.  Their son Dalton, whom I've already mentioned, had a camp to attend for a couple of days prior to us coming home.  The garden and indoors plants all seemed healthy and happy at that stage, so he handed over the task of the watering to his Mom.  When we got back the coffee tree in the corner was looking decidedly upset.

All the leaves had drooped and no amount of watering would bring it back.   Then his poor Mom (whose own house plants are beautiful and is a great gardener herself) decided that it was over-watered, so she tried to dry it out, but nothing worked.  Being the conscientious and kind person that she is, she was terribly upset about "killing the tree."  Her words, not mine.  I suspect that I am to blame for starting the process of over-watering by trying to "stock up" the water in the pot before we left.  Dalton's Mom felt so bad about it that she bought me a beautiful replacement plant with a gorgeous glazed pot to boot!

Something she really didn't need to do.  We all know plants have the potential to up sticks and die if they feel left out at vacation time.  Obviously "Big Green" had his case packed and was very annoyed he'd been left behind.  I don't think we can really blame anyone - these things happen!

One of my friends had to go overseas for a while leaving her husband in charge of the two plants I had given her, a spider plant and  a basil seedling.  He forgot to water them and brought them to me in a panic.  The spider plant recovered, with the addition of water, but the poor basil - well the photo says it all really!

Our new "Little Guy" will be a much loved addition to our household, and a reminder to me that my garden has not only provided food for our tummys but has help nurture the seeds of friendship with which we feed our souls.

It's good to be home.

Byddi Lee