The spaghetti sauce production line is fully open now. I planted more than a few tomato plants including both regular round eating kind and the plum type that is used in making salsa and sauces. A little tomato education: there are two general types of tomato; determinate and indeterminate. I always saw that designation in the seed catalogs but never paid much attention to it, figuring it had something to do with disease resistance. Turns out that determinate means that the the tomatoes ripen more or less at the same time; indeterminate means that you can have a continuous stream with new blossoms at the same time you are picking fruit. The varieties I planted first are determinate so we’re getting loads of fruit all at once. I can go out and pick 8-10 lbs every day which means you have to have a plan to get rid of 8-10 lbs every day. In Utah we got one crop a year and converted 90% of it into spaghetti sauce which we froze and used throughout the year. Here we will have a continuous crop through November so I can see our freezer filling long before the last tomato is picked.
We’ve also been picking corn for a few weeks and I learned that there’s a bit I didn’t know about growing corn. With most crops you put in the seeds, water, fertilize and pick. With corn, it matters how you plant it. I mean the shape and density of the planting. Corn is not pollinated by bees or insects but by the wind. The pollen comes out of the top of the plant and sprinkles down onto the silk of the corn. So if you plant a row of corn and the wind blows, it’s likely all the pollen will blow away from the corn and the ears will grow with no kernels. If you plant two rows side by side, there is a higher chance that the pollen from row one will blow down on row two and visa versa. The best thing is to plant it in squares or big rectangles so that no matter how the wind blows, the pollen will drop within the planted area. I didn’t know that – but I do now! I think what screwed us up was that for about two weeks at the time the pollen was forming, we had 25 mph winds out of the west and it blew the corn pollen onto the tomatoes or somewhere other than where it belonged. So much for my ethanol crop.
Speaking of ethanol – I guess the current midwest flooding dramatically points out the foolishness of using food for fuel. I never cease to be amazed at how stupid some people are and how tragic it is that they get into positions of power and decision making. All of this no drilling for oil crap that the enviro wackies have sold is coming home to roost. The real irony is that the Chinese, Cubans and Venezuelans are drilling off our shore – legally – but our own oil companies are not allowed to drill in the same places. Go figure.
Last week we were lucky to have Simon spend a few days. We went surf fishing one day and bass fishing in the lake on another. He cleaned my clock at the beach but I recaptured my dignity with a decisive win on the lake. He was a big help with a couple of projects including the design and manufacture of a filter for the new pump. I was afraid the 1â€ intake would suck up debris and even small fish into the pump so we capped the end with a 6â€ x 2â€ dia extension drilled with 1/4â€ holes. Simon worked through the math to determine how many holes we needed to drill o match the original 1â€ opening then he drilled them. We also started reworking the dock and deck furniture which was rusting. Unfortunately his trip was too short due to commitments with the Lake Mary High Marching Band. We took him home on father’s day and had a great day in the pool playing volley ball. I hadn’t done that in 100 years and was sure I’d be stiff and sore for a month. No problem – not an ache or a pain.