Trouble coming?

Very ominous sighting this morning. I walked out the front door about 10AM and there was a large deer in the pathway between our property and May’s down by the lake. It took off as soon as it spotted me and ran in the right direction – that would be away from the garden but I’m afraid it’s only a matter of time before he finds it. Deer are what ended my gardening career in Utah so……………… Of course here I have a very industrious neighbor who benefits from the garden and may volunteer to put up a deer fence around the garden but I’m not sure how up to it he’ll be after the new heart valve is installed.

Is this fair? I have several friends who take excess plants I’ve started off my hands. I always start more seeds than I need to cover fall out so it’s nice that those plants find a loving, caring home. I get that. But how about when one of the plant tenders calls and asks if it’s ok to pick a couple of the eggplants when the plants I have from the exact same litter haven’t even blossomed yet. Or another recipient calls and tells us how good the eggplant was they had last night for dinner. These are total amateurs. In both cases, the guys live south of here, one by about 50 miles, the other 30 miles and the weather patterns here are such that it could mean a degree or two warmer night time temps but I sure wouldn’t think there would be that much difference. Ditto all this with tomatoes. Both are talking up the tasty tomatoes they’re harvesting while I’m still waiting for the green ones to show the slightest sign of turning pink.

I’m really working the tomatoes this year. In previous seasons, I’d put them in and deal with the survivors – kind of huppy scuppy. This year I put up a much more substantial trellis network and am relentlessly tying up the limbs and branches as they grow. Believe it or not, the San Marzano’s are 7′ tall and showing no signs of stopping. I counted 30 green tomatoes on one plant and it’s still loaded with blossoms. I’m doing a detailed visual inspection daily and any critter I happen across munching on the leaves is promptly squished. The very first year I used this approach but the nematodes destroyed everything from underground or the varieties I picked were susceptible to fungus or other diseases. This year the varieties are all (almost all) field tested by me and the nematodes are history.

Turns out that green peppers are not the easiest thing in the world to grow. I bent my pick the first year or so with approximately zero success. Things improved two years ago when I happened on a variety that grew no matter what – a variety called Declaration from Harris seed company in upstate NY. Last year I tried a few different varieties along with the one I knew worked and had a little more success but learned that you’re not supposed to plant different types of peppers close to each other because cross pollination is a no no. I also did some research and learned that surprisingly, peppers require more water than tomatoes and really require a lighter, airy soil. That explains exactly why my first couple of years were unsuccessful and hopefully means that I should have a banner year coming up. My soil is definitely now light and airy, I know to water more frequently, and I have enough space to put 50′ separation between varieties. If I don’t have super success this year………………… Right now I have 8 plants, 2 varieties that are looking quite good and have been in the garden since early March. I have 8 more plants, 4 jalapenos and 4 Marconi grilling peppers, in containers about 2 weeks away from the garden, and 2 containers of Italian heritage bell pepper seeds – one yellow, one red – hopefully only days away from germinating. These last ones are really gilding the lily and most likely not suited for our environment – but they sounded so good in the catalog, I just couldn’t resist trying. It’s really kind of late in the season but I figure I’ll learn something trying a few this year.

Have a kidney stone event going on.

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