Picking Zucchini

You may recall that a few months back I officially gave up on Tomatillos for this season and cut them up for the compost pile. Three months later, the stems have shown no signs of decomposing so the pile is just too rough to even think about using. I normally expect usable compost within 3 months of stopping new input to the pile. That led me to a decision to break out the chipper and run it all through. The problem with that path was that it has been at least a year and probably closer to two years since I’d cranked up the chipper and my history with gasoline engines is that the likelihood it would start was slim to none. It had been cantankerous the last time I used it and I nearly wore myself out pulling the starter cord. Amazingly it started on the second pull and never missed a beat for the next hour. The tomatillo branches are now chipped into micro particles. One of the wheels did fall off when I was walking it back to the shed but that looks fixable and this is like having an old friend back.

I mentioned a few posts back that I had put my tomato plants into the main garden. After a week it’s looking like I had 100% success with the transplant. Usually transplanting this time of year is problematic because it’s so hot and the sun is so intense but I’ve learned to create sun shades from palmetto fronds and that seems to have done the job. It may be an old wive’s tale but planting basil next to tomatoes is supposed to improve the taste of the tomatoes so I decided to plant some basil seeds, but that wasn’t going so well – probably too hot. Surprise! Today when I was weeding, I spotted a newly sprouted basil plant. Upon closer examination, I spotted half a dozen. They were very close to where a couple basil plants spent the summer and went to seed so it shouldn’t have been that big a surprise but I really don’t recall ever seeing them reseed before. Maybe I wasn’t paying attention and pulled them out generically with the weeds. Anyway, I dug up a couple and moved them over next to the recently planted tomatoes.

Picked the first zucchini. It was perfect – no little worm holes or soft spots. There are four more on the bushes and loads of new blossoms so perhaps we’ll actually get a decent crop. The foliage and plant stock are really looking good with no signs at all of the mildew or fungus I usually see as the plants mature and no signs of heat distress. That means no nematodes working on the roots.

Also picked what may have been the end of the pole beans, or at least this particular batch of pole beans. No complaints at all. My plan is to wait until the end of this month and replant the spot with snow peas or green peas. The trellis I put up a few months back worked perfectly. At one time I had a third of it supporting cucumber vines and another third, the beans. Both were really dense with foliage and, while the load was evenly distributed with the cucumbers, the beans were top heavy so there was quite a load on the whole trellis during storms with no sagging on leaning. Nice job Joe. It now has new cucumbers, new pole beans, and new melons just starting to climb so by the end of this month, the trellis should be 100% planted. I plan to add another 20’ to the trellis, using the remainder of the 50’ wire mesh roll I bought a few months back. It’s clear I can use all 50’ for at least 9 months a year and going vertical is a real space multiplier. The goodies are easier to pick too – bye bye bush beans.
Kerry and Obama are the Laurel and Hardy of Foreign Policy. I don’t know which of them is the worse embarrassment but as a couple, they’re unbelievable. Even after giving up the evening national news, somehow I still can’t avoid hearing about them. I read one comment which made the analogy that Putin is playing Chess while Obama and Kerry play tic tac toe.

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