Friday, May 28, 2010

Win Some, Lose Some

It’s been a very busy week out here, JOTOLR! And we’ve won some and we’ve lost some in the gamble of farming and growing veggies.
To give you a sense of our activities for this past week (not to bore you, promise!)
here’s a choronology of successes: set out 133 tomato plants (some for sale, some for us)(and, they’ve survived the transition from a shady porch to a full sun residence); set out 40 Brussels spouts plants which have also survived a similar transition); add to that similar numbers of broccoli, cabbage for sauerkraut (two kinds—red and green); planted two rows of Provider green beans, plus direct-seeded New Zealand spinach (lasts during hot weather); also direct planted okra, hilled the three rows of potatoes—Red Pontiac, German Butterball, and Russets; weeded all three rows of that darned Devil-in-the-Garden out of the potatoes; weeded three rows of beets and one row of Swiss Chard; weeded 100 feet of strawberries; direct planted another short row of lettuce and Olympia Spinach (also does better in hot weather0 to replace what will expire from first crop; weeded peas— these are all 60-foot rows…and so it goes…The Buckwheat and the Millet are both vigorously up (for the chickens and turkeys that will be arriving June 15th); the chick peas are up about two inches and growing enthusiastically.

Now, as to the “lose some” category: poor seed quality has resulted in large gaps in our sweet corn, so we have to travel to the farm store and buy new seed and re-plant; our corn rows are spotty at best; another loss--it rained on our first little patch of hay down on the ground last night; no matter, though. It might dry out today before we get into this cycle of fog in the a.m. and thunderstorms in the p.m.—our normal summer squall pattern. The northern end of one potato row appears drowned which was the only affect of our heavy rains a week ago. We feel lucky to have made it through that little anomaly without more damage.  So far, successes far outweigh losses! 

When I ask people if they garden and they tell me, “No, it just isn’t worth it,” I know they are referring to all the physical work and the constant fight against all those critters with nibbly mouths that like to share in the produce, but which help themselves a little more than we’d like.

But, truly, nothing's free…it IS worth it to grow the food you eat, even in a city, in your back yard, even if it's small. Of course, growing our own food, IS work-intensive. Healthfully so, though—both in the working and the eating. Better yet, the safety and the quality are incomparable. We’re on a first-name basis with our personally tended food. It doesn’t speak to us in a foreign language. We are assured by the efforts of our own hand, that what we are eating has the Good Gardening Seal of Approval.

Besides, it is hard to imagine a more peaceful togetherness, than side by side, cultivating and nuturing seedlings to fruition, talking of subjects far and wide, solving the world’s problems….right here JOTOLR.

I have a comment on comment post which I’ll put up sometime this weekend. So many of you had such interesting remarks on the words “home” and “homestead” and “homeplace.” The comments made me re-think my words. And, several of you had some lovely comments on other posts, which I want to acknowledge. (Ruta, Barbara, Beth, Julia, Kat, Debbi, Marlene) So, stay tuned! And thank you for the lively conversation!

Have a lovely weekend, everyone!


  1. I don't garden Elora - this place here on the lake is truly pure rock - but I did put in the raised bed herb garden this year and when we return in the fall we have the plans waiting for us to put in a raised bed garden. I want to get the soil ready this fall and perhaps plant a couple of things but really want it to be ready and waiting in the spring. It won't be big but we don't need big. I may be calling you for advice! blessings, marlene

  2. Your garden looks great, can't wait to see it up close and personal. You and MM are my inspiration for growing at least a little bit of my own food. Yes, it's a lot of work, and yes, it's WELL worth it.

    P.S. I promise I'll pick out the rocks when you come over for spaghetti squash or zucchini bread or watermelon (those are the most rock-intensive areas of my garden)!

  3. Your garden looks beautiful, Elora. And much, much further along than ours. We've been so busy that we planted late, so it will likely be July before we have much of anything but squash. And maybe peppers. We put down newspaper and a shallow layer of wood chips earlier in the season in the hopes that it would help with the weed problem. Last year, weeding in the garden took WAY too much of our time. I was curious---what is Devil-in-the-Garden?

  4. It's garden-envy time of year - when fellow gardeners gawk at the "other" garden and try to guess at all the variables that make it different from one's own. Your garden is beyond all that - it is truly incredible because I know exactly what you had to do to get it that extraordinary. We got a late start this year contemplating how to handle a small herd of deer that finally discovered our garden after 3 years - in the end we forged ahead without the spinach, kale and lettuce hoping they'd find our selection too boring. Each time we visit the garden we search first for the telltale footprints...the worry has taken some fun out of it. I notice from your picture that you've got some kind of fence up...does it work? Forget the does your garden survive the deer? Help ... we miss our lettuce!

  5. The deer are now held somewhat at bay, Pink Snow...A few years back, we "bit the bullet" and bought enough poultry netting to make a six-foot high fence around our garden. I know your feeling about looking first for footprints. Have done this recently with regard to the rabbits this year, which have been horrible! But the six-foot high fence is situated inside of the regular 40-inch woven wire. This year, we added a lower level rabbit wire and that has kept those little beasties out. It's a constant fight--between bugs, bunnies, and beasts! Truly, I feel like Elmer Fudd a lot of the time! I justify the fence expense by saying I am getting food of quality, and were I to try to buy it, if it were available, (questionable) it would equal the cost of the fence!

    We also have a Great Pyrenees that patrols the property constantly (and stays home!). But that "success" is somewhat compromised by the fact that he is terrified of thunder and lightning and finds a hole in the garden fence to get as close to us as he can during a storm. His major bulk is not helpful to the strawberries, as he sits sphinx-like just outside a short electrical fence designed to keep out chickens!

    Thanks so much for your comments regarding our garden!! And thanks so much for visiting us out here JOTOLR.