Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Garden Update

Things are happening!
Here is the latest shot from atop the grain bin, taken yesterday morning. I've been behind on these photo updates for two very good reasons:

1) With temps in the mid-90s, the metal bins are scalding. It'd be like trying to scale a griddle.

2) I was losing a battle with weeds in certain areas, such as Quadrant #2 and I was ashamed.

At one point I confessed to Brent, "If some of these plants were actual babies, Child Protective Services would have already come and gone." 

What can I say? It's a big space for one person, no matter how crazy she might be. When I first moved here, I made the mistake of telling people I had a "huge" garden. Then, I'd visit their garden and realize it was much bigger than mine. I am still adjusting to all this endless space.

Beets, radishes, lettuce, beans, peas, tomatoes, kale, popcorn, eggplant, chilis and peppers - all trimmed by Marigolds.
But these other gardeners don't have an insane vision like mine so they are using sprays to control the weeds, not just the whacking of one angry hoe powered by an aching lower back. As for the thistles, pig weed, French weed, milk weed and the ever-present Quackgrass, sometimes I just skip the hoe and pull them out by the roots for a deeper satisfaction; that riiiiiiiiiiiip brings instant joy when seeking liberation for the babies.

My photo perch.
At one point, the weeds were just kicking my ass and I had to get strict with myself: No less than four hours per day pulling weeds - that was the new rule. This may not sound like much but keep in mind that I still work two jobs online. Also please note that I am organically slow. It's true. I move like a sloth, especially when the humidity average is around 70%, though it does help that daylight persists until 10 p.m.

Wider shot shows watermelon (right) and more tomatoes, plus carrots, brussel sprouts, onions and parsnips (left).
Oh yeah, I should also point out that other gardeners have the luxury of a water spigot next to the garden that includes beautiful, glorious water pressure - something I used to take for granted. I have neither of these things.

Instead, I pull the Tonka Truck with the water tank right up alongside the garden and use the hose. But without exactly 0% water pressure, I must stand in front of each individual plant to deliver moisture. While it gives me some solid 1-on-1 with the babies, enough time to tell them how beautiful they are and kiss their leaves, it does take forever. Because of this, I am incredibly grateful for the rain, which does show up every few days. (Not to mention a naturally high water table.) Thankfully, NoDak is nowhere near the drought that is now threatening 55% of the nation. My mother says she never recalls the garden in her childhood years needing to be watered, ever. This is a tremendous change from my gardening reality in dry, arid Denver soil. 

All my tools, including the wallet in the purse.
Meanwhile, my meal times had to be adjusted for my new mandatory weeding program. I never understood why farmers always had "dinner" at noon - usually a large meal with all the fixins' - and "supper" at night, something small like a salad or a bowl of cereal. I now understand completely why you need all those calories to power through the long summer afternoon knowing that you won't be able to quit until dark. By quitting time, you don't want a large meal, just a small snack to keep you awake in the shower.

Beets are coming in!
Every night, I'd finally come in to the trailer, exhausted and beyond filthy. My fingernails were starting to look like Brent's, with permanent dirt under the nails. My body was changing too. Though without a full mirror to confirm, I felt my legs and hips shrinking a bit and maybe the tummy too. All that physical labor and heat was melting me, a wonderful by-product of organic farming.

Just before quitting time.
I'd probably lose even more weight if folks stopped bringing me garden fresh red potatoes, organic beef and homemade cookies and pies.....but a girl needs more than just salad these days.  I mean, what's the point of working your ass off in the middle of Midwestern nowhere if you can't eat home cooked pie every night?


Heidi's heart said...

Aren't beets wonderful! The beets in my garden are so good. I esp. enjoy the beet greens. So delicious steamed, without butter or any fixings.

Tip for pests: Make a potion from the hottest peppers you can find by chopping v. fine, letting soak in water for 24 hrs., strain w/cheesecloth 2x, put in spray bottle with water to dilute.

Heather Clisby said...

Good tip! The hottest peppers I can find are the one I'm growing so this potion will have to wait, unfortunately.

Tracy Alleman said...

My grandma said her favorite sound was the "pop" sound when you get the roots of a weed out. You pulling weeds reminded me of that nice memory.

Heather Clisby said...

It's a bit cruel, probably, but your grandma knew there was no sweeter victory than the complete death of a weed by your own hand.