Last week’s post focused on being patient while growth wasn’t necessarily visible, letting water, sunshine, and soil work their magic underground and inside the plants. That patience has paid off over this extremely rainy week, and there is ample evidence of visible growth. I am hoping that the plants forgive me for making the mistake of crowding them all into a 4×4 foot plot and that, in the words of Jeff Goldblum’s character Malcolm in Jurassic Park, “Life will find a way!”
Not only have the plants grown larger, they are beginning to blossom and bear fruit. Yesterday I found my first tiny tomato, but since this is one of the four “mystery” plants we were gifted, I have no idea whether they will be grape, cherry, Roma, beefsteak, or anything in between!
The pumpkin plant is taking off into the yard, carrying with it multiple new blossoms every day. I have yet to work up the nerve to pick the male blossoms (I am told they have a pointy thing inside and they won’t bear fruit anyway) and stuff or saute them. I had the most delicately sauteed pumpkin blossoms at the Mansion District Inn B&B in Smethport, PA last year. We are headed there again at the end of this month so I will have to ask owner/chef Jovanna Porter for on tips for preparing them. I have also recently seen a recipe for cream-cheese stuffed nasturtium blossoms, and could use the same stuffing recipe for the pumpkin blossoms, replacing the cream cheese with Toffutti’s Better Than Cream Cheese non-dairy product.
I have never seen a pepper plant do what this one is doing with its leaves. I found them twisting around and growing up the plant’s main stalk, almost like a vine. The photo isn’t doing it justice, as I moved them to investigate and somewhat loosened their grip around the stalk.
I am concerned the peppers will suffer the most from my rookie gardening mistakes. I planted them too close to the tomatoes (which I almost moved over about 6 inches closer to the edge of the bed, then changed my mind about at the last second) and the row closest is a little yellow. I can’t be certain it is due to the tomato proximity, though, because they are a different type of pepper than the other row.
We finally got the blueberry bushes into the ground last week, and my husband built little bases for them out of leftover pavers we had from the front flower bed. He secured them with some waterproof caulk and they are bungee corded together temporarily while they set. We purchased two different varieties so they could cross-pollinate, and the two varieties are Blueray (left) and Elliot (right)–hence their names.
The cherry Roma plant has grown at least 6 inches in just the last week. Soon I will need to give it a taller stake or tomato cage. I am truly hoping it does as well as the hanging basket we had last summer. We won’t know until these start to produce if they are indeed the same variety we had last year, as last year’s either weren’t marked or I didn’t record the variety.
Finally, my little herb garden is still struggling along. The basil continues to get eaten by little bugs. Several gardeners have assured me that when the weather heats up and dries out the basil will flourish. My first batch of cilantro has already gone to seed, so I am waiting patiently for some coriander seeds to appear. I got a new cilantro plant that will hopefully last a bit longer this time.
It is great to see the new growth, but I must remind myself that the end goal of the garden is to produce fruit and vegetables worthy of human consumption. I must remember to be vigilant about watering between rains and weeding and staking and cutting back when necessary. All of this hard work and preparation will hopefully pay off over the next few months, not only in volume of produce but in gaining valuable experience as well as confidence in my abilities as a gardener.
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