Sunday, June 13, 2010
A Little Garden Update
I'm apparently incapable of taking a decent photo of our garden. What I lack in aesthetics, I'll make up for in labels.
Starting this garden has certainly been a learning experience, which is a positive way of saying I've had a lot of failures. Mostly, I blame my own lack of understanding of the California growing season. I know how and when to plant on the East Coast, but I'm an imbecile when it comes to California vegetable gardening, despite all the books I've bought.
While I'm slinging blame around, I'd also like to blame the slugs. Those slimy bastards have destroyed all but one one my cornichon cucumbers, almost all of the sunflowers, and most of the basil. They demolished all the lettuce and arugula that I planted. They've been brutal to the columbine and the baby blue eyes. I keep assuring myself that Slug-Go is an approved chemical for organic gardening, but it sort of sickens me how much I apply. Beer, coffee and eggshells are met with snorts of laughter on the part of the local slugs.
Two weeks ago, I spent about an hour tying up the tomato plants. And as a result of my contact with the tomato plants (it would seem) I had a horribly itchy rash all over my arms for fourteen days. This was misery.
I'm pretty sure that I have a serious (as in "Trip-To-The-Emergency-Room" Serious) allergy to hot peppers. When I eat hot peppers, I get instantly asthmatic, and my eyelids swell up alarmingly. Unfortunately, there's no standard test for hot pepper allergies.
So, it's likely that the two week long rash that I endured was due to my contact with another member of the nightshade family. Not being able to enjoy spicy food is bad enough. If I became allergic to tomatoes, life might not be worth living.
I think that as soon as things slow down at work (we're shooting a film, which is a big challenge for us), I'll be trekking back to my allergist to get some more conclusive answers.
In the mean time, I've been handling tomato plants with my elbow-length beekeepers' gloves on, and washing my hands like Lady Macbeth.
It certainly hasn't been all itchiness and failure in the garden.
Quite the contrary.
The fruit trees are doing quite well, despite years of previous neglect. I gave the persimmon and lemon a bit of a haircut today. My Japanese long handled pruners were too short to reach what I wanted, so Robb MacGyvered a solution for me. He built an extension for the pruners with a huge bamboo pole, a bungee cord, baling wire, and painters tape. He's my hero!
So, thus far in the garden...
The peas were pretty good, although they finally succumbed to powdery mildew, and we probably harvested them a bit too late. The herbs are doing well. And the kale is incredibly prolific and delicious. And some of our hops are taller than our garage, and are starting to produce flowers.
Not bad for the first summer!