Thursday, August 27, 2009

How My Garden Grows†

I sense you are dying to know how my garden is doing.

[SUMMARY: Psychic!]

It's very kind of you to ask.

Cat for Scale really enjoys gardening with me.

EnjoyED gardening with me.

A couple of days ago, he discovered he could walk through the slats on the deck railing and cross the rooflet to the neighbour's deck.

[SUMMARY: Wait... what happened to the garden? Hey! This isn't a summary!]

Oh, the first couple of times, he walked over, sniffed around and came right back, no problem. Last night, he discovered he could walk through the slat's on the neighbour's deck railing and cross the rooflet to *their* neighbour's deck.

This led to a very funny incident in which I was screaming§ "Quill! Kitty! Come here!" at the top of my lungs, then bolting out the front door to ring the neighbour's neighbour's doorbell like a demented Avon lady.

When nobody answered, I dashed home, grabbed the treat jar and went outside shaking it viciously and yelling,§ "Kitty treat! Do you want a kitty treat?"@

"Meow?" I heard. I pressed my anxious little face against the trellis separating me from my pet.

"Quill? QUILL??!?"§

"Meow?" And there he was, bumping my ankle with a look I swore said, "Why are you yelling? I'm right here. Did somebody mention kitty treats?"

So I tossed a couple of treats inside and closed the door as far as I could.

Because I can no longer trust him to do this:

He's going to have to wait for me to install some sort of screen to keep him home safe before he can garden with me again.

[SUMMARY: The wild beast stalked the veldt.]

Anyway, back at the garden...

cucumber buds, cucumber tendrils twining on their own leaves, baby Brandywine,
fat little jalapeno, white cucumber, baby Beefsteak, banana peppers, Lemon Drops

...a beautiful baby Slicemaster cucumber:

...and a lush, spiny, fully-grown# and harvested white cucumber.

I took a whole bunch of pictures on June 20. Then I didn't do much with them, so I took a whole new batch on August 12, thinking, "Wouldn't it be cool to do the before and after?"††

[SUMMARY: Cool is in the eye of the beholder.]

My Hammacher-Schlemmer‡‡ Upside-Down Tomato Gardens:

left planter: cilantro, white cukes, Big Rainbow tomatoes
right planter: purple basil, sweet basil, dill, banana peppers,
Beefsteak tomatoes, Lemon Drop tomatoes and Besser Cherry tomatoes

My Topsy-Turvy Upside Down Tomato Planters:

left to right: Brandywine tomatoes, Anaheim peppers, tomatillos, jalapenos, Slicemaster cukes

I sowed the cilantro June 19, so here's June 20:

...and August 12.

In the last two weeks, the tomatoes, tomatillos and herbs have doubled in size and are positively fecund.

The bees are having a field day.

There is a Slicemaster cucumber that would make John Holmes blush. It hangs, heavy and obscene, at the very bottom of the vine, where it sways lasciviously in the slightest breeze.^

There are little white spiders on one side of the cilantro and ladybugs on the other and I wonder if there'll ever be a caged death match somewhere in the middle of the crop.

[SUMMARY: Gardens make you thoughtful.]

Most important, I *finally* got a ripe tomato,§§ one of the little, round Bessers finally got as red as I figured it was going to.

Funny story: eBeth had the Besser plant labeled as an Anna Russian. I Googled all the varieties of tomatoes she started for us% and found the Anna Russian is a medium-sized, pink, heart-shaped tomato.

Imagine my surprise to get a fire engine red globe the size of a 25-cent gumball. So I took it to book club last night to ask eBeth what it might actually be, since it didn't appear to be medium-sized, pink OR heart-shaped.

Once she said it was a Besser, I rinsed it off in Jeanne's sink and popped it in my mouth. The... I... *slurp*... FLAVOUR... burst!... *grrrgle*

"Oh... that's good," I said.

"I don't believe any of us have ever heard you say that," said Annie.

I was mildly embarrassed, thinking, "Man, am I so negative nobody's ever heard me say I like anything? Or maybe it's just a vegetable thing?"

"...having never been privy to your bedroom," Annie finished.

I blushed.¶¶

"...and your eyes kinda rolled back..."

"...and you moaned..."

I *really* like fresh garden tomatoes.

Just for posterity, the houseplants are also doing well.

[SUMMARY: Show off!]

Happy to help.

p.s. -- Chickens!##

FOOTNOTE (crossed): I probably shouldn't admit this in a public forum, where people who might want to hire me may find this out, but I've always thought of it as "Marin, Marin, quite contrarin, how does your garden grow?" I was five when that started and it just stuck. For the record, it's also "Eat, drink and be Marin."

FOOTNOTE (double-crossed): Really funny if you're a cat. Maybe not so funny if you're a frantic cat keeper.

§FOOTNOTE (swerved): At a cat I'm pretty sure is stone deaf.

@FOOTNOTE (atted): In the same tone, volume and timbre used by Swedish thrash metal frontmen. Or Animal, the muppet.

FOOTNOTE (paragraphed): What with the hose hooked to the kitchen faucet. It sounds ghetto, but it was either that or let my father perpetrate acts of plumbing on my house.

#FOOTNOTE (pounded): I was expecting miniature cucumbers -- like the gherkins in the grocery store. These are like lemons.

††FOOTNOTE (ddouble-ccrossed): In all honesty, I took new pictures because the old ones were so outdated, then the before & after inspiration hit me and I decided to pretend it was my intention all along.

‡‡FOOTNOTE (doubble-crossssed): After buying these, I love Hammacher Schlemmer... truly, madly, deeply. Best customer service I've ever had from someone who wasn't going to get a tip. I'm going to buy a third planter for next year's garden.

^FOOTNOTE (careted): I may be projecting... something.

§§FOOTNOTE (here's where the worm turned): The whole reason I started gardening. I don't know what those things in the grocery store are -- perhaps some breed of bouncy ball -- but they aren't tomatoes.

%FOOTNOTE (percented): As one does.

¶¶FOOTNOTE (red cheeks): Doesn't happen that often. Let's not get used to it.

##FOOTNOTE (chicken scratch): Because a day without chickens is like a pig without a lick.

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