“You know you have tomatoes growing when you see three or four in a bunch.”
So said my neighbor to the hermitage of yore, many times over the years, as he patiently tried to teach me some gardening. Each time I see three or more tomatoes I think of him. The best thing he taught me about gardening (which was the whole point of teaching me about gardening) was that it was to be a time to walk about with Saint Joseph and the Lord Jesus.
When I saw these six tomatoes in a group above (if you look closely you’ll see another hiding behind, top center) I knew I had to put this up on the blog, which he follows from time to time. I know it’ll make him smile. And that’s good.
He’s a good teacher. I’ve tried to learn how to grow tomatoes, and I’ve begun to learn to recognize being smacked down by my guardian angel so as to know that Saint Joseph and the Lord Jesus is with me. It couldn’t be clearer that this is the case when I see a new flower for the Immaculate Conception to put up on the blog. No matter what chaos is happening in the church and the world none of that matters, because salvation is with us, the simplicity of being with the Holy Family.
Even when it was just little, I couldn’t bring myself to rip up this weird grass, because, well, it just didn’t look like grass, and, what if something really cool? So I let it grow. It still looks like weird grass. It’s now pretty tall, measuring a good couple of feet. A neighbor said, “Hey, that looks like garlic!” I have no idea, but I would like this. In future years, this would mean that the “driveway garden” would be overwhelmed by garlic. I love garlic. We’ll see. I don’t see any spears coming off, no strange seed tops, not yet, anyway. The neighbors have a patch of garlic. Somehow some bulbs must have gotten into their miniature therapy horse poop hill in their back yard. They let me take wheelbarrows of that for my gardening ventures. But, we’ll see. Maybe it’s just grass. But maybe not. Be open to volunteers. It may be just what you want.
Meanwhile, “Brake-Man” below is has his usual complement of flora that has been there for years. He’ll soon disappear, turning into a mountain of green.
The lettuce in the seed boxes on the front steps is struggling, as everything is all dug up pretty continuously by squirrels looking for black walnuts that they buried last year. But maybe some will survive. I should get smart and cover over the tops with a dome of chicken wire that I can sneak a hand under for weeding but which will outsmart a squirrel.
The rose bush – very old now – hasn’t yet put any buds out, but they will soon appear. These will be Flowers for the Immaculate Conception.
The tomatoes are starting to produce:
I planted the tomatoes too early, and some were killed off by the hard frost and the bucket I had over them to protect them, or so I thought. I moved what I thought were dead plants to an unused part of the asparagus patch, hoping beyond hope that they just might come back. I am amazed. They all lived. There are actually five strugglers in this picture below, all relocated way to close to each other, but we’ll see what happens. I was really careless and rough with them when moving them. I guess they thought it was just fine, as they get more sun next to the asparagus patch. This will be an experiment about planting them way too close to each other. I’ll have to get better at weeding, I know.
I am tempted to use insecticide and fungicide this year…. Any advice on that for the tomatoes, and for the spaghetti squarrrsh if they grow? I don’t think anything else will need such things.
The asparagus doesn’t care about any insects or fungus. They just grow like crazy. It’s the moles and voles that can be a problem. Any advice about those critters?
Is this a weed or a volunteer carrot?
Meanwhile… OCTOBER BEANS! These almost died bringing them home. They got white mold on most of the leaves and were totally wilted. I ripped off all the infected leaves and got them good soil and plenty of water. They look much better now. I hope these aren’t poison ivy!
I hope these produce some beans that I can plant next year, and maybe even enough for some soup. You only need six or half dozen for a great soup dish, so big are they. Maybe I’ll have enough to give some to my gardening neighbors. It’s always, always good to pass around the blessings.
The spaghetti squarrrsh from last year are only now on the menu. They have kept very, very well. The seeds are being planted round about. We’ll see what happens to them. I’m experimenting with preparation. Instead of heating up the house with a super-hot stove for 40 minutes, a half or quarter is popped into the microwave for five minutes. I found them to come out al dente, and not all watery and steamy and hard to deal with, with a much better texture with all the flavor. Butter and salt is what I like. Delicious. No squash this year. Enough of that! It’ll all be spaghetti squash.
Meanwhile, I’m still thinking about getting chickens…
MEANWHILE: In another garden, the Lord’s vineyard, there will be total mayhem at the church tonight for the vigil Mass in Spanish. I told everyone to take pictures as it will be obvious to the diocese that we need a bigger church. But, this will be a bit of an exception because of people coming from far and wide. We have four baptisms, eleven confirmations, and four first Holy Communions. Of course, there will also be Confessions before. Hopefully no Last Rites needed! We love the sacraments in this parish, in this garden of souls. :-)
These guys, in the tomato patch, go after Horn Worms.
And these guys pray, that is, prey on their prey, this time in the asparagus patch:
No pumpkin patch this year.
But there is a vineyard tended by ὁ γεωργός (georgos – George), the Tiller of the Ground, the Farmer, the Vinedresser. “I am the vine and my Father is the Vinedressor” (John 15:1).
So, some praying needs to be going on in this Garden of Eden turned Gethsemane.
It’s 5:15 AM on a Sunday. Usually up by 2:00 AM. But now it all starts:
5:20 AM Feed the dogs!
5:30 AM Run up to Holy Redeemer church in Andrews
6:00 AM Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament (during which Confessions are heard). There’s also prayers such as a Rosary and the Breviary.
7:00 AM Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament followed by the Litany of Humility etc.
7:10 AM Race to Prince of Peace church in Robbinsville across the mountain
7:35 AM Set up for Exposition and Mass
8:00 AM Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament (during which Confessions are heard while there is also a Rosary)
8:30 AM Holy Mass
9:30 AM Race back to Andrews
10:30 AM Confessions
11:00 AM Holy Mass
12:30 PM Chat with the counters
1:30 PM Head out for Communion Calls, Last Rites, etc.
About 7:30 PM more or less. Collapse, after feeding the dogs.
Oh, did I mention that the Fathers of the Church repeated many times that the seedbed in the garden of the Lord is watered by the blood of the martyrs? Yes. We thank them for their prayers and guidance.
PS: I suppose those using Covid-19 to smash down religious rights will be apoplectic about such admissions as are made in this post, perhaps until they realize that this is the smallest parish church ever.
This beast, hanging out underneath the leaves, is the manduca quinquemaculata, which, as a caterpillar, is the tomato-tobacco hornworm. No tabacco here, so they just have to eat my tomatoes. They turn into this, the five-spotted hawk moth:
“Hawk moth.” That’s rather a compliment. I call it a turd moth.
I’m still enjoying gardening. Finding out even about turd moths is a welcome break from the mayhem of the day, and here, in the drug capital of WNC, from the mayhem of the night as well. Still, I would rather eat the tomatoes instead of them.
“Instead of them…” That didn’t sound right. I meant I would rather eat the tomatoes instead of the horn worms eating the tomatoes. I didn’t mean that I would rather eat the tomatoes instead of me eating the horn worms. But there is some discussion of massive huge worms being an alternative source of protein. Just. No. Can’t do it. Even if it was all scientifically proven to be “good for you.” That would be like eating a… turd.
Sixty years old. My first time gardening. Mistakes are bound to be made:
Never having planted squarrrsh, I didn’t know how expansive they are, how much they hog the sun, putting up an impenetrable canopy. Pretty much all my cucumbers have bitten the dust, planted too near the squarrrsh. Cucumbers can climb. They don’t mind being in seed-boxes. So, they’ll get the seed boxes next year.
The squarrrsh are doing… um… waaay tooo well. Unlike the cucumbers, they don’t need to be near a fence. And now I know they do NOT do well as they could if they were NOT to be in seed boxes. The branches break off at the edge of the seed boxes, exposing the wide-open tunnels of the inner branches to all sorts of critters. So, next year, no seed boxes for squarrrsh.
The tomatoes are doing well. There is still one without one tomato. Others have half a dozen already on the way, some tiny, some tennis ball sized. The tomato cages I put over the just planted plants were put down… um…. upside down! What do I know?! Obviously nothing. Such beginner mistakes. But barring plagues and moulds and rust and such, it looks like I’ll be getting at least some tomatoes. There are, among my 14 plants, some just a few feet high, some over five feet, now some 55, make that 60 tomatoes. But my neighbors laugh at my upside down cages. :-)
I planted a squarrrsh plant right in the midst of the asparagus forest, making it about impossible to see the new asparagus. But that will be corrected next year. The cucumbers will go with the asparagus. It’s a space thing.
The October Beans never appeared at all. The seeds either didn’t germinate because I planted them way too deep, or rotted for the same reason, or were eaten by critters for the same reason. There’s a reader of the blog who asked for such seeds years ago… if he hasn’t planted them — Hey! — send them back! I’m gonna try to grow these again next spring, which isn’t that far away. 82 Third Street; Andrews, NC, 28901, USA!
The biggest mistake was experimenting with spaghetti squarrrsh seeds. I dumped the seeds in the ground with no fertilizer, no extra care, no special soil. Nothing. They exploded are now huge, taking over the house. As you can see from the picture above, I’m guiding them along the top of a two-foot high wire fence. Just in that picture you can already count three spaghetti squarrrshes. They get huge, like a small watermelon, weighing in at four to eight pounds each. Yikes! My question: should I rip these vines off the top of the fence and place them on the ground? And actually, it’s already too late, as some lengths of the vine itself is woven into the fence and can’t possibly be removed. A huge mistake? or is this still alright?