Oh, I was so embarrassed today. My parents come over for a visit and I cringed when my Dad headed toward the veggie gardens.
They are a mess. Between having tomatoes that hate me, no time to weed, and a miserable growing season in general, my garden makes me look like a big fat failure. I have tomatoes, but as i have stated in earlier posts, they are a huge falling-over mess semi- contained in a horrible stake and twine system. My cucumbers, pumpkins and decorative gourds are non-existent. And my zucchini plants have produced 4 zucchini this season.
In the time of year when gardening and homesteading magazines are full of articles about the best ways to get rid of, oopps, I mean 'enjoy' the massive amounts of zucchini coming from the garden, I have FOUR. Last year I was yelling at the too-friendly coyote "get away from my chickens, but PLEASE take some zucchini!"
Enter Dad with the tiller.
I now have rows again. And as he was tilling, I was weeding. It seems under those weeds, I have beans growing! And one white pumpkin.
And I have potatoes!!! We were about to till the row of weeds taller than my son that should have been a row of potatoes, when I thought we should just try to dig a hole and see if anything survived.
I have yellow potatoes!! Not just the tiny, pathetic-looking ones, but nice big yellow potatoes!!! We dug half the row and I have enough for several good meals. The little man thought it was just fantastic that potatoes were coming out of the ground and he had a great time collecting them (even the tiny ones).
And I got to talk a little gardening with my Dad. Before he was married to my Mom, they both worked on vegetable farms. Yes, I know, my Mother, who is afraid of dirt and bugs, used to pick peppers with the best of them. Dad rented field space behind is parents home from a neighbor and grew a ton of squash, peppers, tomatoes, potatoes and corn to sell. I asked him how he kept the weeds down and he said "a hoe." I asked him how he staked his tomatoes and he said "I didn't."
Wait a minute here. He "didn't"?
Did he have some type of magic tomato plant that defied gravity and grow straight up on its own?
Unfortunately no. He said "I just let them lay on the ground. We picked the ripe ones every day."
I had a hard time believing this. My tomatoes are all over the ground, not be choice, and they are rotting before they can turn orange.
Dad must have had very non-picky tomato customers back then. But he said he didn't have any problems.
Could it be true? Could the answer to my tomato problems be THAT simple?? Have I been going about this all wrong? I still don't know about this. More research is needed.
Aside from all the tomato annoyances, I really enjoyed working with Dad in the garden today. Even if he had the tiller going full blast for most of the time and I was weeding away around the bean plants. I am trying to convince him to get a garden going in his own yard again but he just keeps saying that it is too much work and that he has bad soil.
I did manage to sneak a few tomato plants into Mom's flower bed this season. She enjoys the flowers but not the dirt, so I usually take care of the minimal flower gardens that she has. And I do have to say that is thrilled to have her own tomatoes growing.
Maybe next year I will add a few potatoes.