May 30, 2007

When Nature Attacks 2!

There's an old joke in Louisiana-- Don't like the weather? Wait five minutes, it'll change. Well, it hasn't changed in a while now. I'm ready for my punchline, weather! Almost three full days of rain and strong wind has kept me out of my garden. I almost wish I hadn't gone in this evening, in between bouts of more rain.

The gorgeous tomatoe plants that were pushing 5' tall? They're all 5' wide now, lying sideways thanks to the wind and the fact that even the best cage can't stay in the ground if said ground is so wet it's about three droplets shy of liquid form. I'm learning, though: last year I drove in stakes, and the plants fell over. This year I used cages, and the plants fell over inside the cages. Next year I think I'm going to sink a 4" x 4" decking post two feet in the ground for each plant, and use some big barb wire staples to hold each branch on.

The squash? Loving it. I had squash out there that weighed in at three or four pounds. The problem being, of course, that at that size they're inedible. I had to toss three into the compost bin that were so big I could have wrapped them in newborn diapers and blankets and sold them to ignorant Holloweird stars as black market orphan Chinese babies.

The radishes and beets fared well as did the carrots. I mean heck, the carrots are so frail that a light watering knocks their greens over anyway, and like the beets and radishes all the important bits are already underground. The beans fared pretty well too, since they have all those curly tendrils to anchor them to the fence. I'm surprised the wind didn't blow the fence and all across the field.

The cantaloupes did okay, since they're not big enough to be anything but a mass of small vines, now all blown in the same direction like wet green dreadlocks. Same with the watermelon, only in more of a Parliament Funkadelic fro. The bell, banana and jalapeno pepper plants are all so short and stocky that they fared very well in their little miniature tomatoe cages, so there's a plus, and the birdhouse gourds are no more than three inches tall, so they just bent in the wind like the willow, or something equally Oriental and mystic.

In a very non-Oriental mystic way I almost broke an ankle trying to save myself from falling straight into the avocado plants after slipping in the mud. A couple of times. I guess the one good thing is that even after all the laying waste happened, there was still a pretty respectable harvest.

I'm ready for a dry few days, though, so I can get out there and repair the damage, restake the still-living, wind the cucumbers back onto their fence and maybe till out the five inch deep, size 12E footprints in the mud.


Scott from Oregon said...

Tomato plant woes? Just ask me. I can fix them.

Plant your tomatoes inside if a used tire lain on the ground and filled with your favorite good soil. Pack it in the tire itself real good.

Buy cement caging wire. The thick wire that is used for pouring driveways and such. Makes sure it has six inch squares (the smaller squares are sometimes hard to get hand and tomato through.)

When you make your cages. wrap them tight around the tire, leaving some strands of wire so that these can hook under the tire.

Get it?

Katrina proof...

And if you want to follow the current trend, paint these cages bright red before you plant in them. Paint a red stripe around the top of the tire but leave the sides black...

Any branch that sticks out sideways from these plants too far, simply cut off and stick in the ground insidde the cage. Most of the time, they root and make tomatoes...

Nancy Dancehall said...

*drool* *envy* *drool*

My squash plant has a leaf.

My beans just broke the surface.

My tomato plants make me cry and wonder if there is a god.

Can I work as a migrant farmer in your garden?

Jay said...

Look at that beautiful produce!
You did that!

Too bad you're not sharing :)

Irrelephant said...

Scott: Tires and rebar? Are you growing tomatoes or oak trees? *lol* Truthfully, though, they do sound utterly immovable. I'll have to start collecting tires and wire. And red paint. *grin*

Nancy, is your worker's visa current? Got your green yard? You'll have to supply your own tools and sombrero, too. I'll pay you a dollar an hour and all the banana peppers and string beans you can carry.

Jay, I keep my brother and mother buried in fresh veggies--they're sick of me bringing them stuff. Tell you what, give me your address and I'll check with FedEx to see what overnight shipping to Canada runs. *lol*

Mona Buonanotte said...

Wait. Wait. Those yummy veggies came from your garden? NOW? Oh, I wish you were my neighbor, and could share the wealth. I would eat a bushel of those tomatoes, naked, just to feel the juice drip down my....

...sorry...I loves me some nice ter-ma-tahs

Irrelephant said...

Tell you what Mona, I'll make you the same deal I made Jay. Send me your address and I'll ship you a ton of nice ripe 'maters and a Polaroid camera. Heh!

And yuppers, that all came from my eleven rows. One of the few joys of living in the South is that the growing season starts around March and runs well into September or later, then we've got a small handful of months for cold weather plants. I can't wait to start harvesting canteloupes and watermelons.

I'd share with my neighbors down here but they've all got gardens that make mine look like a flower pot full of wilting oregano. These people around me grow everything from sugar cane to giant pumpkins. Me, I's an amateur, in gardens so big they require four-wheel drive tractors.

Scott from Oregon said...

"Only two things that money can't buy, and that's true love and homegrown tomatoes."

Not rebar!

Wire mesh! Silly.

The tires also raise the temperature of the soil of the tomato plants, and, if kept watered, will drive them crazy!

Irrelephant said...

I was kinda hoping. *lol*

Of course Scott, you have to remember that I'm in Louisiana...if I were to raise the soil temperature any higher than it alreadys is on any given day in summer I'm afraid I'd end up lighting them on fire.