Thursday, July 28, 2011

Stepford Plants Report

I've become a common enough sight for two of the cats who hang out under my shed that they no longer automatically run and hide when I appear. One, a tawny gold cat, still is skittish and will hide if I move toward it. The other, a black and white cat, is now willing to sit still while I check the plants each morning and afternoon, and only gets worried if I go around the shed and out of sight.

The view of the Shed

The usual view of the black and white cat is legs and head sticking out from under the shed, lazily watching me as I go about my business in the garden plot. The golden cat usually is sitting next to the shed, between the shed and fence. Since the plants really started to grow I haven't caught any in my garden plot. I'll try to capture pictures of both of them, instead of just the one's legs.

I did manage to catch the black and white cat being a cat the other day when my family was visiting. As I helped load the car for them to leave, I glanced over and spotted the cat frolicking in the yard, chasing some bug. As soon as it noticed I was there, it hunkered down and watched me. But for a brief moment I saw joy.

One last thing about the above picture... the zucchini are this year's Triffid plants, growing out faster than I expected and WAY bigger. And I thought I wouldn't get any zucchini this year after the first one died. Ha.

The New Triffids

As you can see, the zucchini are doing just fine. They are growing out into the yard, and I've spotted several gourds already growing. In fact:


I may end up having this one for lunch today. There's another one on the opposite side that's nearly as big. I'm thinking of letting them grow just a tad longer, as I already ate one that was about this size and I think it needed a few more days. But they certainly aren't dying, like the first one, and they have more than made up for the time lost.

They are also growing into the space I made for the Moneymaker tomato, which grew pretty darn big last year. Here's this year's single plant:

The original triffid

It's not too shabby. I recall that it seemed to take forever for tomatoes to grow, so I'm not worried that this one has just had blossoms and no fruit so far. I have faith in it to produce more tomatoes than I can possibly ever eat.

Peppers with friends

Speaking of last year's triffids, something strange is happening in the area where I planted the peppers. I hesitate to weed them out, as they are clearly tomato plants, but I am worried what will happen if I let them grow. In the above picture I've numbered the ones that have gotten big enough to make me whimper. Attack of the tomato triffids! ARGH!

A pepper

In the meantime, the peppers are producing, but not a lot. Each one has a good-sized pepper growing on it. But there are only a few other blossoms, and no other fruit seems to have started to grow. I'm not sure when to pick these peppers, so I'm going to have to look up Yolo Wonder and see when they are supposed to be ripe. But hey, at least I got one pepper on each!

Tiny Tim Sprawl

The Tiny Tim Tomatoes are sprawling across their area. I wish I had figured out some sort of climbing cage for them, but I didn't think of it until recently, and I'm not keen to try to retrain them. I've gotten a bit of fruit off the one on the left, and the one on the right is doing its best to duplicate the effort.

Tiny Tim Tomatoes

The fruits are tiny, sweet, and pretty. The plant itself is hardy and feels solid under my hands, unlike the moneymaker which always seems too wispy to hold tomatoes. I think if I did make the effort to train these guys up a cage, it would be well worth it for the extra fruit it would probably produce. I did manage to overcome my dislike of cutting living things long enough to prune these plants a little. I hope it helped and not hurt.

And here are the pumpkins...

Pumpkin Plant One

The one closest to the street got better watering when I first put them in, and has benefited from its location by growing big. It's had a few blossoms, but I haven't seen any pumpkins start to grow yet. I went out this morning and did some serious weeding around it, giving it more room to grow. I've also started to adjust the watering for both of them, since they are the plants not on the soaker hoses.

Pumpkin Plant Two

The second pumpkin isn't looking so great. Yellowed leaves, stunted growth. I'm not sure it's going to make it. But I do have the one, and that's good. I'm told that one of the ones I gave away is also growing nicely, so that's pretty cool.

Grafted Plum

The plum trees continue to grow, which is nice, but they grow so slowly compared to the other plants that it's a good thing I have the other plants to keep my lack of patience satisfied. The biggest problem I have with them right now is that one of the cats has decided that the grafted plum in the backyard is its personal scratching post. I'm not sure how to dissuade the cat from this opinion, other than putting a little fence around the tree like the one in the front. I don't like to do that, but if that's what it takes, I guess I'll have to.

Plum Stick vs the Sun

After the neighbor kids moved away, I considered taking the fence off the front yard plum stick, but since the cats seem to have taken up where the kids left off, maybe I'll just keep it up a bit longer. I think I want a shorter fence, though. So maybe if I ever get any money, I'll put a shorter fence around both of them. If I could find wire cutters, I'd even consider cutting this one in half and putting the other half out back... hey... that might work!

Plum Stick with Norwegian Flag

Anyway, that's the report for this week. I don't seem to be doing these quite weekly now, but I hope you are still enjoying them if you are one of the handful of people who actually read this far.