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How You Gonna Keep ‘Em Down On The Farm?

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Posted September 12, 2017 by jim young in Lifestyle

“It is thus with farming: if you do one thing late, you will be late in all your work.” – Cato the Elder

I remember visiting my 80+ year old grandfather late one autumn as he was hoeing the left over plants in his garden. He had a good yield that summer.

“Are you planning to have a garden again next year, Grampa?” I asked him.

Grampa started to laugh and replied, “Jim, when you get to be my age – you don’t make too many plans for next year.”

Sadly that was the last year my grandfather had a garden.

Grampa was a farmer, originally. But he didn’t like it, so he sold the farm when my father was still a young boy.

That’s unfortunate as I might have been able to learn a bit more about gardening had the farm remained in the family.

But not knowing what I am doing has never stopped me before so this year, My Shirley and I decided to become “farmers”.

We started by purchasing a raised garden from Costco.

Now, I know we were a little late getting our garden in. But in spite of that, our plants have grown really well. Unfortunately, even though it is now September, nothing seems to be ripening, which I blame on the noticeable absence of the sun this summer.

We have a lot of tomatoes growing but they are still green and only about 2″ in diameter. My Shirley has a couple of tomatoes sitting on the window sill that are almost red but one has wrinkles and looks more like a tiny pumpkin – only bigger than our pumpkins which are only about 1″ in diameter.

We are hopeful we may get about 3 cucumbers, one of which is ready to pick. The 1/2 dozen corn stalks are growing nicely – and have reached a height of almost 3 feet but have yet to show any indication of sprouting any cobs.

We have already enjoyed 5 green beans and I noticed the other day there are another 3 ready to be picked.

The squash plant looks really nice – but despite its many flowers, has not yielded any squash. The lettuce, on the other hand has yielded enough for 1 – maybe 2 sandwiches.

I have already eaten the one small pepper from our pepper plant. But I am very encouraged with our sunflowers which have attained heights of well over 6 feet.Of course you have to deduct the height of the raised garden from their overall height. Several even have flowers that have actually opened. We look forward to them being ready to harvest so we may feed the chipmunks, who have in the meantime, been thriving on our trips to Buchanan’s Hardware Store to purchase sunflower seeds at $2.50 a pop. Although if the sunflowers don’t start to go to seed soon, we may be out of luck.

Our one potato plant looks very healthy. Of course we have no idea what its yield will be until we dig up the potatoes. But as it was planted in a pot that would probably hold about 1/2 dozen medium sized potatoes at best (not including the soil in it) we are trying very hard to remind ourselves that “it’s important to manage our expectations.”

But the Kale! The fucking Kale is growing like wildflowers and in abundance to feed the entire population of Loring. The only problem is – My Shirley and I have discovered that neither of us really like Kale.

I even tried a recipe to make fake potato chips from Kale only to discover they taste exactly like fake potato chips. You know who likes fake potato chips? Vegetarians and people that can’t afford 99 cents for a bag of real potato chips. I am fortunate that I don’t fall into either category. We will not plant Kale next year regardless of how well it grows.

But I figure all is not lost and we will be able to survive on the vegetables from our garden providing we get just 3 more months of rain-free summer.

The mint of course is technically a weed and has been living up to its reputation of “growing like weeds”. So even if we are not eating healthy, fresh-from-the-garden vegetables this year, we will be able to wash down all the unhealthy junk foods we enjoy with tasty, refreshing Mojitos.

Salud!

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