Memphis Backyard Farmer

Summer Soldiers
June 27, 2013, 10:00 pm
Filed under: General | Tags:

We are summer soldiers (though not in the way Payne meant the phrase).

Already in Memphis every day tops 90. The tomatoes, once so eager to set fruit, have begun slowing to conserve energy because of the heat.

The rains have stopped coming regularly and the rain barrel is empty. At early and late hours we carry 5 gallon buckets of water to dry, wilting plants. All the while, the irony exists that parched soil devastates gardens while weeds thrive.

The bugs have appeared. Mites, cucumber beetles, and other unidentified critters munch on leaves and suck the blood from our squash and okra. Under cover of darkness we don our headlamps and pick parasites from our precious cucumbers, while human parasites – mosquitoes – drain the lifeblood from us.

This is the time that separates the true summer soldiers from the sunshine patriots, those who are are in love with good food, from those in love with the idea of good food.

March on, soldiers, heads held high. Victory is sweet.

Maybe I HAVE Learned Something
June 8, 2013, 12:41 am
Filed under: Gardening | Tags: ,

ImageIf you garden very long, you know that each year is a learning experience. I’m not a terrific record keeper, but I do take note of what is working, what isn’t, and tweak for the next year. In fact, this blog is one way that I detail my progress.

It seems like this year I’ve been able to take my past mistakes and turn them into gold. The garden this week is beautiful. Blooms abound on tomatoes, potatoes, squash, cucumber, and peppers. The tomato plants are packed with fruit. The newly planted herbs are thriving in their new sunny spot by the mailbox. The garden is virtually weed-free.


Marketmore 76 Cucumbers

Of course, I can’t take all the credit – God has provided ample water (and more!). Bucket loads of rain have come down in long, soaking intervals every four or five days. My workload has really been easy.

I still have some big-time learning to do: the grapes didn’t get pruned this winter, and so they’re a mess. They’re currently full of new fruit, but much of it will rot unless I open it up to sunlight. The garlic is falling over because it’s simply so tall and heavy. I’m really not sure what to do – do you stake garlic?  I know it still has some growing to do, because I pulled a plant to inspect the bulb – almost there, but not quite. And the plants haven’t gone to flower yet, either.

Reach for the light

Potatoes, squash and pepers reach for the light

This weekend’s “to do” list:

  • Clean the rabbit cages
  • Use the rabbit poo to fertilize the herb garden
  • prune grapes
  • pull weeds from strawberry beds

What’s going on in your garden? What successes and/or failures are you experiencing this year?