08-02-2013   2 comments

Gardening.  It sounds so easy but in reality it’s not.  I’d probably be more obsessed with it if I were a full fledged farmer who was supporting his family with what he could successfully produce.  Being a part-time gardener gives me a great deal of satisfaction and almost as much aggravation.

Each spring my better-half and I spend a lot of time deciding what to grow, soil preparation, and how to process the things we’ll be consuming next winter. One of our goals has always been to grow what we want without the use of insecticides and other chemicals.  To do that successfully for a couple of amateurs is difficult and at times impossible.

This year the weather’s been fairly well balanced with enough rain to keep watering to a minimum.  Along with sufficient amounts of water comes sufficient amounts of slugs, bugs, grubs, and other visiting wildlife.  It then becomes a full time job to maintain a decent level of control over the garden.  Unforeseen problems make themselves known without warning and must be dealt with as quickly as possible.

For instance, I use a black fabric to cover the garden to prevent weeds from taking over.  The fabric is expensive but in the long run will save hours of unnecessary efforts throughout the summer.  Not this year.  I bought what I thought was a product that will hinder weeds and allow water and nutrients to seep through.  Buyer Beware.  We are now more than half way through the growing season and my fabric purchase was a total scam.  The weeds have grown under the fabric and now have penetrated into the sunlight.  The fabric has virtually dissolved into nothingness in spots.  This will make my end-of-season cleanup extremely difficult and time consuming.  My only thought right now is that Home Depot blows. How can such a large company supply a product of such low caliber without some sort of pretesting before it hits the shelves. I guess I’ll be just like the prodigal returning to Lowe’s with my tail between my legs.

Let me tell you a little something about slugs.  Not only are they disgusting, there are millions of them and they’re always hungry.  They can strip a garden in short order if not controlled by insecticides.  This year we were forced to give in and use a commercial product to kill as many of those little bastards as possible.  I won’t even begin to explain my thoughts on the effing tomato worms.  They’re green, voracious, fat, and make a satisfying "pop" when you step on them.

The cucumber patch is loaded already with dozens of future pickles and hundreds of blooms indicating a lot of canning in my future. Tomorrow will be my first official canning day of 2013.  With any luck I’ll be canning approximates 15 pints of hot Bread & Butter pickles and four experimental pints of Kool Aid pickles.  The Kool Aid pickles are something new I’m trying where you mix your dill brine with a double package of Cherry Kool Aid.  It gives you a kosher dill pickle with a sweet cherry taste in a bright red pickle.  It sounds crazy I know but a mixture of sweet and sour is one of my favorite taste combinations.  I just hope it works and isn’t a little too bizarre making people afraid to even try it.  We shall see.

I guess I can stop complaining now.  I’ll get a good nights sleep and be ready to hit the ground running in the morning.  A day of hot boiling water, pots of brine, and a huge pile of sliced cucumbers and jalapeño peppers.  A fun day to be sure.  The Fall harvest is finally beginning.

2 responses to “08-02-2013

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  1. Ahh the air conditioned, weed free, slug free comfort of a supermarket. One can only hope that one day they will become popular in Maine.

    • I hope all of you urban, food eating, air conditioned, and slug free citizens appreciate all of the dirty, filthy, hard working people who supply you with the food you eat. It doesn’t sound like you do.

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