Tomatoes

I am happy to report that there are tomatoes in the garden. I found two! Over 70 plants and I may get 2 tomatoes.

Tomatoes

Tomatoes

And that plant is one that was in the greenhouse all winter producing tomatoes and I transplanted it to the garden. There were 10 plants in the greenhouse and 9 of them survived being transplanted. I guess it doesn’t matter that 8 of them didn’t produce anything.

I feel sorry for them though . . they were covered in small tomatoes and the hail knocked them all off and broke the tops out of most of the plants. Then when they were coming back, we had so much hard rain that it broke all the blossoms off so they haven’t had a very good chance to do great things this year.

Tomato Vine

Tomato Vine

The plants are big and healthy looking now and I have high hopes of having fall tomatoes if I can keep them alive through summer. If not . . there’s always next year!

Pumpkins & Squash

It seems that every year, except for last year, there’s something that is the star of the garden and this year, it’s pumpkins and squash. 

Pumpkin

Pumpkin

Pumpkins don’t have to be totally orange to be ripe but my tried and true method of knowing when they’re ready to pick is when the outer skin is hard enough that my fingernail doesn’t easily poke through it.  I love that several articles I read said that when the pumpkins are ripe, summer is almost over. I guess that’s true if the goofy gardener didn’t plant them right after the last frost!  πŸ™‚

Pumpkins

Pumpkins

There are a bunch of these little pie pumpkins in the garden. I’m guessing 25 or 30 and I only planted 6 or 8 seeds . . thank goodness.

The pumpkins are growing outside the fence. I asked Vince if we could do something to keep the critters from eating them. I don’t want to give the critters any incentive to find a way into my garden. I was thinking maybe we could build a little chicken wire fence around the vines outside the garden but Vince’s idea was so much easier. He ran over all the vines with the mower. Do you not remember that I wanted to put a fence around those?  

 

Georgia Candy Roaster

Georgia Candy Roaster

I’ve been so tempted to pick this Georgia Candy Roaster. I’ve never tried it but it isn’t ready yet and I’ve talked myself out of picking it. It’s right by my path in and out of the garden and any day now, I’m going to reach down and grab it before I can stop myself. It’s more like a winter squash and the skin needs to be hard before it’s ready .. and it isn’t ready yet.

Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti Squash

The spaghetti squash are getting as big as those in the grocery store and I’m also wanting to pick those. I suppose not getting tomatoes, which I should be getting this time of year, makes me want to pick something . . anything . . whether it’s ripe or not!

Like the pumpkins, the spaghetti squash will be ready when my fingernail doesn’t easily puncture the skin. I haven’t even tried yet because I know it isn’t ready .. I just want it to be ready!

Squash Blooms

Squash Blooms

Look at the size of that squash blossom!

Pumpkin Blossoms

Pumpkin Blossoms

The pumpkins are still full of blooms.

No matter how many blooms, no matter how many not yet ripe pumpkins and squash, I know that until they’re ripe and ready to be picked, I can’t count on anything but I am thankful that there’s enough potential to give me hope because I’d be pretty sad if all I had this year were tomato plants.

Mr. Bargain Shopper

If I find a good deal, I’ll stock up .. remember the cans of lychee I found at Aldi? But I’m not going to spend hours and hours looking for the lowest price on something. It’s a hobby for Vince and I don’t mind him doing it so long as he doesn’t buy 24 coffee pots just because he thinks he found a great deal. I’m going to use all those cans of lychee . . eventually. Seriously, on a hot day after working out in the garden, ice cold lychee is almost as good as ice cold watermelon.

Last week, the same day my soil report came in from A&M, I went down to the local ag store, report in hand. Thankfully, a guy, maybe the owner, was in there and he knew what he was talking about. One of the things he suggested was chelated liquid iron, which has already made a huge difference in the way the okra looks.

Iron

Iron

Vince said “We could have ordered it for less!” and I explained that if I were buying a truck load, yes, I would have looked for cheaper but one thing I appreciate is their knowledge. They help me out when I need something for the chickens, or the garden, or bugs and it’s one of the ladies who works in there who takes care of the chickens and cats when we’re away so I am happy to support that business.

I bought a gallon of the liquid iron and it was $17.49. That was on Monday and by Wednesday, I had used it all and only a few of the fruit trees had been sprayed. Saturday Vince and I were headed to town and I said “Can we stop by the ag store and get more iron?” Grumble, grumble . . it costs less if you order it online! Well, I need it now, so we stopped.We didn’t quite experience the knowledge that I’m willing to pay extra for because it was just young guys working in there. There were no more gallons on the shelf. I knew right where it had been just a couple of days ago. They guy working said “We don’t carry it in gallons.” Hmm .. I just bought a gallon two days ago. He looked at the other guy and said “We’ve never had it in gallons.” So now, Vince is telling me (1) I pay too much for stuff buying it there and (2) I don’t know what I’m talking about. I was so sure I had bought a gallon of that stuff but we ended up with a quart for $7.99. Darn! That made that gallon for $17.49 pretty cheap!

I came home and went straight to the trash can in the garden. Yep! One gallon empty jug! Went to my car and found the receipt. I showed it to Vince. He said “We’ll find it online for less if you’re going to be using a lot of it.”

Well, we couldn’t find it for less. There was one place that had it for a few pennies less than $17 but shipping was right at $15 for one or $54 if I ordered 8 gallons. Most places were closer to $20/gallon. I felt vindicated and even if they had been just a few $$ less online, I would still buy locally because I think that’s right. I never mind ordering things when I either can’t get them locally or the only place I can find them is Walmart. While they do provide jobs for lots of people (including one family very close to me!), I spend enough with them that I don’t feel bad ordering online instead of going there.

Think about it – yarn, spinning wheels, knitting needles -those are my big purchases and I can’t get that locally.

Vince was going to town today and I asked him if he would stop by the ag place and see if they would order more liquid iron and be sure the price was still in the $17 range. I was thinking maybe they had that stuff sitting around for a long time and the price might no longer be $17.49. Even if it wasn’t, I just wanted to know before ordering.

After lunch, I got this email from Vince:

Judy,

What’s her name was there and she ordered us a case at $17 something a gal.  Will be there tomorrow.

Love

V

That tells me he doesn’t have a clue what the lady’s name is that takes care of the place when we’re gone!  I think it’s funny. She’s so good about remembering names and I’m betting Vince still has names running through his head trying to remember her name. She was the vet tech at the first vet we used here and I loved her when she worked with Speck.

It takes a couple of gallons of the liquid iron to spray all the fruit trees, the plants in pots and the entire garden and I need to use it every couple of weeks til we get the pH down in the soil, which isn’t really ever going to happen as long as our sole source of water is well water and that’s going to be our sole source of water unless it rains.  πŸ™

Funny how 10 days ago, I never though anything about chelated iron liquid and now it’s something else that I have to have!