Sunday, May 17, 2009

Misadventures in backyard gardening

Today as I was planting okra, a bird pooped on my head. I tried to ignore it for a while and keep working but eventually I gave up and took a shower. Now I am clean and don't want to go back out again.

I planted the okra in the flowerbed, like I threatened to do. I figure the flowers will look like hibiscus and I might just fool some people. So far my neighbors have been very patient with all of the things that grow through the fence. This might be pushing it. We'll see.

I fought with bindweed today, one patch of dirt at a time. It's pointless to pull the weed up without digging up the whole area, and then it grows back anyway, but it's worth a fight.

My false indigo is blooming. I had a real indigo too last year but the rabbits ate it before it had a chance to bloom. That's what set me off on the path of discovering the world's most foul-smelling substance, marketed to repel rabbits: a concentrate made out of putrescent egg solids. I bought a second false indigo at the Dutch Plant Farm yesterday; it has purplish blooms tinged with yellow and is a cross created at the Chicago Botanic Garden. Call me a nerd. Go ahead.

I also put composted organic horse manure in my tomato bed this afternoon (don't use fresh, it's too "hot" and will burn your plants with all of the excess nitrogen). I'll plant the tomatoes later this evening when I feel like going out again. It will involve getting tomato cages out of the shed to make sure I space the tomatoes properly, but the actual planting will only take a few minutes.

I have picked the last of the radishes, so there will be no more radish pesto or radishes with salt for my dad. They were fun while they lasted. I could plant more radishes now but I plan to use the space for beans.

A couple of years ago, I bought a stirrup hoe because I read in a magazine that it was someone's favorite tool that they could not live without. I finally figured out how to use it the other day while weeding between rows in the garden. Until then I though it was a pretty useless tool. Now I can't live without it. This is also the first year I actually spaced my vegetables properly as suggested on the seed packets, and am discovering a whole world of difference in the size of my plants and ease of weeding. My friends could tell you this, but I am headstrong and I have to learn oftentimes from my own mistakes, rather than listen to people who obviously know better, like the makers of seeds.

My neighbor around the corner told me I could snag some of his cilantro volunteers that are popping up all over the place next to his sidewalk. I am excited about that and need to remember to take a trowel and a pot when I walk the dog this evening.



Chelsea said...

Still snickering about the bird incident... He, he, he - that just happened to me too recently.

Okra blooms beautifully! (Nice leaves too) I think I may even have a photo or two over on my blog. You'll love it. It grows tall, not wide, so I don't think it will be unsightly or invasive. Actually, I think it's a great idea to take advantage of its ornamental properties.

smoo said...

I mentioned on facebook about the bird poop incident and like seven people told me it was lucky. Apparently I am going to come into some money. Lucky me! And I thought all I was going to get out of this was a shower.