Friday, August 15, 2014

I have come to the conclusion.... blight happens.

Yes.... tomato blight. That's what I am talking about. Seems several people have different ideas on how to stop blight. I , like many others, started many years ago with those "easy to stack" cheap(ish) tomato cages you can get at almost any store that sells garden supplies. You know the ones...round, cone shaped, wire type? Yes, I think we all started with those, or have used them at some point in our gardening adventure. So, I went, I bought, I used. And guess what? My tomato's ended up with blight. I asked several people...many agreed it was those " nasty metal cages" I was told to wash them at the end of every season with vinegar and let them sit in the sun to dry. OK, I did that... used them the second year... and blight. So, again, I turned to my gardening guru friends. " Oh, never use metal. You need to build wooden ones." So, off to the shop, we cut and drilled, and screwed... sawdust flying.... and finally, wooden tomato cages. I proudly carried them to the garden after planting my precious tomato's.... this will take care of that blight. NOPE! Again, we get the blight. Someone else told me it was in my soil... so I planted my tomato's in a totally different area, far, far away from the previous years. BLIGHT! "don't stake them, let them grow free" BLIGHT! Treat with this... or treat with that... BLIGHT! So, I have come to the decision... Blight happens. I pull off the dead or dying branches as I see them, carry them off to the burn pile...doesn't seem to effect the tomato's really. So, yes, blight happens. I just have learned to deal with it. One thing I DO know that works.... if you plant Marigold's at the base of your tomato plants, you will NOT get tomato horn worms. You know what those are, right? Those big fat juicy green caterpillar type creatures from outer space that are as fat as your middle finger and as long, and can wipe out your entire plant seemingly overnight. They don't bite... or least I don't think they do...however, they still creep me out. When I would find them on my plants... I would break off the entire branch, just to not have to touch it. Now, I plant Marigolds. They glow with their sunny little heads and keep those creepy alien worms from my plants. I no longer go out to the garden and slowly creep up on my tomato plants looking carefully to see what might lurk in there. Besides....we all need a little "pretty" in the garden, right? So remember this next year.. when you plant your tomato's, grab a few handful's of Marigold seed and spread them at the base of your tomato plants.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Summer harvesting....filling the pantry.

Oh boy! I have been busier than a one armed paper hanger! Over the last few weeks I have been working out at a local military installation as a roll player. The military staged the area to look like a bomb had hit nearby, and we as roll players are the injured, displaced citizens. The military units come in, set up decontamination tents, medical tents, etc. and run us all through. The "wounds" we are given look awesome!
We act out our part, then the military does their part.... providing us with medical attention, and sending us to the Red Cross. It really is a lot of fun...some days are better than is usually very hot is the best training for our military. I love it! ( and the pay is pretty good too ) BUT.....even though I am working off the farm for 12 to 14 hours a day.. I still have the farm to take care of.. animals to feed, water, milk and the gardening to do. Whew! Now that we are done out there... I have to play catch up here! Yesterday I spent the whole day in the kitchen, from10:30 am, until 12:30 pm. Stopping only to do the chores and have supper. I was able to get 19 pints of green beans canned and 4 quarts of spaghetti sauce done. Today I will be focusing on the gardens again, tying up tomato plants....pulling weeds...and getting to whatever else needs done. Summer is winding down fast...soon it will be time to completely clear out the coops, give them a good scrubbing and all new bedding. I really need to finish the rabbit runs too! Our grapes are almost ready to pick. I have been snacking on them while working outside. They are so sweet. A great sweet sugary snack to give me that little kick I need sometimes. The sun is up..... time for me to head on out and get this day started. How is your summer harvest going?