Sunday, July 31, 2016

Gardening--I might as well laugh...

My green thumb has to be a recessive gene, because I have more trouble trying to grow food here in Arkansas than anyone should have to. I keep trying though. One day I am going to figure this out and will have the world's greatest crops to eat all summer, have a pantry filled with canning jars and a freezer brimming to capacity. At least that is what I dream about.

Granted, this year, I didn't put much effort into it. Since my husband, John had a stroke a year and a half ago, I've been relegated to chief household chore meister, cook, therapist, and animal tamer--we have cats. Truthfully, I'm lucky to get the yard mowed. I did however, get a container garden going on the deck. I planted some tomatoes, peppers, herbs, and a couple of flowers. The result is, as always, a mixed bag.

This pot of Basil, that I shall call "Count," fills a huge 20" pot, shown left, with its intoxicating scent, is attractive all on its own. It would be a success story for anyone, but the beauty of it is, I didn't do a thing. This was last year's garden plant, wintered over inside. The plant died--I have very little luck keeping Basil growing all winter. When I cleaned my sun porch this Spring, I placed this pot on the deck. The seeds that had fallen previously began to sprout and this is the result. I just love how it turned out.

I think it is time to make a little pesto, yes?

You can't get much more neglectful than this pot of Bermuda grass, at right. I call it "Shorts." I actually hate this stuff because it invades every garden and tries to wipe out every plant I have ever dug into what little soil I have.

This stuff is a scourge, for sure, but doesn't it make a pretty plant when it is contained in a pot?

At least that was my thought.

I have no idea what was growing in this pot before. I suspect a tomato plant, but whatever it was, it is long gone.

Shorts will be having an abortion the moment I see seeds form. And, it will be cremated in the Fall. But for now, I kinda like it.

One of my success stories, except for last year, has always been my favorite Serrano peppers. This year is no exception.

I just love these things. The heat is just about perfect. They might be a touch hotter than jalapenos, but it is a different kind of heat. And, they have such a wonderful flavor when cooked. They make delicious salsa, taco seasoning, and can be added to chili, or any other tomato-based dish.

This plant, "Peppy" like Count, is from last year. I dug it out of the garden and brought it indoors. I got a pepper or two while it was inside. It was really happy when I brought it out in the Spring, once it was warm enough. Peppers don't like the cold, so I was careful to monitor the temperature before I subjected Peppy to his new environment.

I think he liked it, because almost immediately, he started growing flowers and making babies.

And then there are the tomatoes, the one thing I really want to grow more than anything. For some reason, I am just unable to make it happen. This is one of several I have in pots on the deck. Thank goodness for the farmers in the area that are much more skilled than I. Only once in the 11 years that we've lived here have I canned tomatoes. A friend, who is no longer with us, was overrun with tomatoes and donated to my cause.

These pictured above happen to be Black Cherry tomatoes. The plant was doing really well, growing some beautiful fruit that was just nearing its ripening phase when I saw a rotten varmint squirrel carrying off the one I had been eyeing for weeks, in its fat little cheeks. This literally means war. I've begun playing Annie Oakley with a BB gun and mostly I just scare far! As much as I love little animals, I see squirrels as evil thieves.

Anyway, a little fertilizer has encouraged this plant, "Tommy" to begin again. I still have high hopes for my garden.

A green bean plant seeded itself in the garden, which I have totally ignored this year. I've harvested one bean from it. There are lots of flowers though, so it behooves me to keep my eye on it.

And then, there's always next year.