Friday, May 14, 2010

How in the world do people keep gardens in windy places? So far I have lost a few tomato plants and an entire row of fencing for beans/peas to the wind. I’ve started trying to set out my plants to get some sunshine and fresh air, but the wind just tears them apart. Is this normal? I’ve never had to worry about my plants being massacred by 30 mph winds all afternoon, and let me tell you, I wish I didn’t have to now. It almost makes me scared to put my plants out. If I could just garden indoors I would. But… I can’t. My tomatoes and everything else that is inside are growing like crazy and I’m running out of room fast.

So… for any of my readers who may have some of the same experiences I am having – how do you deal with it? How do you stake or cage your tomatoes so they don’t just blow away? How do you wind-proof fences and trellises for peas, beans, cucumbers, squash, and flowers? I can’t build a wall or plant any sort of permanent windbreak, but I suppose I could probably try to plant all the corn on the west side of the garden. Since the wind goes west to east mainly, maybe that would break some of it up once the corn gets high enough. I’m definitely open to suggestions.

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Saturday, May 15, 2010

Yesterday, for fun, I decided to hit the garden center at WalMart. I was expecting to see a small variety of tomatoes, peppers, squash, and maybe some herbs, but geez was I surprised! Did you know that for $3.25 you can buy 6 little 5” stalks of corn to plant? Ouch! No wonder people think it’s so expensive to garden. Besides the fact that they were asking so much for something so cheap and easy to grow, there was also the fact that YOU DON’T TRANSPLANT CORN in Michigan. All the farmers around here are just now getting their corn into the ground, and guess what they grow it from? Seed! I have already planted three wide rows of sweet corn today, and hopefully I’ll be able to plant a few more this afternoon.

I’ve actually done a bit more than that, though, believe it or not. My boys helped me dig up the flower garden (again!) and replant some flowers. Did you know that chickens, ants, and other unseen creatures LOVE to eat seeds? Yeah, well I guess I’m still learning. So we planted some that were started a couple weeks ago. Hopefully these will take off now. I have a lot more seeds for flowers, but I’m really short on space in the diningroom/greenhouse. Maybe I’ll just have to wait until I get the tomatoes and peppers out to start some more flowers. This afternoon I would like to go get some of the bricks that are just piled up willy nilly in the barn and use those to line the flower garden with.  Maybe then my two year old won’t go plowing through the dirt like a bat out of hell, tearing up all of my hard work. Yeah, right.

Yesterday I also stopped in front of the library to do a quick internet search on tomato gardening in high wind areas. I found that in the Texas plains, they use tomato cages and wrap them with clear plastic or small-holed mesh, then when the tomato begins to outgrow the bounds of the cage the plastic is taken off. I think this is brilliant. My only problem now is finding some cheap plastic to wrap them with. Well, plus cages. I think I might use some of the wire fencing I found in the barn to make cages with. Maybe I’ll post on Craig’s list for some used wire. Another thing they said was to use rebar or long wooden slats as stakes to hold the tomato cages in place so they don’t blow away. Add rebar to the list. Hehe. Yeah, I really don’t think I’m going to go out and spend a ton of money on stakes and whatnot, but I’ll try it on a few of the plants to see what the difference is.

I didn’t find anything that said corn would make a good windbreak, but I’m trying it anyhow. Can’t hurt, right? All the corn is going on the west side of the garden. I still need a LOT more ground tilled up, and the little tiller we have available to us courtesy of our landlords/friends just won’t break the ground apart as well as a tractor. There’s too many weeds and whatnot growing. The land has been fallow for what looks like at least a few years. And with the high clay content in our soil, it needs to be busted by discs. I baked some banana bread the other day, so I’m hoping to go suck up to my neighbor a bit more tonight and see if he’ll come over and till for me. I’m crossing my fingers.

It’s a beautiful day out today, and I can’t wait to get back outside. Come on, kids, wake up from your nap already!

Toodles!

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