…and green and yellow. My thumb and my pointer finger on my right hand are currently crisscrossed with lines of brown embedded into my skin. I should wear gloves. I have not been wearing gloves. I have been picking around 150 tomatoes a day without gloves. Despite soaking my fingers in warm water and oils and lotioning and attempting all other manner of tomato dirt removal, my fingers seem unlikely to ever recover. I started wearing gloves on Tuesday. It is harder to pick tomatoes with gloves on, but I am getting better at it.
This year I have six tomato plants which I planted in the spring: Cherokee Purple, Italian Plum, Brandywine Red, Green Tiger, Sungold Cherry, and Sweet Million Cherry. The cherries are to blame for the need to pick so many tomatoes. Now, being the sort of person I am, I have also randomly taken a few of the suckers I have pulled from the plants (more cause for yellow skin patches everywhere) and stuck them into the neighboring bed to see what would happen. Since I didn’t think the suckers would live, I wasn’t terribly smart in their placement, so I had to move them again into the recently vacated onion bed when they got too big and were being crowded out by the cucumbers and asparagus in the bed into which I originally placed them. Since I was brilliant enough to take the suckers from the cherry plants, I have two single stemmed tomatoes now growing from which I will soon be adding to my tomato picking numbers. Why couldn’t I have grabbed a few Italian plum suckers?! Sheesh.
Speaking of single stemming, I think I mentioned that I have never pruned tomatoes before this year. My six plants are not even close to single stemming. Picking off suckers and trimming up the leaves from the bottoms of the plants was scary enough as it was. However, facing crazy plants growing over the sides of my beds, bending their support cages, and generally causing all kinds of havoc, I am so excited about the single stemming to come next year! This is why I went ahead and single stemmed my sucker starts after they went ahead and grew after being plopped into the dirt in 90+ degree weather and then moved again. I have to say, I think some sort of garden fairy of lucky growing has been watching over me for ages. What with just following my dad’s gardening style, never amending soil, growing things willy nilly, never combating pests, and generally letting weeds run rampant, I am surprised I have ever harvested a fruit or veggie in my life.
The trouble with starting to know that you had no idea in what you were doing before, is that there is this period of adjustment in which you start to learn all of the things you had no idea you didn’t know, but you can’t actually implement all of the things you now know you should know to make things better all at once. Right? Since I suddenly got into my garden research after I built my raised beds and had my crops mostly planted, it was too late to fix about ten million of the things I discovered I should have already known or thought about before building the raised beds or planting anything.
But, the cool thing about learning new things is that now I have so many things I can try to make my pretty darn good garden even better. So, today I am super grateful for the ability to learn and discover new things. If this were really a guide to gratitude, I would say another step to figuring out this whole gratitude thing is to never be afraid to take something you already do pretty well and learn how to do it even better. The amazing thing about discovering that there is always more to learn about things you love, is that it is really hard to be grumpy when there is so much opportunity to grow.
Oh yes, aside from the whole gardening thing, (OHHH I planted my fall plants (for the first time…who knew…more about that later) my musical finished last week, a friend I worked with in China came down from Canada to see me and spend the week, we are ripping siding off of the back of the house and fixing things up so we can paint (caulk is your friend…my friend apparently), and my front porch is finally cleaned off from the interior construction mess!
Hey, I am going to see if I can upload a video from my garden. If I can do it, will you let me know if you can hear me in the video? I have a feeling you cannot hear me. If not..I will figure that out someday, but I thought you might like a look at this garden thing I’m talking about. If I cannot get the video to upload, I will delete this paragraph, so you will never see it. Sneaky, ain’t I? Well, actually, you are the ones following me…so you are the sneakers! (Ok, I am a total goofball. I freely admit it. Feel free to point and laugh. Or point and giggle. Or just giggle/. Giggling is good. We should all do it more.) Oh yes, this video is from when I first planted the suckers in the bed next to the tomatoes…now they are moved and growing like crazy. And don’t worry, the pea trellis has been fixed and the fall peas are all planted. AND I picked my first bunch of grapes today…there are so many things I could keep typing about. I will now stop. Really I will…really.
I’m just someone trying to figure out how to juggle ten acres, work, a mama with stage four cancer, and a whole lot of grumpy. This blog started out as “Grumpy Gal’s Guide to Gratitude,” but since all I really keep typing about is the garden, I figured I might as well own it! So, thanks for joining me as I try and figure out how the heck to kick myself in the booty and get on with life.