The good, the bad and the dying

Ahhhhhh, a fresh homegrown tomato. They are sweet, succulent even. A good tomato, still warm from the summer sun evokes memories of my Paw Paw’s backyard. He lined up tomato plants against the back of his Mississippi home, catching the morning rays. His plants were full of red little candies waiting for the picking. He wore a long-sleeve, button up shirt with pressed pants everyday of his life, to include days he worked in the garden

I wish that my tomato growing was so graceful. Maybe if I wore a straw hat like so many southern gardeners do, that would make my gardening a little more precious. Instead…I sweat. A lot. I kill plants. Often. I cuss. Sorry mom, but I do. I have dirt under my nails constantly.

When I do grow a magical gym in my garden, I treat it as if it were the Hope Diamond. I harvest the single item, bring it to my husband to behold. I wait until the neighborhood children are nearby so they can witness the enormous bounty.

And then, I cut up the single tomato to find a worm or some other foreign substance, making the tomato inedible.

Okay, maybe it isn’t that dramatic. But this year’s garden has been a huge disappointment. I’ve heard the locals saying it’s because we had a heat wave in May, it caused all of the plants to grow too fast too early. And it is my first year to garden in my red clay soil, many tell me that first year gardens never provide much fruit. Oh, and there was that accidental fertilizer incident where I burned half of my garden by over fertilizing.

With that said, I have a few photos to share with you of the good, the bad and the dying…

I have a few squash plants that are chug chug chugging along. They aren’t producing 20 squash per plant or anything like that… maybe 5 squash total. But they’re alive and they are trying to produce. And they look pretty in my yard.

I was very excited to see my first zucchini of the season, and a few additional flowers. Only to discover the plant laying on the ground, rotted yesterday. I pulled it up, and the root just fell out of the ground…covered with termites. Termites??? I’ve never had that happen in a garden, it sorta scares me. I guess my zucchini plant is toast.

I cried, hit my fists on the red clay asking ‘Why? Why? Why?’

Then I remembered the pretty tomatoes directly across from the dead zucchini. My spirits perked as I searched for the perfect tomatoes to photograph. Can you believe there are so many green tomatoes that I actually got to choose which one to take a picture of?

I talked softly to the girls and begged them not to be eaten by a worm.

We have several banana pepper bushes. My husband loves these canned. Some bushes are growing like gang busters.

But others are having a problem. I warn you, this is vegetable carnage…

It hurts my soul to see this. I’m assuming a worm/grub type of critter is causing this, but I’ve never found a worm on the plants. Whatever it is, it has done the same thing to every bell pepper on the plant.

Does anyone know what I can do to avoid this? And how to get rid of termites in the garden? These are both new gardening issues I have never faced, I’m stumped on solutions.

The basil is mediocre at best. Not the bushes of basil of years past. I’m thinking of replanting these in a container to give them richer soil. I have always had huge, beautiful basil…mediocrity is unacceptable! (That’s my motto by the way).

The rosemary, ahhhh glorious rosemary. This is planted a mere 2 feet from the basil, in a separate little garden area. The lighting is the same, the soil is seemingly the same, but somehow the rosemary just loves this little patch of earth. It is growing like crazy, smells up the whole front yard and makes me want to invent more and more rosemary recipes.

Gardening is a labor of love. Some days I love it more than others, but ultimately when I serve dinner and even a single vegetable is from my very own garden…it was worth all of the effort.

Garden on ladies and gentleman, garden on.


This entry was published on July 16, 2010 at 10:43 am and is filed under Squawkings. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

One thought on “The good, the bad and the dying

  1. My basil is dreadful here in Missouri also! Maybe too much water. I’ll try putting it in a pot like you said.

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