Monday, May 04, 2009

The $70 tomato

I'm preparing if not for the apocalypse then at least for the food supply to be severely disrupted. The rest of you can starve, ha ha ha.

Not really.

Now that Shirley can't get inside the ducts any more, she has found a new place to get dirty. (I need to write later about Laverne and Shirley's Excellent Outdoor Adventure.) See the chunks of new dirt I dug up? As soon as the rest of those tulips bloom (back in the right), I'll dig up that area and replant those bulbs. I don't know who planted those there. Certainly not the guy who sold us the house. I don't think he even cut the grass.

It's just that farming is in my blood. I come from farm people. I can't grow a houseplant to save my life, which would make me question if I am truly an apple from my mother's tree, except anyone who has ever met her and me knows that that tree polished and placed me exactly where she wanted me to be. Still, the fact that my mother rescues almost-dead plants for pennies on the dollar from the grocery store and then coaxes them back to thriving abundant life makes me wonder why dieffenbachias shudder when they see me coming.

OK, I don't wonder. I know. But why didn't I inherit that gift? Why did I inherit the other thing? (Love ya, Mom, and you know it. But come on -- how come Jen got the you know whats and you and I didn't?)

Well, anyway. My mom grew up on a farm. Even when my grandparents retired, my grandmother had a huge vegetable garden and flowerbeds all over the place. She moved into an assisted living place a few years ago at 94 or so, but until then, was still gardening. I don't think anyone has told her that the new owners* have let the yard go to heck in a handbasket.

My house in Memphis, with my yard of the month award.

I have the farming impulse. I have been digging up the back yard so I can plant stuff. Tomatoes. Beans. Chard. Broccolini. Collards. Squash, winter and summer. Basil. I don't use that much basil but I like being a person who grows her own basil. Tarragon. Same thing as the basil. The veg -- I got things that taste better if they are homegrown (tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes), things that are expensive around here (chard, salad greens, bok choy) and things that are rare here (yard-long beans, fava beans**).

I have been working on this for weeks. It would have gone a lot faster if I had a tiller, but I don't and I'm not going to buy one or rent one. Renting one would mean I would have to complete the project in one day and I don't work like that***. I like to parcel it out in little pieces. Half an hour in one day is enough of a commitment for me. I can work on something in small chunks. Some people won't start a project unless they can finish in the same day. That's way too much work for me.

So I have been using just a shovel and my hands, digging up a plot about ten feet by 20 feet. I thought I was through. I had mixed in the peat moss, the manure and the sand. But then I got the seeds and did the math on how far apart the rows have to be, etc, etc, and realized that I didn't have enough space, so I dug up some more yard. The more garden, the less mowing is what I say.

Then I went to the Lutheran church near our house where SH and I sometimes attend and signed up for the canning classes they are offering. I have always wanted to learn how to can food. I've never wanted to do it on my own because I've been scared I would kill someone. Now I'll have tomatoes out the whatever and I'll be able to can them (even though, technically, they will be in jars) and we will have homegrown tomatoes all winter long.

* They are also the jerks in the door debacle. My grandparents built the house on the site of my great-grandmother's house. They used an antique, hollow-core door from the inside of her house in their house for the garage door to the outside. Nothing special, but old. I was going to take the door and throw it into my basement, just in case I ever needed it. It was a cool door. I had a handyman from town remove the door and replace it with a new door that fit, which just happened to be an inside door. New owners insisted on an outside door. True, the door was to the outside, but the extant door was an inside door. The only way to install an outside, solid door was to also install a new frame, which would have tripled the cost, so I said no way and had the handyman re-install the extant door, told him to keep the new door, and in addition to his fee, sent him a $60 pack of Corky's BBQ.

** Yes, SH, I KNOW you don't like fava beans, even though I don't think you have ever tried them. They are FOR ME.

*** It would also mean spending money for something I don't need to spend money on because hey I have TIME to do this and I have the tools so why would I spend money on this when I could spend it on SHOES?


Garage Door Installation said...
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TosaGuy said...

I have a backyard raised flower bed that came with the house. I have had tenents who like to garden so I let them have at it. Last year that did not happen so I had a weed patch. This year I put in a bunch of onions, radish, peppers, carrots, cucumbers and tomatoes--spent $20. I will weed it once in awhile and water once in big time soil prep...just going to let nature take its course. I imagine my backyard bunny will get more of it than I will.

class-factotum said...

Thanks, Garage.

TG, part of the expense will be the rabbit fence I intend to install. Last year, they didn't touch my tomatoes, but they ate the dill to the ground. I have already asked my back-yard neighbor to shoot the rabbits and he is amenable, but we have to get consensus from the rest of the neighbors (so far, so good) because you know how some of these Tosa liberals can be about the leetle bunnies and oh no! guns!

Wait. You've already planted? I thought it was too early.

TosaGuy said...

I planted last night. My mom in MN had planted her stuff and since the plants were sitting outside at Home Depot anyway I thought what the hell. It is part of my nature is a bitch philosphy to gardening.

I love bunnies and I love to shoot bunnies. I just have no reason to shoot mine, yet. Pellet guns work well.

What Tosa Libs dont' know is that it's non-lib residents have enough guns to outfit an army.