Sunday, July 22, 2007

garden update

When I began working at the community garden site, it looked like our biggest issue would be weeds or clay soil. But it appears the gophers are winning the award for biggest hassle.

Last week I discovered that they had taken down a marigold. I didn't plant them in gopher baskets because I couldn't imagine a little critter wanting to eat anything that smelled like that. Actually, they took the plant down - but then left it there, rather than pulling it into their tunnel.

Then Friday evening when I watered I discovered that one of the zucchinis looked poorly. It perked up a bit with some attention from me, but it really did look like the gophers had been circling its roots. And all this was happening dangerously close to the heirloom tomato.

Why is it that I don't mind sharing with the quail, but I really resent the gophers?

All in all, though, things are looking good. We got a very late start, planting Memorial Day weekend and up through early June, and some of that from seed. But we are taking the first of the zucchini now, and the crookneck squash have finally produced female flowers and a few infants. A few of the sugar pumpkin vines have fruit four inches in diameter. The romano pole beans are blooming, though the other varieties seem sluggish. Both pepper plants and all seven varieties of tomato have set fruit. The romas are showing some white and yellow - not just green. Actually that's an interesting story. A roma plant appeared stressed initially, didn't grow much, but set a cluster of fruit - kind of a teenage mother. Now the plant is catching up and it looks pretty good - and it will also be the first to produce ripe fruit.
The grape tomato, though, is vying for king of the jungle, with the sunflowers also in the running.

I'm glad we decided for this year, when it's really just a sample of things to come, to plant some things that are showy. People who didn't know they cared are noticing the pole beans, sunflowers, sprawling pumpkins and gourds. But I do wish that I had digital camera so I could show you with more immediacy the changes I note every time I water.

Tomorrow we meet with the city water conservation folks, to plan for future expansion.

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