Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Gardening Update

I haven't had a gardening update for a while so here is a view of my Victory Garden, or Obamagarden for those inclined to view this dig for victory thing with some scepticism. I read last week that Michelle Obama got dug in at the White House but we here on Ramrod Key aren't just followers of fashion in these things I've been trying to grow my own vegetables for months.My original attempt located the beds I built underneath my stilt house putting the seeds and plants too far out of the sun, especially in the heart of winter so I relocated the beds into the so-far empty lot next to my house. This has been a Very Good Thing.I was eyeing the cauliflowers wondering about making some cauliflower cheese such as I enjoyed as a child in England. My wife who has not enjoyed the benefits of English boarding school life and grew up in Palo Alto California looked a bit dubious at my suggestion.
"I've been reading about mashed cauliflowers, "my wife said as we peered at the large yellow brain-like structures surrounded by foliage. "You should like that." She said it rather in the way of an accusation because I don't think progressive parents subjected their offspring to cauliflower in the Palo Alto of the 1960's. I was trying to cope with an institutional diet that included canned sardines on toast and pink jello in my English boarding school. Mashed cauliflowers sounded promising to my weird palate. "They should taste like potatoes according to the book," she said. Then we discovered a new problem."When do we pick them?"my wife asked and we peered some more. "Perhaps before they change appearance...?"
The lettuce has been a rip snorting success. We pulled the leaves off the tall one and had several meals garnished by our own leaves. I've been prancing in to work with home grown salads often enough my colleagues are starting to express their boredom at my elation:These canal side lots used to be worth anything up to $400,000 in the recent bubble economy before American International Group reduced us all to medieval serfdom and you can see my neighbors' boat trailers parked amidst the flourishing weedery in the middle of the lot. Elena came over to inspect the vegetables on a recent inspection trip to their canal home and she noted no one has been seen in the lot for years. Each spring I inspect the tax rolls hoping for a default but these people are all richer than God down here, especially when they don't actually live here.I am glad I get to borrow a small sliver of open space to test my growing prowess. My boat spends the winter on it's trailer firmly in my lot. My fruit trees are doing well:I have had impressed upon me the importance of daily waterings so I bought a 25-foot extension hose and now i can water everything without using a watering can as an intermediary. That was a bit biblical, hauling water by hand, but I expect we should get used to it as a useful form of exercise in a post apocalyptic world. We'll be glad to have water then, never mind carrying it around like donkeys. The trees themselves have shown exciting signs of life (exciting if you are into this kind of thing). A large flower on the pomegranate, my birthday gift from Dolly:As well as flowers on the Key Lime and the lemon tree:I find it about as hard to photograph plants as I do to grow them, but here for what it's worth are flowers:
In addition my three strawberry plants have been flowering and producing berries so that they create an inducement to come down, talk to the plants and then eat them from time to time. My next problem is finding and killing the effing iguana that comes down and beats me to it, leaving stupid little "I was here first" messages on the backs of half eaten berries. The berries keep coming:Tomatoes have not been the rip roaring success we had hoped. Most people grow these things almost by accident, in spite of themselves as it were. We don't, so my wife went to the Big Pine Flea market last weekend and bought a couple of plants with specific instructions. Here goes nothing:And when in Miami recently Target yielded this upside down planter which seems like cruelty to dumb friends but supposedly the tomato plant should be delighted to hang upside down. It was a struggle of Mr Bean proportions to get the bag filled with dirt, tomato plant and hanging:My two pineapple cuttings given to me by Lisa seem to enjoy their sunnier surroundings. One is a slug and not actually producing anything, the other one is starting to show signs of potential fruit:We also have a collection of potted herbs and stuff on the deck:(the porch light was on in the background because I was leaving for work and I turn the lights off downstairs so I can turn them on at 6:30 in the morning when I get home. In case you were wondering). My wife also got a lettuce plant at the Flea Market and we stuck that in a pot. It hasn't quite got going yet though I hope it will revive soon:My jack fruit gown from seeds of a a fruit I ate at Fairchild gardens last winter are doing well. This one got a chunk eaten by that thrice damned iguana but apparently it's not to the lizard's taste happily:So there we have it.Not exactly a survival garden if it was ever supposed to be.Lean times would be upon us had we to survive on this lot, though I suppose we would have to find out if iguana meat really does taste like chicken. On the subject of taste's like chicken, it's that time of year, snowbirds are out hiking up and down the street looking very busy:Another month and it will be peace and quiet again (they will have left for Up North) except for the sounds of thudding coconuts:That will probably end up being our survival food, coconuts and grunts, which are fish. Which reminds me, my wife and I have sworn we are going to learn to kill fish for food this summer. That should be hilarious, we've each killed fish before and found nothing to enjoy about it. I prefer mine on Cuban bread at Sandy's Cafe. I like civilization. Damn AIG!