I don't know why I try to do things like start a garden. There are perfectly good farm stands at which I can buy lovely tomatoes, zucchinis, lettuce, etc. I must love the challenge. And the reward. Though if you can recall last year, the reward for my meager gardening efforts was a single, unripe cherry tomato--harvested just before my tomato plant was stolen. This year, I took a different tactic. I'm obviously not skilled enough to grow something from the seed. So I didn't even try. I planted my seedlings: two tomato plants (one roma, one big boy or whatever they're called), one cucumber plant and one zucchini. This time I planted them in the ground, hopefully not in a part of the yard with toxic remnant traces of lead in the dirt. The govenment came by last year and digged up one half of our yard to remove the lead. Let's just assume that the other half of the yard is lead-free, even if it's far from weed free.
As you can see, this half of the yard is where the snakes hide. It is a vertible forest. If Wayne Szalinski's shrunken kids got lost in this or any part of our dissheveled yard, they'd be goners. There aren't any scorpions, but there are very, very large garter snakes and chiggers and probably an opossum and a couple raccoons. But Lord are there chiggers. For all my life I harbored under the assumption that there are no chiggers in Nebraska. I was wrong wrong wrong. I have to spray myself with deet-laced bug spray before stepping foot in the grass. A week ago, I pulled a few weeds and wope, another infestation ... because I hadn't sprayed my arms.
Needless to say, I haven't been too excited to water the plants lately. Not only has there been almost no produce to speak of, I risk onslaught by vertibrates and invertibrates alike. But I do it, tiptoeing on the retaining wall that separates the part of the yard I weeded two months ago from the rest. Check out the photo below and get a feeling for the diversity of weeds present and flourishing.
Below is the zucchini plant, which is going crazy. I just harvested the first zucchini from the plant last night. There are little flowers all over and not very many gherkin-sized squashes growing in their place. But I have faith that I'll have more zucchinis than I'll know what to do with.Then there's the cucumber plant, which is an absolute mystery to me. It's huge. It's flowering. There are no cucumbers. For a second I thought I had to find a boyfriend or girlfriend for my plant. Apparently that's not true; the flowers just need to be germinated by some bees. I have no idea, I just want so many cucumbers that I'm forced to make pickles. Tomatoes=summer. The tomatoes are the biggest disappointment thus far, because I know that no matter how many tomatoes my plants produce, I will eat them all, and because my tomato flowers have yet to turn into a fruit ... until last night. It rained over the weekend so I didn't go down to check out the plants. But last night I went down and noticed that, indeed, I had two teeny, tiny green bulbs growing out of my Roma tomato vine. Victory will be mine this summer my friends, victory will be mine.