Thursday, July 1, 2010

Eating Melons, Killing Rabbits

I got some melons! They are somewhat small but really sweet. New ones are growing right now as well. This is especially heartening because the cantaloupes down in my garden are suffering from bacterial wilt, which affects almost all my melons, squash, and cucumbers.

In other words,

BUT, like I said, eating melons from the greenhouse has been cash money millionaire. Here is a pic.

I know you're asking yourself, why the f*** did he pick that one to the left? Isn't it still unripe? Thanks for pointing that out. I totally screwed up when cutting out a dead melon plant. Apparently one of the plants decided it was time to shit the bed so I had to go in and cut it out. I suspect the plants were (there were four of them two to a rockwool cube) strangling each other and were also strangled by vines growing up from the floor, not to mention the weight of new melons pulling the vines down across other vines. So there I was cutting out the dead plant and I cut this one by mistake because I got confused and lost the game.

I also harvested some other stuff but before I talk about that, I want to talk about a comment I got, which was about my last post. The faithful reader (LOL WUT?) will remember that in my last chapter of this epic saga about the struggles of modern gardening, I meditated on the business of killing hornworms. The commenter said the following:

"Killing something because it is trying to eat. cool. Why not just throw them in a field? Amateur farmers who like to propagate life AND kill, i'll never get it."

Now, I'm not going to disparage this point of view, especially because it appears that I did not fully explain myself in the last post. After all, not many have the desire to read that much about my views of nature and whether anybody should feel bad about killing pests. But I should take the time to do that in this post, because I didn't mean to offend anyone by giving the impression that I enjoy killing hornworms or any other pest.

I don't like to kill the hornworms. In fact, I'd really rather avoid it, since they can't seem to die without shitting themselves and vomiting all over everything. It's disgusting. Even trying to pull them off the plants, they often hold on so tight that they get squished, and therefore mortally wounded, even before I actually kill them. After the last post, I killed 15 more or so over the next few days. By the time I got to the last ones, there were three gigantic worms and one sickly small one. The fat ones had no intention of going quietly. When I reached up I tried to pick them off and they would vomit on my fingers when I tried. I tried to pull him off with force and I don't know if it shit or just popped but it basically blew up in the air above me as I was looking up so it landed ON MY FACE. Again, feels bad man. Actually, it was more like feels mad man.

So believe me, I don't enjoy it at all. But it has to be done in some circumstances. Personally I think it's worse to spray insecticide on plants, but if I had done that, I'm sure that hardly anyone would have been troubled because massive use of lethal chemicals is for some reason more accepted. I agree with the commenter that even pests are lives deserving of respect, but by the same token, I also think plants are lives deserving of respect. Yet in my garden I weed out plants that invade on the space I have provided for my selected plants. That's what gardening is about. You have to control other predator species, and you can't give any quarter. Even in the greenhouse, where I took such great care to remove the possibility of weeds, vines grow up and choke my plants and I have to go and carefully cut them out. I don't see any reason to give the vine any less respect than the hornworm, and so I give them only the respect that I wouldn't arbitrarily kill either of them. Also, when I mow my lawn, I kill thousands of insects every time. Should I abstain from this as well?

For example, I don't have any inherent animosity toward rabbits, but this year they absolutely destroyed my beets NONE LEFT and decimated my peas and ate so much else that I don't even want to talk about it. They live in my rock pile. So I went out and bought a shotgun to do something about it. One morning I come downstairs with my boy while my wife was still asleep, and I'm getting ready to make a smoothie when I look out the window and see two rabbits on the patio. I get my child to the window to show him the cute little rabbits and instead of seeing them on the patio, they are now munching on my blueberries. ICH SEH ROT. So I put him back in the chair, get the 12 gauge and run out in my underwear ready to kill. The rabbits take off across the yard, one out of sight and the other just sitting out about 35-40 yards away under an apple tree. And he's just staring at me all cool thinking he's way out of reach. I take steady aim and let loose. BLAM. He starts doing the electric shock dance. I just did that rabbit's breeding population a favor by weeding out the one that doesn't flee far enough away. And yeah I smiled when I saw I had hit it. But only because this (gardening) is an ongoing battle and once in a while I like to see some evidence probative of my eventual (though never total) victory. All of nature is about murder and dominance between species, but it goes largely unnoticed by us because civilization has done such a good job of removing us from our original state. This is why I like what Werner Herzog says about nature:

Okay enough said about that. Let's see some more pics of what I've produced.

Grape tomatoes MUY DELICIOSO

This is the sugar snack tomato. It has had trouble with the tomatoes coming ripe, because there are probably over a hundred tomatoes trying to come ripe at the same time. So I took off one branch and hung it from the light fixture in the dining room.

The quality of tomatoes I've gotten from the greenhouse has been amazing. Oh and for all the haters who say hydroponic tomatoes don't taste good, don't speak for mine.

My kid looks at a green bell pepper I picked out of the greenhouse. We also let some ripen up to red and roasted them. Very delicious.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

So long without an update! How could I be this negligent? First my wife was on vacation visiting family (she took the camera), and then I got lazy, and THEN I stayed lazy. But the real story is that I've been unwilling to deal with uploading all this scheisse on the internet, which is essentially a series of tubes.

Anyway, before I show the progress of the plants, I wanted to put the spotlight on my latest nemesis, the green hornworm.

They were on every plant, at least a few per plant, eating tiny little fruit off the stems, and devouring leaves. Needless to say, seeing this made me a very sad panda.

You can see how they started with the smallest most tender buds and worked their way down, devouring the little infant tomatoes. As I picked each of them off, I started to feel a primal enmity between me and the worms rising up in my blood. In other words, I was losing patience with their unwillingness to come easy. Some of them would hold on for dear life and I would almost squeeze their guts out by the time I got them off and into the box which I used for collection.

By the time I had gotten all these worms (I found three more today) I realized that I couldn't just let these trespassers go. Not only could I not be assured that they wouldn't return, I couldn't bear the thought of letting them breed any further. My entschlossenheit to kill the worms was further bolstered by the fact that, before their capture, the worms had eaten enough leaves and tomatoes to have shit all over the plants themselves (though it could've been much worse I suppose). So I dumped them out on the concrete surface of our cistern and let them run for the hills for half a minute.

Then I gathered them up with a rock and smashed them.

Now before everyone starts hating on me for killing these hornworms, let me just say I don't care about the haters. You know why? B/c

There's nothing you can do about it. Of course I didn't enjoy it. When I smashed them their green blood/shit got on my leg and they popped like little grapes with juice going all over my hands. I was like LOL WUT. And of course it smelled horrible. In toto, it was actually pretty revolting.

On the growing end, much has happened since I last posted. The first to get harvested were cucumbers, which is funny since the cucumbers were the last to be planted. I think it took a mere 5 weeks for the cucumbers to go from seed to harvest. After that, I started getting grape tomatoes and jalopeno peppers. Now I've started getting regular size tomatoes. They are generally really good (especially the grape tomatoes), but some of the bigger tomatoes can be kind of mushy on the inside. I really don't know how to account for this. But it doesn't matter much because they are still good on the whole and it's nice to have tomatoes early in June.

This is the whole view when you walk in. Everything seems to be crawling along the ceiling.

This is an older pic of my better boy plant. I've started harvesting on this sucker.

These grape tomatoes have proven very tasty!

These are the blockbuster bell peppers. They are still green, and I'm going to wait for one of them to go red before I do anything, though I could eat them now.

Brandywine tomatoes. These haven't been very efficient as far as use of space goes. The early girl and better boy are far superior in this respect.

Here is my cucumber plant complete with cucumber. English cucumbers, though not quite as tasty as some varieties, are tasty even with the skin on, which I like.

Here is my favorite project. These are the melon plants (honey dew and cantaloupe). Can you spot the melons hanging in burlap sacks? There are four honey dews and four cantaloupe. I'm not sure how it will turn out, but a bad result won't be for lack of trying; rather it'll be for lack of funding, since I can't justify spending another $150 on an EC/TDS meter. I need this meter to get specific information about the nutrient concentration in my reservoirs and the PH, etc. BUT, that will have to wait until next season. Irgendwann wird es viel zu teuer! NEVERMIND, back to the pics.

I'm extremely excited about these melons and I hope they won't disappoint me. I also like my strawberries.