As many of you know (I hope), I write a column every week for the Sunday Life Section of the Rocky Mount Telegram. I’ve just submitted Column #300. How do I know this?
I number my columns when I save them on my flash drive. I’m in year six, with Column #1 dating Sunday, October 14, 2012.
Three hundred ideas for 300 columns. Hope I can think of 300 more.
Now for a different kind of progress report. “Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow?” Well, good and not so good. My cucumber vines are robust, as usual, but the cucumbers themselves are just a tad bitter this year. I read up on causes and extremely hot weather can be a reason. Someone set our state on broil in recent weeks (I got that clever line off Facebook), so I’m guessing that’s why my cukes are a tad off this year.
A less than stellar cucumber crop pales in comparison, though, to what’s happened to my tomatoes this year. Look at these vines. I know I overcrowded the plants, squeezing four into an area where maybe only two should have gone. (It’s hard to believe they’ll get this big when they’re seedlings.) But I don’t understand such wilted, dying vines. I’m getting a few cherry tomatoes, but I think I can kiss those big Better Boys goodbye.
Now for the good gardening news. My okra plants are thriving. I’ve never tried growing okra before. My husband doesn’t like it in any form, stewed or fried, so I haven’t had a real incentive to plant any. But on a whim this year, I picked up four seedlings. Glad I did. I like okra in all its forms.
My squash plants are also coming along, which is a little surprising to me. I planted squash as an afterthought, simply digging an at-the-time wet, muddy hole in the shrub bed and plunking in a couple of hills.
Yesterday, I walked around my backyard and picked several cucumbers, a few cherry tomatoes, and my first okra and squash. Before putting everything in the refrigerator, I arranged a still life of my produce and snapped a picture.
Despite some setbacks, looking at this photo makes me feel like a real backyard gardener.