Sunday, June 28, 2009

Of Jalapenos, Tomatos and Sunday Mornings

Good Sunday Morning to You!

The dew was lingering when I went out to the Tarp Garden this morning. It was quiet too. The Tarp Garden Guard followed me through the garden as I checked the plants.

The jalapenos were coming along. They are about half-way grown.

The tomatos were beautiful, but still not big enough for fried green tomatos.

It rained yesterday and again, we don't have to water the plants. Since there are no weeds, there is no work. Therefore, we are heading up to the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for the races. Have a wonderful Sunday!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Cucumbers Climbing Jacob's Ladder

The "we'll see" attitude is prevalent in the tarp garden.

We'll see if the cucumbers will climb Jacob's ladder.

Some believe they won't and some believe they will.

We'll see!
One thing I know for sure is that those cukes are delicious!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Water Recycling Rain Barrel Duo Is Just Awesome! And Water Is FREE!

Happy Saturday!
This past Spring, my awesome husband initiated a clean-up of a river bank that has always been known as a place for the homeless to sleep. The first Saturday we hauled out nineteen big black plastic trash bags full of glass one-litre bottles of the cheapest beer found at the drive-thru that was less than a block away. All that glass was recycled. By the time the project was complete for the year, our names had been in two newspapers and my husband had been interviewed several times. He's a hero that way.

That's when I started noticing how much we recycle. I knew we took a recycling bin to the curb each week full of glass, cans, and plastic. I never thought it went much farther though. We do much much more.
One of the things we recycle is rain water. We water the tarp garden with buckets of water filled from the rain barrels. Last year, we had to water the garden twice from our city water source. That's twice all summer that we had to pay for the water we used to water the garden. I don't know what that means in money. I do know that rain water is better than city water. And recycled rain water is free!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Tarp Garden Guard Has to be Vigilant!

The Tarp Garden Guard must be ever-watchful. Things can change in seconds and the Tarp Garden Guard must be ready!

Flipper is our ten year old cat and we've hired him to be the Tarp Garden Guard for another season.

He didn't have a particularly good evaluation last year. He drank all the water before the plants could get it! He was also caught sleeping several times. This year we hope to have better results. I hope he'll cooperate. He's not the most cooperative kitty I've ever met. In fact, he's a "my way or the highway" kitty. Very difficult indeed.

I am happy to report that his work, up to this point, has been satisfactory. No vegetables have turned up missing during his watch. He helps point out where weeds try to come up through the same hole as a good vegetable plant. He usually naps near them!

Monday, June 15, 2009

YES! We Have Cucumbers!

Over the week-end, we found three cucumbers and they were READY!!

Oh, they were delicious!
The first picture is a yellow blossom. The cucumber is growing right at the base of the flower.
The second picture is one beautiful cucumber almost ready to be plucked!
The third picture is the entire cucumber section of the tarp garden.

The cucumbers were carefully trained to grow up and over a rack. The rack had a former use and was to be thrown away. It was re-purposed and is now the cucumber rack. Things don't have to be brand new in the tarp garden.
You don't need many plants either. I think we have four cucumber plants. That is plenty for us. We are a family of three and our garden supplies us and our neighbors. I take a basket or two of assorted goodies to work as well during the season.
People enjoy home grown produce. When you get a bite of one of these cucumbers, you'll quickly learn why!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Rows for the Tarp Garden Should Be STRAIGHT

Our late friend Grampa always sparred with us when it came to our gardens. He would plant his garden and tell us how to make sure the rows were straight. We would plant our garden and tell him how fast the tomato plants were growing. Whenever it got down to putting up or shutting up the arguments would die down and we'd focus on something else, like solving the world's problems. We've been missing him. He was 87 and he lived a good life too.

I guess straight rows are important and maybe for no other reason than for the sake of organization. In the tarp garden, before putting down the tarp, one should trapse through the garden to make two ditches with a hill of sorts in the middle. We have called it, "stomping the rows". It's just our way of making the rows. The area that is stomped becomes the ditch that allows the gathering of any excess water. As soon as the rows are stomped the entire garden is covered up with the tarp. The straight rows are revealed as we lay down the bricks in the ditches.

Monday, June 1, 2009

The Beginning of the Tarp Garden

The Tarp Garden was started when I was pregnant with our sweet baby boy. Christopher will be twenty at the end of this month. The Tarp Garden was started out of necessity. We had always had a garden, but the summer I gave birth, I was unable to get out and weed the garden. I don't think I had ever read The Good Earth, but that's another story.

This man came along one day and offered to weed our garden. My husband quickly jumped on the notion and we paid the stranger twenty dollars for cleaning it up. He only asked for fifteen. There were so many weeds! Wow!

That weed-ridden garden has never happened again.

We till the garden with a front-tine rototiller. We cover the entire garden with black visqueen. Visqueen is an odd word. It is a thin sheet of plastic film and black in color. It is thick enough that it won't tear unintentionally and thin enough to maneuver around in the garden.

We happen to have a number of red bricks because my husband is in the construction business. He can't bear to dispose of old brick when a house is torn down, so they come home to our house.
They're handy as we use them to hold down the visqueen.

Marking the rows is next,,,,but we are tired right now and need to rest. Stay tuned.