Saturday, May 25, 2019

Fantasy gardening

It's that time of year again. The S.O. tilled the garden space, I have starter plants and seeds, and of course I'm fantasizing about mega harvests.

What's actually going to happen, of course, is I'll be relatively ambitious for about two weeks. I'll get things planted, and then the weeds will arrive. And I'll weed, sort of, until I start noticing the damage from the chipmunks. That's when the lamb's quarter will overshadow everything else and if we're lucky I'll harvest half a dozen tomatoes sometime in late August. If we relied on the garden for survival, we'd be dead fairly quickly.

One thing that's probably going to happen is I'll have to fall back on Econo Foods again this year for tomatillos. I have a recipe for a salsa verde made with tomatillos so I decided to start some plants from seed. Not sure if I killed them through overwatering or if the wind has destroyed them when I have them outside during the day to harden. Whatever the cause, out of 16 seedlings, there's maybe only half a dozen left that might survive. Then again, tomatillos were never meant to be grown here on the tundra. They have a long growing season and need temperatures in the 70s just to germinate.

I've tried with tomatillos before. I think they're becoming my white whale of gardening. The S.O.'s fantasy used to be to grow watermelons from seed. He succeeded a few years ago. I did have some success with tomatillos when I bought starter plants from Shopko several summers ago. That was the one and only time I saw tomatillo plants for sale in the U.P. Since then I've been trying with seeds and failing. Maybe I'll get lucky this year, the six surviving plants will hang in there, and I'll get enough to produce one batch (six pints) of salsa.

The more likely scenario, however, is that the tomatillo plants will survive, they'll set fruit, and right about the time the tomatillos are ready to pick the chipmunks will discover that they, too, like salsa verde.


  1. I gave up on gardening, it just isn't for me.

  2. like you, if we plant tomatoes they don't ripen until almost the first frost. When we were living subsistence as we went to college, I found that I could wrap green tomatoes individually in news paper and store them in a wooden box in a cold closet and they would slowly ripen all the way through October.
    the Ol'Buzzard


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