This is a strange year. Again. Last year, it was severe drought and this year, the rain faucet doesn’t get turned off long. We seldom get three sunny days in a row. Although it makes haying very hard for Will, our gardens are loving it. Every day, I’m picking baskets of early tomatoes to save seed from. The downside is the tomato vines have gone crazy! This is the first year we’ve had to do some serious pruning of those vines. Usually, we only have to trim a few long branches that want to “hold hands” with their neighboring variety. As this can lead to cross pollination, we cut them off. This year, we are having to cut the tops off at six feet and the long vines that are actually blocking the rows from foot traffic! I think of all the folks who use those little, itty bitty, cone-shaped tomato cages that are about 3 feet high and cringe. Yesterday, our friend, Heather, came over to help and I went with her down to prune the tomato monsters. Whack! Whack! We moved down the rows, with Heather cutting the vines that were blocking the pathway and me trimming any branches that over-lapped to the “neighbor,” even if it had tomatoes already on it. If I was just gardening, that wouldn’t matter, but with the seed business, I can’t take a chance of any cross pollination. After all, we do have tons of tomatoes — more than I’ll need for canning all my tomato recipes. (We give our friends all they can use and probably more. We sent Heather home with green beans and tomatoes plus some new potatoes for dinner.
I wanted to see how our potatoes were doing so we dug a hill and found enough tennis ball and smaller new potatoes for both Heather’s family and Will and I to have a nice batch for dinner. Boy were they ever good, too!
As it’s too wet for haying, Will has been turning our “compost” pile, the rotted manure in the winter cow yard. It’s probably about 30 tons of manure so he doesn’t use a pitchfork, but the crawler/loader. By turning it and keeping it piled up, it not only composts faster, but turns into nice “black dirt” to add to our gardens with the manure spreader, come late fall. All that and the mulch we use enabled our gardens to weather the drought last year and stand the excess water, via rains, this year. Love that poop! — Jackie