Posted by: David | May 30, 2009

Corn & Tomatoes Planted

We’d had about 4 days of dreary gray rainy weather. Not so great for the cheer factor but wonderful weather for transplanting seedlings and stuff. So on Tuesday evening my wife and I worked together in the drizzle behind the horse barn. That’s where we plant most of our tomatoes, sweet corn, and winter squash. Sometimes we grow some cucumbers over there too. It was rather idyllic in the early evening mist.

We figured out quite a while ago that crows won’t bother the corn if it’s already grown 6 inches or so. Some years back we’d planted the corn kernels directly and the crows pulled them up and ate them just as they were emerging from the ground. They still had a little bit of the corn kernel left, and the crows really liked that. They destroyed our planting that year. So I had the tray full of seedlings about 6 inches high and she had about 3 dozen 10-inch tomato plants in quart yogurt containers. I’d done some weeding and turning with a wonderful tool that is actually not a soil turning fork, but an old fashioned manure fork, I think.

Here’s the fork leaning up against the back of the barn. It’s tired too.

It’s a wide fork, with 6 tines instead of the 4 that a turning fork has, so it’s faster. And the soil behind the barn is pretty soft, what with 14 years worth of horse manure and bedding having been spread out there. I turned and weeded for many hours. It was good exercise, took a few days, gave me sore shoulders, and I wasn’t sure that I’d turned enough to accommodate all the corn plants. I used the fork to build up 2 fluffed-up-with-horse-manure/shavings beds for the tomatoes and then used it at an angle to scratch in some rows about 3 feet apart for the corn plants. After 6 rows I ran out of cultivated soil.

So here’s the area after the planting. Note the fresh harvest of stacked rocks.

I started planting the seedlings about a foot apart. They need a lot of room to get a good grip with their roots. Otherwise a summer storm will knock them down like dominoes. Mustn’t crowd them but want to plant them all. So to make a long story short it got down to the last spot in the last row and there was one plant left for it. Ha. Woot? My wife planted the exact number of corn seeds for the area that I prepared. She says the corn talked to me. If it did I was saying WHAT?!? When it stops raining and dries out a bit, the fork and me will dig out the rest of the green stuff (a.k.a. weeds) and make some mounds to plant squash and pumpkins.

The yellow rose of Bradford.



  1. Your garden looks fantastic. Do you do any companion planting to eliminate bugs or do you use poisonous pesticides? Just curious.

    I’m trying potted gardens this year. I’ve already got three tomatoes coming and I’m so excited you wouldn’t believe it. The past three summers in El Paso everything I planted died the same week I bought it. This year I’m in control. With a little help from Miracle Gro. 🙂

    Thanks Wendy. It always looks nicer early in the season. If I can just stay on top of the weeds … The only thing we “consciously” do re: companion planting is planting marigolds at the ends of some of our beds. We don’t really have a very rigorous understanding of companion planting. What I was getting at in the post was that this year’s many volunteer plants sprouting from the garden are our totally random version of companion planting.

    Careful with that Miracle Gro, it’s pretty potent! The houseplant dilution is like half the strength or less than what you’d mix for veggies. So have a great season with your container plants. We always grow a few tomatoes in large pots too. This year my wife’s trying some variety that’s supposed to grow well in a greenhouse.

  2. Damn, I’m just going to call you Gentleman Farmer from now on. Looks amazing, GF! We’ve (and by that I mean she. I just did the lifting. Stupid me, yes. Lift heavy me, yes) planted 18 tomato plants and some other stuff (I may have been told what it was but lifting heavy things makes me ears close up).

    Now if I didn’t have to walk loudly (what I call mowing the lawn) on two huge lawns I’d be on the way to having one damn great summer.

    Sounds like you ARE on your way B&G. The lawn mowing is a chore, fer sher.

    Mind who yer callin’ a gentleman. Sir. Better’n bein’ a Man of Honor I guess, eh? 🙂

  3. Corn, tomatoes, and squash. Now yer talkin’ my language. When do we eat? 🙂

    Maybe September?

  4. I am only good for hauling…and grass cutting, but I guess I could tell the difference between a four and six tined fork…if I used my second hand for counting.

    I’d much rather be a Gentleman than a Man of Honor. I guess I gentleman wouldn’t owe money in the first place and need to call himself a “Man of Honor”… it would be implied.

    I have a contractor called “Quality Home Improvements”…which should also be implied.

    Oh I’ve read your blog and I know you’re good for a whole lot more than hauling sir! But I totally agree with your notion of the set of “men of honor” being a subset of gentlemen, to use some math terminology. Which means that there must exist dishonorable gentlemen. I think I could be one of them. Occasionally.

    “Quality Home Improvements” has a nice ambivalence to it really. Could be good quality or bad quality, right? Ever read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance ? There was a lengthy consideration therein on the meaning of the word quality. It made an impression on me as a college student.

  5. I enjoy your photography! That barn shot is great! I need to get out more and take pictures again. Most of my life’s work in photography is not digital, and it sucks scanning them in, editing, uploading, etc.

    Thanks ghetto girl, nice of you to say. I bet we’re close in age, so most of my photography is non-digital too, and scanning is a pain, you’re right. It’s tedious, but worth it. I’ve been scanning some of my old 35mm negatives … maybe you’d like these old B&W images from my 20s.

  6. I thought you were having bad weather when I saw the Americans looking up my Noah’s arch post. Isn’t that funny?

    We have had nearly 40ºC here, 104ºF, but it is the first heat wave and inside it is still cool. It killed nearly all the wildflowers, and I had to take my Begonias inside.

    Yes, it has been a cool and wet spring. Have the Americans been arguing with you about Noah again?

    We have not yet had a heat wave, but soon.

    Also, I have been thinking about getting apocalypse insurance.

  7. nice rock crop, d-lev. i think you grow ’em bigger & more nutrious there in namp-shire. i too worry about twitter rasping away the knurls around the (already beveled) rims of our attention spa– hey, look a pony. last night I found and re-read a document my great aunt and godmother wrote in 1959, recounting all she knew of our ancestors in Ireland. which was a lot. she told of the family’s preferred evening’s amusement, which was to sit around reading aloud and reciting poetry and shakespearean histories. they had committed a great deal of other people’s writing to memory and took a tremendous delight in dramatic renditions of their tales of shipwrecks and unrequited loves. she recalled being set up & supported on a table at the age of three and a half to recite a bit of patriotic doggerel for her own beloved uncle pat, who had returned unscathed from the civil war. She muses over whether today’s young people will recall with such pleasure in *their* eighties the nights spent hunched on the couch in thrall to the weekly installment of leave it to beaver or dragnet. makes ya think. anyway any one of my irish relatives would be proud of your garden. nicely made, nicely kept and nicely photographed to boot.

    Thanks vermonter for the thoughtful comment. Oh yeah. The rocks provide the RDA of uranium and several other minerals. It’s always amazing how more of them float up to the surface each year. Apparently, rocks, which most people consider to be “sinky”, actually float in frozen soil. Are they trying to get to the sun?

    Anyway, your great aunt and godmother’s document is wonderful, but makes me sad too. When I reach my 80s I doubt I’ll be remembering much of any TV shows though I’ve watched 1000s of them. I hope I remember the gardens instead. I hope that I’m still sitting in one and plucking weeds … Thanks for your compliment. 🙂

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