So I left off with VPH and I venturing into Van Wilgen's -- wow is that place awesome! Our first trip was on a Sunday in late April/early May. I'm astonished that I'm the kind of person who likes to wander around a garden center. VPH is not. He continues to point out the other husbands trailing behind their wives pushing the carts and mentally calculating what they're going to get in return for their assistance. It takes one to know one. I just read that to him and he said no, it's more of if I keep her happy my life is easier. Either way, he's wandering around in a fog. I sent him off one day to find a heather plant (Heather's garden must have a heather plant), while I searched in the opposite direction. In retrospect I have no idea why I thought he knew what a heather plant looked like, but if you sent a woman to find one and she didn't know, she would have asked. He passed about 20 of them twice, actually pulling the cart up next to the group of plants, but I didn't realize this until after I had already called an employee over to ask. Once I joined him I looked down and said, never mind, tell her I found it (and you're an idiot, but I kept that to myself). We made a few more trips to window shop, I started buying herbs to feed my addiction, and we continued to watch the grass grow.
Our first purchases in terms of vegetable seedlings were in early May (remember I'm blogging now because I can't remember when I planted anything, or exactly what I planted): a cherry tomato seedling, a 6-pack of Celebrity tomato seedlings, a 6-pack of bell pepper seedlings, and a 6-pack of zucchini seedlings. I made a decision early on to keep the vegetable garden as a container garden. I had no idea what kind of soil we had and the veggie garden area has a series of stumps left from our neighbor's hemlock trees which were removed last summer. This is another reason that we're suddenly using the yard. The hemlocks (which were infected with woolly adelgid) blocked nearly all the sun from our yard and dropped pine needles and sap on anything we put out there. Their removal was a mixed blessing because we can now see all of our neighbors' houses -- and the condos going in at the end of our street -- but we can also see the sun in more than the 5 square feet of yard that it used to hit before the removal of the trees. The stumps seemed like the perfect place to put containers since they're all large and relatively level.
Here's a shot of one of the houses that we can see now (on the left). I hope that they don't look out their windows at us enjoying our yard, but since we're not out there sunbathing nude or anything I wouldn't be embarrassed if they are!
I planted the cherry tomato seedling in a self-watering hanging basket, in part because we have the smartest, most dexterous raccoons ever know to man (they appeared in force when the condos started going into the previously woody and overgrown space at the end of our street). It's hanging on a 7 foot tall iron shepard's hook, so I'm reasonably certain I will actually harvest cherry tomatoes this year. I have been warned that squirrels can climb shepard's hooks though -- just another thing to worry about. My mom told me recently that we, as gardeners, are locked in a constant struggle with the very forces of nature. I would add that it appears to be a losing battle (poison ivy is winning the fight for our hillside and driveway, but that's a post for another day).
Here's a series of photos of the cherry tomato plant:
How long does it take for a cherry tomato to ripen? Have I mentioned that patience is not exactly one of my strengths?
Up next the tomato seedlings.