Tuesday, July 21, 2009

You can't have one without the other...

Helen Keller said, "Keep your face to the sunshine and you will never see the shadows."



I have followed this advice several times in my life when things looked dark and storms were brewing all around me. The sun was my salvation, my beacon for hope. I embraced it and cast off the shadows.

Often times, simply not facing the darkness, doesn't make it go away. As I grow older (and hopefully wiser), I realize that you can't have one without the other. The sun is the mother of the shadows. Darkness is just the negative space created by illumination.

If we didn't know the dark, how would we know the light?


Sometimes the shadows are just as beautiful and necessary as the sun.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Garden Update

Wow, I just can't believe how much the garden has grown since the last post! You must see what just a couple of weeks have done for the tomato plants!





Look at all these baby tomatoes!



We even have one hiding in there that is very close to being ready!



We have picked ONE cherry tomato that looked like it was ready.



We ceremoniously cut it in half and did a little taste-test. Results: could've waited just a fewww more days, but delicious none the less!

Now a tiny ranting on the amount of maintenance the brussel sprouts require.

I metioned previously that the brussel sprouts are prone to caterpillars and that I was putting down self-rising flour, as well as pulling the little buggers off when I found them. Things seem to slow down on that front, but then...

I did a little more research on the subject and found out that I have a whole life cycle of pestilence to battle. First, a cabbage white butterfly lays 20-100 eggs on the back of the leaves, daily.



These eggs turn into larvae and start eating holes in the leaves immediately! Then, unless you go out and squish (ewwww) all the larvae EVERYDAY, they grow into those big green caterpillars which chew through the leaves at an amazing rate. And if you don't squish those, they cocoon up and turn into more butterflies, which lay more eggs...and on and on.



So growing the brussel sprouts is bittersweet to say the least. We started them from seeds and they were the first to come up, so we were very excited.

But now I am out there everyday squishing and brushing the various stages of these things off my precious plants. Brussel sprouts have a growth life of 90+ days, so I will be doing a lot of squishing until they are fully mature.

Some nights I have dreams that they have grown as tall as me with the actual vegetables abundant and hardy. Then other nights, I have dreams that they have been completely destroyed by butterflies, eggs, larvae, and caterpillars. I wake up I'm so sad that I usually have to go straight out and squish and brush to feel better.

Oh yeah, we lost the dill plant to aphids. Boo! Turns out, dill is a serious aphid attractor. Gardners actually suggest using dill as a "trap crop" around other aphid-attracting plants to lure the bugs from your "real crop" to your "trap crop." Well, it was just crawling with bugs so it had to go! I don't even think I could sleep at all if we would have left it there.

I think Jason and I have decided to plant only tomatoes from now on because they do so well and are very low maintenance.

But the most low maintenance of all are the blackberries! Look at this picture of just one tiny part of our blackberry hedge.



Mmmmm, I love love love blackberry pie! Just a few more weeks should do it!