25 Oct

News from the Farm

Dear City Cousin Steve,

We took great comfort in hearing how your harvest progresses. Ourselves, we put the ripe maters on the garage floor, on paper or cardboard. We’ll put them in a paper sack or wrap them loose in paper if they aren’t ripe to get the bacterial bath going. They’re slowly but steadily rolling in–the wet weather’s here and we’ve been pulling them as soon as they’re pink, before too many can crack or the slugs can get them. I think, from our “compact” sauce tomato plant that grew to a compact 4′x4′ space (and that was with me hacking it back), we’ll pull in about 25 lbs. We’ll let the Sungold cherry keep popping them out as long as it likes, harvesting as it produces.

We have a hawthorn in the uppermost corner of our tetrahedonish back yard where I also heap leaves that decompose (which don’t include the oak leaves from the grandfather oak next door) and grass clippings (yes, I snip each blade with scissors, because all life is important and deserves to look its best). The hawthorn’s job is to drop dead spiny branches on me or hide trunk spikes just outside my peripheral vision. But it’s the only tree actually in our back yard–all the rest are neighbor trees overhanging our fences, so the wife says it stays. And heaven knows you can never have too many nemeses.

I was surprised to dig out about 8 pounds of yellow finns from our sprawling potato plants last Saturday. In a good year, the 4 plants would have produced much more, but this wonky summer boosted foliage growth for the tomatoes, not leaving much light for 2 of the potatoes (and never giving the eggplant a chance). I need to read up on storing them. I only brushed off the dirt and put them in a paper sack in the garage. I don’t think there’s an issue with a little dirt left on potatoes after harvest, but want to check. We have a dedicated 2′x5′ raised bed in the back yard (a sort of gated community for our potatoes) I hope will be more prolific. I’ll gather those in the next couple of weeks.

It was a good year for beets and peppers, a moderate year for basil (we grew Genovese, globe, and holy), and mediocre for pole beans and carrots. The carrots partially suffered from crowding by mutant marigolds, partially from the cool weather, and partially from poor soil in a raised bed that I think has been infested and is being drained of nutrients from below by neighboring tree roots. Or a subterranean inter-dimensional portal.

Otherwise, Aunt Lou and Uncle Marion send their best. Marion’s gout is receding like the economy and he says he’ll be marathoning in no time while Lou is on pins and needles waiting to hear back on her doctoral candidacy. Luckily, Mom and Dad still aren’t talking to each other. And Wags the pig lives up to his name every time we mention your’s. Look out for the dust devils and don’t let your students fill your head with nonsense.

All the best,

Suburban Country Cousin Kurt