Friday, July 17, 2015

First Tomato--Something to Celebrate

It's been awhile since I posted here at Spicebush Log. The last post in mid-April. Spring is always a busy time, this year especially so. My 93-year old parents had some health issues and we are committed to helping them stay active and independent as long as possible, which includes staying in their home of 60 years. It's the place I grew up in and learned about nature, bird song, playing barefoot outside, growing vegetables and animals, caring for the planet and people. That place is as special and important to me as it is to Mom and Dad. I want them to stay there--a nursing home is just not an option. But it takes some time and energy, thus less time to write here at the Spicebush Log.

Other things have intervened as well. Last fall we finally completed foundation drains around our house, something we should have done when we bought the place 20 years ago. Since the front of the house was all churned up last October, I asked my landscaper friend Patty Laughlin at Lorax Landscaping to create a design that included pollinator and edible plantings (e.g., highbush blueberries) and a walkway to our front door. That plan was implemented in May and we've been watering new plants and enjoying the results ever since.
Then it was vegetable garden planting time and we decided to install a solar-powered electric fence to keep out the deer. A local farm -- Walnut Grove Farm in Lee, NH -- sells all you need for electric fencing. It was simple to install and so far the garden is deer free.
What finally motivated me to sit down and pen this post was the ripening of our first tomato of the season. Something to celebrate!
The tomatoes are growing well despite a cool stretch of weather in June and into July. However, the eggplant and peppers were stunted during that period and struggle to put on height. The same is true for the okra, so I covered them with Reemay and in just a couple days they are looking healthier.
As happens with gardening, we are already getting overloaded with summer squash and broccoli, but that feels like a good problem to have. The greens--Swiss chard, beets, kale, arugula, lettuce--are all doing well, as are basil and cilantro and the other herbs along our new walkway.
I'm feeling good about the gardens this year. We've kept ahead of the weeds, the solar electric fence is keeping deer at bay, tomato hornworms have not yet appeared, and we harvest a handful of blueberries each morning for our granola. 


  1. It's wonderful to see a posting to your blog after a several month hiatus. You have been missed!
    Just like your first tomato is something to celebrate, so is the return of postings to your blog!

  2. Hi Ellen,

    Nice to see your blog active again. I made a guess that much of your time was being devoted to your parents. I hope that they are doing better. Congratulations on your great looking garden and also on all the new work you've done on it. As much as I like all our food bearing plants it's also nice to have flowers and other plants that attract pollinators. We actually have spent an inordinate amount of time watching bees and wasps, and the more occasional butterfly, on our mountain mint. We never planted them particularly for pollination purposes but it is an added bonus to our bee and wasp watching.

  3. Hi Ken,

    Great to see your note. I've really missed blogging and reading your posting and other blogs. When I stopped writing for a period I also got some writer's block. I think I'm back, in part because there is so much happening during the summer months. I've gotten interested in bees and their kin. This summer I plan to spend more time studying them and other insects in our yard.

    Glad to be back.

    Thanks, Ellen

  4. Hi John,

    Thanks for your kind note. It feels really good to be back posting images and experiences and thoughts on my blog and re-starting my connections to your blog and others. It's been awhile since we've been on a good long hike, but I think we'll get out on a long trail sometime soon. Glad to see you are still posting great stories about your adventures.

    Regards, Ellen