Well, After the Frost, Which Was Not Quite the
Freeze the Weather Guy Had Predicted,
We Went Out Back and Pulled the Tarps.
I Was Very Pleasantly Surprised.
Everything Seemed to Survive,
(With the Exception of One Pot of Coleus Out Front.)
Helped Along, No Doubt, by the Heavy Layers of
Pumpkin Leaves Growing Everywhere Out of Nora. (Right)
The Chiles did Beautifully,
the Moisture Even Reviving a Few Plants
I Had Given Up for Toast.
You Gotta Love Nature.
Life Will Find a Way.
We're Even Seeing Some New Growth Here
After a Fairly Comprehensive Harvest Two Weeks Ago.
(We Seem to Be Growing Some Bricks as Well)
The Covered Pumpkins Seemed to Do Well.
We've Got Two Hidden in the Pine Tree.
(We Harvested Bungee Buddy)
As You Can See,
(Well, Maybe You Can't)
They're Doing Quite Well.
Huey, Dewey and Louie Were All Carefully Moved
To Nora, Where They Were Covered.
And Where They Survived.
The Sweet Potatoes
(Petite Purples Were Harvested by Furious George)
And the Multi-Variety Basil.
(What I Did Enjoy About the Freeze Was Fining Flash Frozen Japanese Beetles on the Basil.)
(Take That, You Little Beasts!)
Also, Tomatoes Survived. We're Still Not
In the Way of Harvest on the Big Tomatoes.
Once Again, Bitterman is Convinced That
We're Going to Have to Test and Renew It Over the Winter
With Money That Will Have to Be Found Somewhere.
"Gold Doubloons and Pieces of Eight,
Now Belong to Applegate ..."
Maybe I Should Get Frank and Joe Hardy On It.
They're Always Looking for a New Mystery.
Remember the Other Day?
Like, three days ago,
When it was only 101-degrees?
Well, Today it is 39.
With Low Tonight of 28.
What One of the Local Weather Jockeys
LOVES to Call:
"A Killer Frost! Did you Hear What I Said?
Which is Par for the Course in Colorado.
We've Had this Happen Before.
It Will Happen Again, and, Likely, More Often, Given Climate Change.
And, So, We Covered Everything
With 9x25x2 Tarps
(Who Now, Pretty Much, Own My Life)
And We Harvested Everything We Could.
Will the Late Tomatoes Make It Through
"The Killer Frost?"
Lord only Knows.
(Though, Once We Had the Plastic Sheeting in Place,
Fighting the Wind Every Step of the Way,
The Weather Noodge Told Us to Use "Breathable" Tarps.
There is No Winning with These Folks.
(I Think They Wait to Tell Us These Things
Because They Have a Kickback Deal With Amazon.)
We Harvested Everything that Even Looked Close,
From Petite Purple Potatoes
To Hatch Chiles (68 now and Counting!)
A Few Tomatoes
(They're Still Slow)
And a Few Last Cukes and Acorn Squash.
And, of Course,
Ten Quadzillion Pumpkins
You May Recall the "Bungee Baby"
Who Was Growing Through the Limbs of the Pine Tree?
He Had Turned Bright Orange
So We Saved Him From a Frozen Fate.
He's the Bright Orange Pumpkin
In the Upper Left
Of This Photo.
(Had to Save Him!)
I'm Hoping We Get More,
Especially From the Tomatoes,
But We'll Have to See.
It Has Been One Short and Screwy Season
Down on the Farm.
Speaking of Tomatoes,
It Seems that Young Otis Gumpox
Has Been Tasting All the Red Ones He Finds
To Make Sure They're Ripe.
We Spent An Afternoon Explaining to Him Why
This Was Not a Proper
Attitude in Backyard Farming
Not a Single One
of the Garden Guard Dogs
Bothered to Step in
And Stop Otis From Eating the Tomatoes.
I'm Not Sure
What Deal They've Cut
But It Must Be Something Good
Furious George Had the Bright Idea of Buying
A "Little Firebug Just My Size Flame Thrower."
He Decided to Sit Under the Plastic and Touch It Off
Whenever the Temp Got
A Little Too Chilly for the Plants.
It Was a Great Idea,
Even Through We Had to Cut Him Out of a Well-Sealed Package
Of Plastic Wrap
Come Tuesday Morning.
As for Mr. Bitterman, He Was Momentarily Upset
With Furious and the Flame Thrower,
But Seeing that His Drunken Assistant
Was Suddenly Vacuum-Packed,
Wanted to Leave Him Til
Spring, When We Could Open Furious "Fresh."
We Couldn't Do It.
They'' Just Have to Learn to Get Along
And Watch Each Other's Shows
in the Basement all Winter.
At the Moment it's Between "Love Island" and "The Donna Reed Show."
Also, While We Did Turn
The Main Sprinklers Off,
We Forgot to Check the Line
To Our Stalin "Little Dictator"
It Not Only Froze Uncle Joe,
But Frizzed his Hair
And Made Him Look
Now, If You'll Excuse Me,
I've Got to Start
The Gas Grill
With Furious George's Flame Thrower.
See You Next Week.
Likely, From High in a Tree
In the Next County.
So the Photo is
A little cockeyed,
but, at this point in 2020, aren't we all?
All three Gardens, Nick, Nora and Asta,
Continue to go Great Guns.
Asta and Nora are the Best,
With Nora's Pumpkins Taking Over the Yard
And Asta's Chiles Providing a Bumper Crop
(52 and Counting!)
Also, Look Closely
And You Can See
Young Otis Gumpox
Riding His Mighty Dog
Through the South 40 (Square Feet)
The Slow Movers
Have Been the Bigger Variety of Tomatoes.
They've Been Growing
in Nick, the Upper Garden,
And Have Taken Forever to Get Going.
(Depleted Soil? Low Acid to Start? Not Sure.)
(This Will Be a Re-Building Winter, For Sure.)
Here it is, August 30 and Our First Beefsteak
(At Least, I Think It's the Beefsteak, Everything Got Mixed Up in the Green House)
Is just Barely Starting to Grow.
One Fellow Looks to Have Been Attacked
Another Seems to Have Been Exposed to Radiation.
Also, after a Season FREE,
Free, I tell you,
Of Japanese Beetles,
The Little Bastards Have Come Back in a Cloud.
We've Been Hand Plucking them Off the Basil and Chiles,
Keeping Them From Sending Off
(When They're Squished)
We've Then Invited Them to Swim in Our
Community Pool with Dawn (tm)
I Should Have More Concern
For All of God's Creatures,
But I Draw the Line at
Despite the Wicked Attempts of Insects
And The Great Horse Wrigley
To Eat Every Growing Thing,
We've Had a Pretty Good Crop This Year.
Chiles are Outrageous,
As are the Sweet 100s (Container Grown)
And We're Now Getting the Yellow GE Lightbulb Tomatoes.
We've Also Done Well on Cucumbers, But
About Half Have Been Really Bitter.
Gonna Have to Look Into That.
Early This Morning,
Both Looking Somewhat the Worse for Wear,
Mr. Bitterman's New Assistant,
Joined Me in the Harvest.
She's Fresh From LA and Tested Negative,
So, Bitterman is Letting Her Harvest
What He Doesn't Want to Carry Up to the House.
As You Can See,
Pumpkins and Acorn Squash
Are Starting to Reach
The Picking Point.
This is What Has Been Passing
For Joy and Surprise Around Here.
Bitterman Simply Wanders Off to Chew On Another Leaf.
I'm Not Sure What They Are.
He Says They Came From Peru.
Meanwhile, When He's NOT Chewing on
"Bitterman's Special Leaves,"
He's Putting Up Posters of Winston Churchill
Exhorting the Plants to
"Grow, Damn You!"
As Only Winston Can Say It.
All but the Tomatoes Seem to Listen.
Furious George Has Spent His Summer
Learning About Wine
With The Bat-Shit Crazy Neighbors.
It's in a Nice Glass, Sure,
But That Shit Came Out of a Box.
(I've Known Those Neighbors Too Damned Long.)
Furious is Convinced
We'll Grow Both
Bitterman Told Him
To Keep Drinking and Dreaming.
Young Otis Gumpox has Spent
The Hot (95+) Afternoons
Watching Old Hopalong Cassidy Movies.
He's Now In a Heavy Western Phase.
Shooting Bad Guys Only in the Hand
And Then Riding Off to
The Melody Ranch
For a Song or Two with Gene Autry.
Furious George Refuses to Play His Smiley Burnette.
(This Was His First Horse, "Topper,"
Before the Mighty Steed "Wrigley' Showed Up From LA)
This Is Young Otis Gumpox's New Buddy,
A Pitty-Lab Mix Named Wrigley.
He's Saddle Broken and a Sweet Ride for Young Otis.
As Long as the Hopalong Cassidy Cowboy Outfit
Doesn't Come With Spurs We Should Be Fine.
Now, THAT is a Happy Dog!
When All This Nonsense Began,
The Little Birdhouse Was Standing Upright,
The Gardens Were Empty
And It Was Easy to Traverse
Now, Even Roscoe
Can't Find His Way Through
(Yes, He's In There Somewhere)
And, No Matter How Much He
On Pumpkin Leaves,
They Continue To Grow
Out of Control.
(I Must Say, The Container Basil is Doing Exceptionally Well!)
So Are the Sweet Potatoes,
Which Came as a Bit of a Surprise,
As I Grew Them From Seed Potatoes,
Something I Had Never Done Before
And Was Basically Guessing
At the Process.
Godzilla Appears to Have
Lost the Gnome Among
The Acorn Squash.
(At Least 4 This Year, Possibly 8 if the Season Goes Long.)
This is Vlad's Garden.
He's the Furless Sphinx Grandcat
That Likes to Explore
(With Spotters at Every Conceivable Exit.)
His Wanderings Tend to Drive Young Otis Gumpox Crazy.
As a Former Employee of GE
(We Bring Good Things to Light)
I Have Been Contracted to Grow
These Lightbulb Tomatoes.
They'll Eventually Turn Yellow
And Give the Company
Another Green Initiative to Point At
While Hoping Everyone Ignores All the Other Stuff They Do.
And For Those Of You Who Were Wondering:
The Tree Pumpkin
Continues to Grow.
Last Time I was Down There I Had to Adjust the Bungee.
It Seems the Bungee Had Lost Its Bounce.
Bitterman is Convinced the Tree Groaned for a Moment Under the Weight
As He Passed By.
We're Trying to Be Careful With Water Usage,
As We're In the Middle of a Big Damned Drought.
Furious George Is Convinced It Would be Cheaper and Safer to Switch Over to Vodka
As Fish Have "Relations" in Water.
I Don't Think We'll Go That Far, But, I May Join Him.
Young Otis Gumpox Finished
"The Umbrella Academy 2"
He's Now Determined to Write His Own
"The Colorado Home for the Exceptionally Mundane."
He Has Great Hopes.
(Ah, the Foolishness of the Young Writer.)
(Though, I Hope He Does Mention Me When He Wins an Emmy.)
As for Mr. Bitterman,
He's Tired of Readjusting Hoses and Sprinklers Every 30-Seconds.
So, He Just Bought a New Water Feature.
The Stalin Fountain Goes Well
With the Vladimir Lenin Fountain
Bitterman Found in Warsaw
If He Gets
We'll Have the Whole Set
Early Soviet Leaders!
If You Recall from Our Last Episode,
The Pumpkin Caught in the Tree
Required a Little Hammock to Protect Its Stalk.
(Here It Rests Comfortably)
I Believe Him to Be
One of Those Two-Hundred Pound Mammoths
That Mr. Bitterman Insisted on Buying This Year
As He Wanted a Jack-O-Lantern
That "Made a Statement."
(Well, Hernia or Not, HE'S the One
Who Is Going to Be Hefting
This Sunzabitch Around Come October.)
Bitterman Has Also Taken to Sowing Fries Along the Sidewalk,
All in the Hopes of Attracting New "Crow Buddies" to the Yard.
(Thank God He's Not Thinking That Sowing These Would Reap Potatoes.
We'd Have to Get Him Into One of Those Presidential Cognitive Tests.)
("That, my good sir, is an Elly-font!")
One of the Crows is Spelling Out Words in the Fries.
With this "Ey!" We're Starting to Call Him "The Fonz."
Here is The Fonz,
Beginning His Daily Message to Mr. Bitterman.
It Has Progressed Beyond "Ey,"
To Chemical Formulas Necessary for Nuclear Fusion.
We Might Be Onto Something Here.
Meanwhile, Everything is Growing
At a High Rate of Speed.
The Pumpkins Had to Be Cut Back
As They Were Blocking the Water
From Everybody Else.
And, We've Got a Beautiful Collection of Cucumbers Going.
(Not That You Can See Them.)
Wait a Minute. Oh, There They Are ...
(I Keep Losing Them Among the Ornamental Squash.)
Onto the Garden!
There Comes a Time
For Each and Every Backyard Farmer
When Imagination Takes the Lead
Over Sweat and Worry
And Knocking Hailstones Aside with a Jack Kramer/Wilson Tennis Racket
One of the Pumpkins Decided
To Shoot a Frond Through the Neighboring Pine Tree
Which Left Us With a Baby Pumpkin
About 2 Feet Off the Ground
With The Wrap from an Old Hose
And a Couple of Bungees,
I Made the Little Guy a Hammock.
Now, if He Turns Out to Be
One of the 200 Pound
We'll Have to Re-Think
Some of the Borage is Doing Nicely.
While Others are Being
By Voles and Pumpkin Vines.
Today, the Game Became
"Do We Have Any Cucumbers?"
The Answer, After Some Searching,
Yes, Mr. Cuke is in There.
Just Try to Find Him.
And, While You're At It,
You Might Want to Find
He Enlisted Becky to Help
With the Weeding,
Leaving Her to It.
He Re-Appeared an Hour Later,
With His Fingers Covered with Orange
Eating All the Cheesy-Poofs
Left Out for the Crow Buddies.
As For Mr. Bitterman,
He's Hiding Out Somewhere
In the Butterfly Garden.
He Wants Nothing to Do With Any Of Us.
(He's Convinced the Pumpkin Hammock Was His Idea)
(Patent Applied for, US Pat Off. 27941)
In Our Last Episode,
We Investigated the Jungle of Nora,
Where Pumpkin Leaves the Size Of
Brazilian Gunnera Manicata Leaves Grow.
With That In Mind,
Professor Michael King
Decided to Perform an Experiment:
Releasing an Ill-Tempered Sphinx Cat
Into One End of the Garden
In Order to See Where He Came Out.
When He Does,
We'll Let You Know.
And Professor King
Can Climb In
To Find All the Little Surprises Said Cat Has Left Behind.
The Creature in Question:
(Note the Condition of the Top Sheet)
Meanwhile, While the Cat Was Away,
The Beans Took Off.
We've Got a Great Crop of Green Beans
Among the Acorn Squash …
… And, the Beginnings of Acorn Squash Among the Green Beans.
With That in Mind,
We Also Made Our First Harvest Today
They're Real Beans,
But They're Wax.
Not Like Paraffin Wax,
But Wax Beans.
Not Like The Wax Fruit Grandma
Had in the Bowl on Her Dining Room Table
That You Ate and Barfed for a Full Afternoon,
But Real Wax Beans.
(Oh, for God's Sake, Ignore the Wax Part!)
And, Young Otis Gumpox Has Decided to Stick Around Here
And Pick Up Where Furious Left Off.
He Pretends to Drink Martini's
With the Bat Shit Crazy Neighbors.
Then, He Excuses Himself,
And Steals All Their Toilet Paper.
Well, At Least Now We Know
Who Has Been Eating
All the Figs.
The Instructions on a Pack of Pumpkin Seeds
Called for Me (Hereafter Known as "The Farmer")
To Thin the Seedlings Soon After Emergence.
I Couldn't Do It.
They Worked so Hard to Grow Out of the Soil
That I Had to Give Them All
A Chance to Thrive.
And Thrive They Have.
The Little Bastards Have Essentially Taken Over the Lower Garden
(Hereafter, known as "Nora")
And Pushed Everything Off Into a Space
The Size of a Rhode Island Postage Stamp.
Cucumbers and Beans are Currently Fighting for Sunshine
While the Pumpkin Vines are Reaching Over
Into Other Gardens and Need Serious Redirection.
(And, Look! We've Got a Pumpkin!)
The "Surprise Pumpkin" in All of This
Continues to Take Over the East Side of the Small Garden
(Hereafter known as "Asta")
And Threaten The Health and Well-being
Hatch Green Chile Plants.
Once again, I should have Pulled This Sucker
But I Simply Didn't Have the Heart.
About the Only Plants Not Affected
By the Continual Advance of the 200-lb Pumpkin Plants
The Sweet Potatoes
The Purple Petite Potatoes
(Hereafter known as "Basil Rathbone")
"Basil Rathbone" (Seen Above). Just Returned from His Triumphant
Tour of the North Counties
"Sherlock Holmes and the Hound of the Basketballs."
The One Potted Plant
That Couldn't Seem to Outrun Pumpkin Clutches
The Pumpkin Threads were Using
The Garlic Sprouts
To Pull Themselves Across to the Tomato Patch.
It's Like Watching A Vegetable
Version of "Invasion of the Body Snatchers."
(It's Odd, Because Furious George Argues that The Body Snatchers
Are, in fact, Vegetables. He Tried to Order Some Pod Seeds from
O'Toole's, but Got Turned Away.)
(They're on Back Order with the Big Box Stores --
Seems There's Been Quite a Run on Pod People in Washington.)
How The Garlic Escaped All This, I Just Don't Know.
In The Upper Garden
(Hereafter known as Nick -- or "Neeeck" as Young Otis Gumpox Calls It)
We've Got Slowly Growing Tomato Plants
That Are Receiving Special Attention.
And Some Slowwwwly Growing Plants That Require
Special Dispensation from The Vatican.
(Becky and Mr. Bitterman Have Been Adding Egg Shells
And Coffee Grounds for the Spindly 'Maters
In the Hopes That They'll Think It's Breakfast and Wake Up.)
On the Other Hand,
The Acorn Squash Have
And Are Growing Well
Thanks to Regular Miracle Gro Liquid Feedings.
Lately, We've Had a Family of "Crow Buddies"
Visiting 2-4 Times Daily.
They're Not Bothering the Gardens,
But Have Loved the Cheez-It
We've Left Out For Them Daily.
Young Otis Gumpox (Just Off Stage Left in This Picture)
Has Been Trying All Afternoon
To Convince the Crows to Share
So Far, No Joy.
Dear Kellogg's: If Anyone There in Battle Creek Would Like to Send a Year's Supply of Cheez-It Baked Snack Crackers in Order to Save The Bank Account of A Poor Backyard Farmer, You Can Reach Me Through The Comments Section of this Here Blog.
Personally Endorsed by Young Otis Gumpox.
Everything was Quiet around Here for Most of June.
The Seedlings were Slowly Growing.
(And By Slowly, I mean SLOWWWWWWLY)
Until about a Week Ago when, BAM!
The Pumpkins in Nora and Asta took off Like a Shot.
As Did the Cucumbers.
One Pumpkin we Didn't Plant
And Weren't Expecting
Was the Surprise in the Chile Garden.
The Sumbitch Just Appeared One Day.
I'm Not Sure
If it was a Leftover from Last Year
Or a Transplanted Seed
Courtesy of One of the Seven Squirrels
Bitterman has Befriended in the Back Yard.
It has, however, Forced Me to Consider
Moving at Least Two Chile Plants.
Meanwhile, as Furious George sipped Martini's
With the Bat-Shit Crazy Neighbors,
We Had a Visitor.
While I went Down to Investigate,
Becky Found Mr. Bitterman
And Asked him to Help Shoo the Turkey Away.
He said, "Which one?"
At Which Point They Both Laughed and Went Inside for More Wine.
We've also Got a Beautiful
Crop of Basil
Going in One of the Barrels.
(The Others Have Sweet Potatoes and Petite Purples)
We've Also Had Very Good Luck
With the Acorn Squash.
About the Only Thing
I'm Really Worried About
Are the Tomato Plants
We Have Growing in Nick,
The Upper Garden.
They're Ridiculously Puny
And Refuse to Grow.
I've Tried Building Up the Soil
And Adding Some Acid to the Ground,
But Nothing Seems to Work Yet.
Tomatoes May Be a Farmer's Market
Purchase This Year.
(We've Had Soil Problems with Nick in the Past,
We May Just Have to Clean Him Out
And Replace the Soil.
The Butterfly Garden is Going Great Guns.
Everything We Sowed This Season
Has Seemed to Have Paid Off
We're Very Happy With It.
Furious Wanders Down to Sit Among the Flowers
For His Evening Martini's.
By Number 4,
He's Talking to the Alligator Sculpture
And Dancing Amidst the Buds.
(Artist Representation by Al Hirschfeld)
As for Mr. Bitterman,
When He's Not Drinking Wine
With the Missus,
He's Been Spying on The Tiny Tomatoes,
Trying to Discover
They Refuse to Grow.
Young Otis Gumpox Invited His Family to Join Him
For Part of the Summer.
It Has Been Crowded, but Fun.
Mom and Dad Are Great
But Uncle Hezikiah
Is a Real Piece of Work.
He's a Real Grumpoid
Unless He Gets to Watch
Endless Reruns of
(As He Explained, "They Get Some Really Interesting Shit on That Show.")
(I Hope He Doesn't Discover "American Pickers."
And He's Drinking All My Beer.
Just Another Day in the Garden ...
Somewhere, out in that cloud everybody is always talking about,
or, just lost in the ether someplace, are at least two Garden Blogs
about seedlings. Starting seedlings, and having them take over your kitchen.
I don't know what happened to them, and, for the life of me,
I can't find the damned things. So, here we are, down the road
from the start of the 10-minute Colorado Gardening season,
ready to begin again.
Welcome to Mr. Bitterman's Garden.
The Goal this Season was to avoid crowding,
especially with the tomatoes.
I did pretty well in spacing the pumpkins and the cucumbers in Nora,
the lower garden, but still wound up crowding the tomatoes a bit in Nick,
the upper garden. I had it all plotted out, so carefully, until I wound up
with extra Sweet Hundreds Hybrid Tomatoes.
We love those, so we loaded up and the plot plans were shot.
It's not as bad as it has been in past years,
but by July, it will seem pretty crowded in here if we get the growth I'm expecting.
Also going to try Sweet Hundreds in a pot next to the back porch.
I have no idea if they'll work.
We also have a nice collection of peppers going, Hatch Mild and Hatch Medium.
How can we tell them apart?
That's half the joy of Chile season.
We also have beans growing in each and every garden,
with more still hatching on the kitchen table.
We're having some concerns about the pumpkins and cucumbers.
Both are looking pretty anemic at the moment after transplanting,
but, we'll keep an eye on them and replant as necessary.
All in all, I'm pretty happy with the results and the planting so far.
Normally, by now, I've busted off Lord knows how many stems
and flowers as my shaky paws try to remove them from the overcrowded
Someday, I'll learn, but I am getting better at it.
Mr. Bitterman has set up an easel in the middle of Nora,
carefully avoiding the cucumber and pumpkin vines.
He's pretty sure he's got a masterpiece or two in him.
Furious George said he could get those out with a little
Meanwhile, Furious has been working all Spring on his "Flight to the Moon"
idea, building a spaceship in the back yard with the bat-shit crazy neighbor
while both were high on martini's.
On the other hand, we haven't seen or heard from either one since Tuesday.
Any information would be greatly appreciated at this address.
The little bastard still owes me $42.50 for Liquid Hydrogen
And a Bottle of Ketel One.
Young Otis Gumpox is coming into his own, growing by leaps and bounds
and freaking out the cat.
Last week he dressed as one of my daughter's Sock Monkeys
and dropped on her from the shelf over her bed.
There was a long talk about appropriate behavior at 2 am.
The poor girl hasn't slept since.
Otis sleeps just fine.