What’s a Month Worth?


Thirty days can seem like an eternity for someone sitting in jail, but it’s even worse for a gardener. In Texas from the middle of April to the middle of May, we gardeners water, fertilize, mulch and worry over our tiny seedlings like expectant mothers. Personally, I spend more time nurturing my purple hull peas than I do getting ready for a real hot date. Of course, come to think of it, I haven’t had a date since last year’s fall garden.

But finally, things begin to grow enough to give the poor slaving gardener something to smile about – a harvest. Let’s see how things have progresssed over the past month at the Dancing Dog Ranch and what’s ready to eat.

Potatoes a couple of weeks after I planted them, sometime in March

Potatoes today

I think they’re ready to dig in June, but I’ll have to read about that. I know you can store them in the ground, so there’s no “critical date” for harvesting. Let’s wait until the beginning of June and I’ll see what’s under the ground. Hopefully, tator salad.

Heat Wave II Tomatoes a couple of weeks after planting

Heat Waves last week

They’ve grown another six inches, but there just aren’t  many blooms on them and no tomatoes. Last June I could not keep up with the bushels of tomatoes I picked. This year? Not so sure. I’m going to hit them hard with fertilizer this week and see what happens. Hot, drought years can leave you with a passel of hard, green tomatoes that never turn red. Time will tell. Did I mention I don’t eat raw tomatoes? Yes, I’m crazy.

Green Beans in April

I really wasn’t a fan of Bush Beans last year. I call these guys “W”‘s. They didn’t grow great and every time I picked some I ripped off half the plant. But all my friends rave about their Bush Beans so I’m trying them again this year. I will say this. When I planted the seeds, the directions said to plant 2 seeds together, every 3 inches apart. Every single one of those seeds came up. Never saw that before. I’ve re-seeded my cukes three times.

Getting bigger and starting to bloom

Peppers? Not even going to bother to show you those. Slow growers that like the heat. In a month, maybe we’ll check back in with peppers. I’m real worried about my purple hull peas, too. They just don’t look right so we’ll see what happens with them next month.

Now let’s get on to the producers.

Onions in April have gone from this to this

Yeah baby!

Corn and squash/zucchini just planted

Both fast growers, this is how they looked a couple of weeks ago.

But you ain’t seen nothin’ yet

Corn’s already tasseling and as tall as me

That, my dears, is the beginning of this year’s Wonder Corn!

This, two weeks ago, has quickly turned into this

I’ve already picked enough to start handing it out to the neighbors

But most importantly, of all, now you can see how The Funny Farm got it’s name…

That’s what I’d call quite a pair of squash!

Tomorrow’s column day and Friday we’ll meet my favorite character here at the Dancing Dog Ranch.

Spreading laughter throughout the world…one chuckle at a time.

Mikie Baker

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