The Unlazy Days of Summer, Volume 1

Lazy days of summer?  Not around here!  Okay, so “unlazy” isn’t a word, but it describes my goal for the summer.  Most people have spring cleaning, I have the Unlazy Days of Summer.  Throughout the year, I keep a running list of all the things I would like to get done around my house.  Literally, a list.  I put it in the Reminders app of my iPhone under the heading, “Summer To Do List.”  It could be something as small as wiping the fingerprints off the ceiling in the basement (it would take two seconds and it bothers me all year, but I wait until summer to check it off).  Or, it could be something big like organize the garage, which seems to end up on the list every year.   Between a long hockey season (fall and winter) and a busy spring school calendar, we are rarely home on the weekends with nothing to do.  So, reorganizing my life in the summer sets me up for the rest of the year.  Around May, I am dying to get to my list.   I feel such a sense of accomplishment when I can look back at the list and see what I have completed.  By the way, this is totally me:

check the box

So yesterday was the first official day of my unlazy days.  My kickoff chore was to prune and stake my vegetable garden.  Everything seems to be growing and now its time to make sure that my tomatoes, cucumbers, and squash grow neatly.  Last year, I knew nothing of squash and cucumber growth and those veggies produced vines that took over.  So much so, that I couldn’t get to my herbs by mid-summer.  This year, I had a plan.  Like I have stated in previous posts, I am newbie gardener, so I am learning as I go.  It might be easier for some to research before planting, but that’s not how I roll.  I am a kamikaze gardener; plant first, correct later.  I knew I would have to make some sort of climbing wall or trellis for the vines, but I wasn’t sure how I would do it.

This is what my garden looked like before pruning and staking.

My messy tomatoes

My messy tomatoes

I pruned off all of the suckers and put cages over the largest plants.  I used the cages last year, but this year, I planted 20 tomato plants so I wouldn’t have enough for all.  In hindsight, I’m not sure it was smart to plant so many as there are two that aren’t growing as fast.  I’m wondering if the soil won’t have enough nutrients to provide sustenance for 20 plants.  Add to the list: Fertilize.

In an earlier post about my garden, I shared a picture of a trellis I was considering building, but when I got to thinking about it, it seemed like a lot of work.  How could I build a wall without having to spend all that time weaving it from string?  Then I got an idea:  Chicken wire!  I bought 30 five-foot stakes and a roll of chicken wire.  I put a stake next to each tomato plant.  As they grow, I will use floral tape or twine to attach them so that they grow vertically and not diagonally, as they were doing before I pruned them.

IMG_3276

Happy and upright tomato plants.

Then it was time to build walls for the cucumbers and squash.   I used one-inch chicken wire and the stakes to build three walls.  I cut the chicken wire with wire cutters and used a staple gun to attach it to the stakes.  It was easier than I thought it would be, and certainly easier than weaving a trellis!  My plan was this:  I wanted to put the wire walls between two rows of plants with the hope that both rows would grow up onto the same wall.  So I made three walls, each about 12″ from the top of the soil.  This is where the kamikaze part comes in.  Will two rows have enough room to grow on the wall?  Is 12″ too high for the plants to reach?  I guess we will just wait to find out!

 

My version of a garden trellis!

My version of a garden trellis!

And so, the first box on my Unlazy Days of Summer to do list is checked off.  This morning, I peeked outside to revel a bit in the work I had done, only to find that I needed to add another item to my list:  Google “What to do with squash blossoms; pick them or leave them?”  The answer: both.  But that’s a subject for another day.

Squash blossoms

Squash blossoms

 

xo

B