Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Backyard Fair

We came back from the county fair last night, laden with 4-H projects, various ribbons and projects and ed. boards and boxes of children's garden and pumpkins and other things, and after I dumped everything into my pigsty of a kitchen, I went right out into the garden. It had spent a long time being abandoned as we had prepared for the fair. And after a long weekend of rain and cold weather it looked tragic.
But weirdly enough, I found myself looking at the fruits and vegetables with a more, err, critical eye, after having seen what was on show from other people's gardens. Then, in a fit of idiocy, I thought "I'm going to mount a fair in this very back yard!" Just because. For the heck of it. And no, I had not been drinking when I decided this. Call it Post Fair Exhaustion Idiocy.

So here we go. Categories are mutable, me being a bit of a Relativist and all.

Most Shy Plant In The Garden: This vine has been growing slowly for nigh on, umm, hmmm, let's say 5 months now, and so far it's grown 8 feet and produced this one teeny tiny little watermelon.

I've got it sitting on a couple of greenhouse pots and I fully expect some bloody squirrel to take a bite out of it anyday now. Like they did with Dominic's Pink Popping Corn (oops, almost wrote pooping corn)

Melon Voted Least Likely To Grow: I planted 5 cantaloupe seeds in May and watched them grow like stink. Once they reached the 2' mark I put them outside in the warmest spot, with rich composted soil, and a lovely sheltered enclosure, blah blah blah.

They all shrivelled.

And died.
So I planted 3 more. Same thing: grew strongly for a few weeks, then withered and died. Finally, in a slight panic, I planted one more. I might even have kissed the seed for luck, I don't know (it's all a painful blur). And whaddaya know but it grew and grew and grew and now there are 4 melons on this baby. They even LOOK like cantaloupes. Phew.

Eggplant Voted Least Likely To Produce Eggplants:
(notice a theme here? I am)
This little plant has really been testing my Gardener's Resolve. I thought it was going to live and die without producing anything but LO and BEHOLD I notice that it's suddenly got a few eggplants on it. Did it hear me growling at it last week? Is this a last ditch bid at avoiding the compost heap? Whether they will come to anything is anyone's guess.
Maybe it'll win yet more awards: The Eggplant That Never Was; Eggeplante Pathétique; The Eggplant Sheila Will Never Grow Again...

The Crocosmia I Like The Best: I know, I know, it's not nice to play favourites, but I really like this crocosmia. It's so, err, orange. And big. And I've completely forgotten what it was called. Usually I am Miss Anal (pronounced Ahnahl) and file every single plant tag in a binder, but this one ESCAPED ME SOMEHOW. Drats.

The Tomatillo That Won't Stop Producing Tomatilloes: This is one plant. So far I've canned 8 quarts of tomatillo sauce from it. It shows no sign of flagging yet, either. It's one crazy plant. Someone hand that tomatillo a blue ribbon!

Tomato Plant With The Most Tomatoes On It: this is a Tigerella tomato. I grew it from seeds from last year's Tigerellas. The lowly Tigerella is a nice enough tomato, a bit small next to your average Beefsteak, perhaps, but oh my does it produce. I think this plant has approximately 180 tomatoes on it. Plus, it survived an awful lot of (inadvertent) mistreatment on my part. It was one of those Leftover Seedlings that got jammed into a spare spot in the Alternate Strawberry Bed (and was promptly forgotten about). Gosh, it sounds like a bit of an Anne of Green Gables, doesn't it?

The Little Tomato That Could. And did.

The Most Mysterious Rebirth Thus Far: Here we have two perfectly edible artichokes growing about 3" from the ground. Never saw them coming, but suddenly there they were.

Don't know why,
don't where when,
but we'll eat again
some day...

So there you have it: a virtual Backyard Fair. How about you? Any malformed vegetables? Perhaps a few fused zucchinis? (I have some but they are just too rude for words) Let's be seeing them!


Heather said...

I just had to click on your Tigerella and tomatilla pictures to get a closer look. Gorgeous!! You've got me convinced to start growing Tigerellas now (I was already convinced to start growing tomatillo as I've discovered that I love salsa verde). Would you say the Tigerella has lots of flavour too?

Samantha said...

Wow Sheila, I bow down to your great garden goddessness! You have a farmer's market growing in your yard! Most impressive!

How about my garden? Ha! I have um, the miracle tomatoes (as in it's a miracle that the tomato plants managed to produce anything when surrounded by so many weeds) and the weggie zucchini (a zucchini that managed to hide and grow in a way that it's so wedged it, I wont be able to get it out until I cut the plant down.)

Every time it rains, the weeds go crazy and it's so hard (cue the violins) to weed when your index fingers are so sore that you can't bend them. So that's why my garden theme this year is 'Wild and Natural' ;-)

sheila said...

Heather, I think the Tigerellas rate about an 8 on a 10 point scale. They aren't super memorable but they are shockingly juicy and rich. They sure make up for it in terms of volume too. I've never seen such a plant. I grow them now simply for my salsa. Nothing else produces like they do, although I've heard good things about some of the yellow tomatoes.

sheila said...

Samantha, I tried to get some of my salsa ready to give you and Heather a jar when Shelly came today but the stove man never came in time for me to can it all.

I think your garden is beautiful. I just have really tricky photography skills, that's all. I can make a garbage heap look impressive...ask Shelly.

I hear you about the weeds: when we came back from the fair all my tomatoes were split and all the weeds were way too overgrown. I could have cried at the work. Not that I did anything, because it rained almost constantly between Sunday and yesterday. Shelly nearly froze at the 20ºC weather we're getting, the poor little weeniepants.

Samantha said...

Oh, thank you Sheila! That was a lovely thought! I had thought Shelly was going down later in the month and was trying to think of something to send down to you, but alas, I was too late.

20 deg - I hope she brought her thermals - brrrr!!!!!! When does it get in the lovely 30s there? That is when I'll plan to come down ;-)

I'll get the low down from Shelly next time I see her :-)

Vivian said...

Love your fair, Sheila! Great descriptions...I really must try growing something next year. My fair entry is: The Garden That Never Was.

sheila said...

Vivian! I award you a Blue Ribbon for No Garden Whatsoever!

Better than the fellow who came over to inspect my garden today, with my neighbour: "Don't you think you're putting a little TOO much work into a backyard?" he said to me. And I could tell he REALLY meant it.