Garden – As Mistress and Master

I’ve been ignoring my blog lately mainly because of the amount of time the garden is demanding – not that it isn’t fun, but it does cut into one’s other activities. And I keep remembering that awhile back, I was badmouthing the garden, well actually, the weather – and now both have made significant improvement, and with a good dose of guilt, I wanted to set the record straight, and let the garden show off a little – gardens do have pride, you know!

A while ago, I read a book titled, “The Secret Life of Plants” – it was an old book(1973), like most of the books I read – and I found it fascinating reading – and I’m sure most would, even if you don’t agree with all the author is saying. One of his suggestions was that plants can sense our emotions and our attitudes toward them – and plants respond to us, especially when we talk directly to them. The author also suggests that studies show that plants which receive regular “talk” produce better, and are healthier than those that never get any talk!

Do I believe that? Yeah – but probably about as much as a lot of Christians “believe” – I do talk to my plants, but only minimally – and if plants actually do know our emotions, they may also know my true level of dedication doesn’t match my verbalization – just like a lot of the Christians I know.

But I digress – here are some pics of the garden, so you can see for yourself that it’s come a long way from the early days, when everything just kind of sat there in neutral.

IMG_2189Here’s the tomatoes – they are coming along splendidly. I always grow tomatoes under black plastic, to increase the soil temps – they love that! They are covered with netting – my garden is not fenced, and if the tomatoes were not covered with netting, they’d not look this good, I can assure you! Deer have strange taste – and they love the taste of tomato leaves – No, I don’t know why – but they do!

Another tomato – notice how there is no evidence of IMG_2198stress or yellowed leaves – no one ever told me this, but I think that when you have a leaf at the bottom of your tomato that turns yellow, it’s the first indication that something isn’t right with your tomato! The rest of the plant may be fine, and the plant may actually produce many nice tomatoes – but even one yellow leaf is telling you about the total health of that plant! And among my 12 tomatoes this year, not one yellow leaf – yet!


These are Brussels sprouts – they are also covered with netting for the same reason – but actually, I don’t really know if the deer like them – I’ve had Brussels sprouts in the past that the deer left alone completely, but I covered them anyway, just in case! As I say, deer have strange taste.IMG_2203

These are winter squash – I would love these to mature, but they are really one of my gambles, since they require a looong growing season – and that may not happen. They are not covered with netting, because I’ve never seen deer mess with them – the leaves have sharp, stiff hairs all over them.


Here’s a tiny winter squash that has just formed in the last few days – cute, huh?

Guess what this is/was? Not many clues – OK, this was a gorgeous red cabbage – before a deer made a fine IMG_2226dinner out of it – actually, a cabbage has an amazing talent – it can survive such an attack, and regrow to become again a beautiful, full grown cabbage head – sometimes, the cabbage “regrow” will be 3 heads, or more. If you look carefully, you’ll see the beginnings of the regrowth – it’ll take some time, but it’ll do it!


My beans, Kentucky Wonders, are looking great – just like tomatoes, often you lose some of the lower leaves in the course of the growing cycle – but these babies have yet to experience that – hopefully, that trend will continue.

My personal mentor, Steve Solomon, the guru of Northwest gardening (and especially, SW Oregon), and the founder of Territorial Seed, says we tend to have either “Cabbage” years, or “Tomato” years – the former typified by cool day temps, and the latter by hotter daytime heat – in my experience, I think we get 4 Cabbage years to every Tomato year – but this one is starting to take the form of a Tomato year, with next week’s forecast for temps in the 90s – and for us that is unique. But, … that could be followed by 6 weeks of temps in the 50s – so, we’ll just wait and see.

In the meantime, I’ll be spending inordinate amounts of time babying the garden and waging war against my deer foes – maybe they’ll be a reward for that, and maybe it’ll be a waste of time – I’ll do a follow-up in September to let you know.


About drfugawe

I'm a guy with enough time to do as I please, and that my resources allow. The problem(s) are: I have 100s of interests; I have a short attention span; I have instant expectations; I'm lazy; and I'm broke. But I'm OK with all that, 'cause otherwise I'd be so busy, I'd be dead in a year.
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5 Responses to Garden – As Mistress and Master

  1. Anet says:

    Ah yes, deer, their appetite is unusual, they like to graze. This year in my garden the favorite is sunflower plants and if I let them, swiss chard. I’ve fencing and netting, and flashy CD discs hanging.
    The birds are pecking too. Ah, nature.

  2. Everything looks great! I do believe my plants hear what I say to them, and most of it isn’t very nice, so they spite me with yellow leaves and such. I’m sure you are much nicer to yours, even if it isn’t all heartfelt, and look how they reward you.

  3. drfugawe says:

    Hi Anet and Susan,
    Between the deer and the slugs, it’s a wonder there’s anything growing! I had a beautiful 30′ row of rutabaga (I love those things!) about an inch high – I came out yesterday morning and except for a few at the far end of the row, they had all disappeared – nothing but little white stalks sitting there – Slugs! Amazing that now that everything is all dried up, that the slugs are still around – probably because I water the garden, they all come live there all summer long!

    I told what was left of the tiny plants how sorry I was, and how I was going to poison the guilty slugs, but I’m not sure they could hear me without their heads!

    Thanks for visiting.

  4. Melissa says:

    I love the squash blossom – adorable!! As to the discussion of talking to plants, I wonder if anyone ever experimented on this controlling for the fact that people who talk to plants are probably more enthusiastic plant owners/growers and thus might be using their enthusiasm and positive energy towards better plant care – no?

    I don’t talk to my plants – they are not so good. I DO talk to my cats – thriving! Talk to Geoff – doing well. Don’t talk to my schoolbooks – neglected & suffering! :o)

  5. drfugawe says:

    Oh Melissa – there you go dis’ing science again – actually, in The Secret Life of Plants, authors Tompkins and Bird go to great pain to give a good deal of research data that cuts to just those issues. Cats, OTOH, are no friends of plants – they eat them, lay on them, and even dig them up and poop and pee on them on occasion – and it is known that NO communication ever takes place between cats and plants, with the exception of the famous Cat Eating Plant of Madagascar, which has been heard softly laughing while it slowly dissolves its prey in its digestive juices.

    How’s your fig doing? I bet your cats are peeing in the fig pot!

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