Thursday, August 19, 2010

full swing?

i’ve been thinking a lot this summer about the idiom “in full swing” and how it applies to a garden. early on i kept thinking, “god, i can’t wait until everything’s in full swing!” and then i thought, “how will i know when it is in full swing? what does that term even mean?” the dictionary says “at the highest level of activity or operation,” but i’m not sure exactly how to qualify that in a garden. still it remained a reeeally appealing thought...i tried to have faith that i’d know it when i saw it.

now i’m wondering if “full swing” is some unachievable state i conceptualized just to torment myself. the thing is, i *think* my garden is in full swing now. i’m seeing a good variety of foods coming in every day, including (most importantly) tomatoes. but if this is full swing it’s a little anti-climactic, only because every day things are ripening, every day is a climax, and it’s been like that for a while now.

following that line of thought, maybe it’s like someone who says, “yeah, i think i’ve had an orgasm.” it’s not the kind of thing you “think.” you bloody well know it when it happens. maybe the uncertainty means it’s definitely not in full swing.

there’s still much to look forward to, i know. but i can’t stop thinking about october seventh--the first average frost date for my zip code. i have a feeling the first frost will be later this year, just because cold weather stuck around so long, it’s only fair that the warm weather lingers late too. october seventh, though, only a month and a half away. will i see full swing before then, or will we still be clicking up to the peak when ice locks up the wheels and the rollercoaster careens off the track?

any thoughts? what do you think “in full swing” looks like in a garden?

here’s a photo of the main bed from august 7...

and one with andy to show scale.

and one more with andy doing his impression of a pissed-off possum.

“tomato alley” from 8/7. i have to literally get down on my hands and knees to water the containers all the way at the back. harvesting will not be easy.

on monday i picked the first full-sized tomato and the first ear of sweet corn, along with two golden zucchini, some collard greens, some beans, and a bunch of currant, cherry and grape tomatoes. the squash, greens and beans became dinner.

i’m shocked that i successfully grew an ear of corn! more to come, hopefully...this first ear can’t be beat though. it was so delicious. immediately after picking i boiled it for a few minutes then ate it without any additives. it was sooo sweet, mmm.

and so nice to photograph.

i plan to go all martha stewart-y and use the stalks in crafty autumn decorations.

first two rattlesnake pole peas matured yesterday.

i have three different locations for these. at one location, four of the vines are growing through a pair of tomato plants.

it works great, much better than my corn pea support attempt (the corn stalks didn’t grow fast enough for the vines)--the only problem with this is finding the peas. they hide very well in this huge mass of foliage.

the coco rose de prague pole beans are budding already, even though the plants are less than a foot tall. i’m growing these purely for their name, by the way. not only is it reminiscent of a band i like (cocorosie), it also has a really hot assonance. (i wouldn't kick the consonance out of bed, either.) say it aloud. really, try it, with a french accent. purse your lips and get that sweet guttural r going in the back of your throat. i don’t think the beans could be any more delicious than the name.

i persuaded some dill to grow! in a container, though. the “easy to grow herb” curse seems to apply only to dill i start in the ground.

all the ground-planted rhubarb swiss chard seedlings were devoured by slugs, but the container ones are doing ok. such pretty leaves.

i picked the last of the gonzo beans. these were cool to grow, i like the look of the plants and the peas (are they peas or beans? chickpeas, garbanzo beans...) are delicious, but they’re low-yield so i probably won’t grow them again.

here’s something you don’t see very often in this climate in mid-august: lettuce! i’m trying to get this oak-leaf lettuce to bolt, because the seed came in a mix and i’d like to grow a lot of this particular variety alone next spring.

look how freakishly small some of these white currant tomatoes are. average is about half an inch in diameter, but a few are unbelievably tiny, like these that can fit four on the surface of a quarter. i know people usually compete for the largest tomato, but can i win for smallest?

these collard greens don’t quit. i think i’m going to take them out because i need the space for late summer/fall plantings.

i haven’t taken enough pictures of green tomatoes...i keep waiting for them to color before i photograph them, but they’re beautiful green, too.

especially the long trusses of these cherry tomatoes:

the trusses seem to get longer as the season progresses. this one hasn’t filled out yet, but it’s the longest i’ve seen:

potentially over 30 tomatoes on one stalk. (the random dog in the foreground was once a birdhouse, but is now a funnel-web spider house.)

i hope everyone else in blogland is having a happy, full-swing-esque summer full of big harvests. thanks, all, for the comments, by the way. it sort of amazes me that anyone bothers to read or even skim through annoyingly long and possibly inane posts like this one, but it makes me happy that they do. anyway, i really appreciate when people take the time to stop by and say hello, and i’ve been meaning to say that for a while.


Andrea said...

I think when you start harvesting and eating multiple veggies from your garden, and you have just a little a little trouble keeping up, it's in full-swing. If pictures are any indication, your garden is swinging!

Emily said...

i like that definition! hmm, not sure if i have any trouble keeping up yet, but i can see that happening soon for sure.

GoneferalinID said...

I like Andreas definition as well. I feel that we are definitely not in full swing yet, but the tomatoes have the potential to overwhelm us soon. I think we are going to get the rest of the eggplants at about the same time as well. I think full swing is when you start to bring veggies to work to give them away, or give them to the neighbors. Oh and BTW I award you the best in show in the tiny tomato contest.

Emily said...

haha, thank you! my first best in show! i can't WAIT to be overwhelmed by tomatoes.

Vetsy said...

Emily those veggies look delicious I like the varieties and your choices.. tomatoes, corn, collards, beans.. Yum! those are the basics for a fabulous dinner!

I guess one could say my garden was in full swing back in June and early July when everything was still things have slowed down..

"oh and I guess I can say that my squirrels are in full swing as well" one of them have eaten whats left of my poor tomatoes and strawberries.. "Darn those fury Devils!

Jessica said...


Thank you for stopping by my blog as well! Sometimes I'm surprised when a friend mentions one of my blog posts, because it feels like you're the only one who reads it! Heehee!

Your currants: did they take a long time to germinate? Mine took so long, I practically forgot about them and then all of sudden they had sprouted.

Also, I keep waiting for full swing, too. But I have yet to harvest squash, beans, and more than a couple of tomatoes. Perhaps "full swing" is what we anticipate our garden's full potential to be? Mine isn't there yet, for sure...hopefully it will be soon! Fingers Xed.

Emily said...

vetsy--so sorry to hear about your tomatoes and strawberries. my squirrel friends mostly stick to the birdseed...if they turn their attention to my maters we'll have to have words.

jessica--do you mean currant currants or currant tomatoes? because i didn't notice these taking any longer to sprout than any other tomato seeds.

i like your definition of full swing it in the sense that i think you're right, but at the same time that's kind of a frustrating definition because i have such lofty hopes for everything, i doubt i'll ever see my idea of the garden's full potential this season.