EARTH EDUCATION: Odds and ends

McClatchy InteractiveJuly 28, 2008 

Other places get rain. Just rain. Even the neighborhoods around me can manage to have rain that doesn't litter the streets with debris and bring the local greenery to its knees. Not my neighborhood. No, we always get the hammer of Thor.

Therefore I can't say I was surprised to walk out this morning and see two pepper branches, which had up to last night supported eight thriving Orion Red peppers, withering on the sidewalk. I was just admiring my peppers yesterday. I felt an almost parental pride to see how big they were getting; it's rewarding to raise healthy and upright plants which will make a positive contribution to society. Then a thunderstorm comes along, and some of their biggest contributions get snapped like a wicker chair under Marlon Brando.

Update: I went out again to look at the other plants, and another branch - with two more good-size peppers - had broken off.

What can you do.

I pulled up the rest of the "radishes" today; not a single one of them developed a bulb. I don't know what's up with that. The greens sprouted like soldiers. Was it the seeds, or the soil? Or the conditions? I'm baffled. Maybe it's just something about that back row; it rejects everything that's planted there.

Some of the tomatoes are getting pretty big, and I need to figure out what to do with them when they're finally ready. I have a feeling this will involve shopping, and this makes me grumpy. I am averse to shopping lately. If I knew how to cook, this would probably be different, but as I mentioned last week, cooking has never become a habit for me. Soon, however, I'll have an onslaught of vegetables, which will not mesh with my epic, Olympic-caliber laziness. Papers and dishes pile up day after day, while I spend my time playing on the computer and reading books about vampires. So if anyone has any fun ideas for tomatoes, please, send them my way. I am completely intimidated by the vast recipe resources of the interwebs.

One last thing - one tomato vine is about seven feet tall now. As a native Midwesterner, I had no idea such a thing could happen. It is at least a foot taller than its stake, which rises six feet out of the ground, and it grows more every day. It's a good thing I didn't go with tomato cages.

Kristen Halverson is soliciting vegetable recipes. Email her at khalverson@mcclatchyinteractive.com.

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