Our 2022 garden: morning in the garden, and first tomatoes!

My morning rounds are taking longer, as I am able to do more in the various garden beds as I go along.

I harvested the largest of the chive blossoms, before they go to seed. While I continued with my morning rounds, one of my daughters washed and de-bugged them, then laid them out on a cooling rack in a baking tray to dry. They are in the oven, with no heat at all, to protect them from the cats. Once the wash water is dried off, we’ll stick as much of them in a jar as we can, with olive oil. Any extras will go in the freezer. Or maybe I should split them into two jars and use them all. There are more chive blossoms to harvest later on, so we’ll have plenty to infuse in vinegar, too.

Speaking of drying things, during the night that cats did manage to get at the stacked screens of drying mint leaves. We’ve lost about 2 screen’s worth of mint leaves to the floor. 😦

When I moved on from the old kitchen garden to check on the squash patch, I noticed one of the giant pumpkins was no longer upright. I thought it might be because it had grown large enough to start leaning over, but I was wrong.

The stem is broken, right at ground level. Possibly from the high winds we’ve been having. Or…

Possibly weakened by the ant hill that has formed on that side of the pumpkin mound!

I built soil up around to support the stem again, in the off chance that it will survive, but with a break that large, I don’t expect it to. We are likely down to just one giant pumpkin plant.

Everything else in the squash patch seems to be surviving so far, and I’m seeing new growth in most. The squash that were started at 4 weeks are so very small, though. I kinda feel like maybe we should have started them at 6 weeks.

I had a very pleasant surprise in the tomato patch nearby, though!

Of course, the camera on my phone didn’t focus where I wanted it to. 😀

We have our first tomatoes forming!

These are on the Sophie’s Choice tomato plants. We got these seeds as a freebie with my order from Heritage Harvest, which was a very pleasant surprise. They have a much shorter growing season, and were started indoors at around 10 weeks or something (it’s a good thing I am using the blog as a gardening journal to record the details, because I’m already forgetting!). So I am not surprised that these are the first to start forming fruit.

We did get some rain last night, but it was light enough that much of the water in the garden was able to get absorbed by the soil, and the paths are just really wet, instead of big puddles of water. That meant I could finally do some much needed weeding in the summer squash bed, then pruning of tomatoes.

I took some of the strongest, healthiest looking branches that I pruned off the Sophie’s Choice tomatoes and transplanted them in the open spaces between the summer squash. I don’t know if I’m breaching any companion planting rules here (do tomatoes and squash go well together?), but whatever. If they take, great. If not, that’s okay, too. I specifically wanted to propagate more Sophie’s Choice tomatoes, as they are listed as extremely rare, so if I can save seed and help keep the variety going, that would be a good thing. Because they start producing so much faster than the other varieties we have, I’m not as concerned about cross pollination.

While I was weeding and tending different parts of the garden, I had Rolando Moon hanging out and keeping me company. Not wanting attention. Just being nearby.

I had to chase her out of one of the sweet potato bags, as she decided to start rolling in it! Then she jumped up into the high raised bed and lay down on some onions. THEN, she moved into the squash and corn patch, and sat on some corn seedlings!

That cat seems determined to be destructive!


The tomatoes are not the only things blooming. Two of the Styrian hulless pumpkins have suddenly burst into bloom, and they are all covered with buds again. Their first buds had been pruned away when they were transplanted. They look to still be all male flowers. I’m debating whether these flowers should be pruned away, too, so more energy can go to the plants establishing themselves more. It hasn’t been that long since they were transplanted, after all.

Anyone out there know if it would be helpful to prune the flowers off now or not?

The beans and peas at the trellises and bean tunnel are looking quite good. The cucumbers seem more touch and go. The first peas that were planted are getting quite large, and the snap peas are already large enough that some have latched onto the vertical trellis strings already. The snap peas are growing noticeably faster than the pod peas.

There is a single, out of place pea plant that showed up, right near the upright post at the start of the row. It seems to be a pea from last year that finally germinated! It germinated quite a bit earlier than the others, and I’m trying to train it up the support post, since it’s too far from the vertical lines to climb. Last year, we planted the King Tut purple peas here, so that’s what this one would be. It’s even almost as large as the purple peas we started indoors from saved seed, and transplanted against the chain link fence to climb. They are all tall enough that they’ve attached themselves to the fence and are making their way upwards, even though they are still looking kinda spindly.

The Wonderberries have been ripening, though the plants haven’t really gotten any bigger, and have what looks like weather damage. I’ve been able to taste them. They are lightly sweet, but don’t have any predominant flavour. This may be something we just leave for the birds. I’ll have to get the girls to try them, too, and see if they like them. I don’t mind them self seeding in this location, as I’d rather have the berry bushes that produce food, either for us or for the birds, than the invasive flowers.

In other things, my plans for the day have had to change. My sister never made it out to my mother’s yesterday, because my mother told her it was “too soon” to start packing and bagging things in preparation for her apartment being sprayed for bed bugs. She has a shift today, so that’s out. My brother, meanwhile, is out of town for a funeral that had been delayed until now by the lockdowns. So it looks like I’ll likely have to go to my mother’s to help out. I’ll phone her, first, once I’m sure she is back from church. My sister will be able to come out tomorrow morning, and I hope to come out in the early afternoon for the last of the packing and bagging, and moving of larger items. Then she’s back the next morning to bring our mother to her place for the night. I’ll head over in the early evening to check on the place and make sure it’s locked up while my mother is gone.

On Tuesday, I should be heading into the city for the first half of our monthly shopping, too. I will time it so I can check her place on my way home.

Which means I’ll be getting very little accomplished at home over the next few days!

The Re-Farmer

Squash tunnel mods, and what is that? Oh!

I had to make another trip into town today, because I forgot something yesterday. I’ve been making more errand trips in the last few days than I do in most months! But that’s okay, because it gave me a chance to find and pick up other things.

Like these modifications to the squash tunnel.

The first is a solar powered, motion sensor spot light. Hopefully, it will get triggered by deer or other critters going after the garden and startle them away. Putting it at the beet or carrot beds would probably have been more useful, but we don’t have anything south facing that we could mount it to. If this works, we can get more (and better quality ones) and install posts to mount them on.

We’ll test it out tonight when, hopefully, it will have enough charge to light up, and we can make sure it is in the on position.

I also finally picked up a thermometer.


According to my desktop app, we’re at 23C/73F right now, but out in the corner garden, in full sun, we’re at 32C/90F.

Where the squash tunnel is, there is no shade, even in the early morning hours. It is full sun from sunrise to sunset, so this thermometer will likely always read on the high side. I still wasn’t expecting a 9C difference, though!

Once these were up, I went to change the batteries on the garden cam. In the process, I noticed something very odd in the ground. A strange line of holes.

You can sort of make it out in this photo below.

It’s in between the red dashed lines I added. My foot is at where the line ends.

The meandering line made me think it was following a root or something, but why where there holes in the ground here at all?

When I tipped the camera stand down so I could access the battery case, I found myself right over this line, and quickly saw what made it.

Red ants.

And the line lead back to this.

The camera focused in the wrong place, though. It’s that blurry, reddish area in the background.

That is a red ant hill.

I don’t know their proper names, but we mostly have two types of ants here. Red ants and black ants. The black ants burrow into the ground, creating low hills in the grass with the soil they displace. They are not aggressive, but their burrowing can be destructive, killing off any plants at the roots.

Red ants build their hills with spruce needles, which they will drag over surprising distances. They will build hills on or in logs, under rocks, in the cracks of sidewalks or paving stones, or they’ll just make a hill on the ground, like this one. These hills can become quite large. The one in the photo is about mid-size. Red ants are more aggressive and will bite if disturbed.

We have quite a few red ant hills. A couple of the maple logs behind the house, from the trees cut away from the roof, now have red ant hills in them, their hollow middles stuffed with spruce needles. The metal ring used to contain the fires made to burn out diseased apple tree stumps is still out near the garden, with pieces of metal covering it. I’d moved them to put some invasive vines in the ring for future burning, only to discover it was half filled with spruce needles, and crawling with red ants! And now I’m seeing this new hill, near the garden cam.

As long as they don’t start building hills in the garden beds, we’ll leave them be.

The Re-Farmer