I am slowly learning how to be an outdoor farmer. Real slowly. I asked a gentleman at Miller farm how often they water their corn. Two hours Senora. Say what? Uh, I’ve been watering for five minutes a day by hand, not enough? He lowers his hand to show how tall my corn might be. Generous. It peaked at a foot and a half. But, next year…..boy, I’m really going to have an amazing yield.
Well, now it’s December so what is a dreamy eyed gardening gal to do in the dead of winter? I have learned all about greenhouses, and ahem, their price, so I do not have one of those yet. My row covers blew away. I do have a grow light (which made the teenagers giggle most inappropriately) for tomatoes people, geez. But, I am trying not to use so much energy!
Enter the cute, little house we rented last March. Built in 1920, it was designed with common sense. Unheard of in new construction! The windows face south, big fabulous windows with an overhang so that in the winter the house is bright and warm. In the summer it is cool and shaded. This makes for a great living room window that is five feet wide and about three feet tall. Doug got me a folding table. I brought the geraniums from the porch in, all the herbs I grew in pots on the porch came in, and then a few more pots of tomato seedlings that I filled in with lettuce and kale seeds. Any spare opening gets some petunias planted with them. It’s a cozy set up and smells wonderful.
Now, I have had a bit of experience with indoor plants and generally avoid them like the plague. I water them too much or not enough and there are at least one or two cats sleeping on top of the plant or just eating the contents.
So, I got smart. I leaned an old screen door on one side of the table, put up two wooden ladders (the kind you will find in a New Mexican store that you can hang blankets on) on each side and put the largest pots blocking any holes. I figured out that the tomatoes enjoy a bit of water every few days, the rest every five days. I also took some classes this last spring at a gardening center and learned about organic fertilizers. I have in the past sworn them off completely, not sure what’s in it, my ancestors never used them, etc. But I thought I would try the Old Organics Kelp, Grow, and Bloom bottles of murky nutrients waiting to perk up my indoor garden. What do you know? I never had such lush growth. I’m picking cherry tomatoes off the vine. I even made myself a mini-salad for breakfast the other day. A symphony of riotous red flowers has taken over. It is breathtaking.
The problem I have run across is aphids. How did they find me? Outside I let all creatures live, wasps and lady bugs take care of aphids in short order but my family drew the line at letting wasps in the house. I have tried everything from dish soap to an organic pesticide (that I never would have used before) that they just enjoy bathing in, I swear. It hasn’t gotten rid of them. Yesterday, I chopped down their kale domain. Not wanting to waste, I washed the greens really well and threw them into fried eggs for a delicious lunch. However, my mind couldn’t distinguish aphids from pieces of eggs and I promptly picked the kale off. Too much protein for me, Friends!
If anyone has advice on indoor pests, please comment! Luckily, even though they have invaded too many plants for me, there are some still thriving. I do hope these green tomatoes will ripen soon! Enjoy your gardening, wherever it may be!