The Word-Nerd’s Homestead-2022, #5 – In Summer…y Part 3.

Once more unto the Blog, Happy Readers!

Part 3 of the In Summer…y update will be about the Garden!

Part 3: GARDEN

The garden was planted very late this year. Even later than last year. The main reason is the dead New Holland. Well, not fully dead, but mostly dead. Like in the Princess Bride, but without Miracle Max to help.

It gasped it’s last back before the fall. I diagnosed the main symptom (other than will not stay running) to be the milky colour of the oil in the oil pan (Here is an example of using that fancy British spelling to make it sound more complicated than it is. I can do stuff like that ‘cuz I’m a writer of wurdz!). At some point I became 100% sure the issue was related to the fact that, when I put water in the radiator, it would run out of the oil drain plug about as fast as I filled it. That’s when the engine stopped wanting to run anymore at all. I tried to do some mechanicin’ myself, but probably just made things worse by screwing up the fuel injection. Then the battery died and I gave up for a while. I had other things to do.

Mid winter hit and I tried to charge the battery (successfully), but still no joy in starting. Then the holidays hit, then covid got me, then the back injection, then mom’s medical stuff… anyway. We rolled into March with no progress. I debated with myself about buying a new one, but, dang, those things are expensive! I decided I’d till up the garden with my little electric tiller. It would be harder and take longer, but It would only cost sweat equity.

So, I planted my seeds late in April.

I did tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, several different peppers, rose moss, petunias, marigolds, and a whole bunch of gourds. There were also some gifted cherry & grape tomato plants that I stuck into potting bags.

1st Broccoli & Cauliflower sprouts
Tomatoes, Cucumber, Petunias, Rose Moss, etc.
Gourds Sprouting
Cherry & Grape Tomatoes

Then I tried to till the garden… I got one row done (on the back side of the wood trellis where the tractor couldn’t have gotten anyway) before I nixed that plan. That little thing in the hard slate-rock stuff I have was just kicking my butt! Or, more accurately, beating me about the arms and shoulders. So, I planted one row of Purple Hull peas in the tilled row, and retreated.

Current state of the 1st row of Purple Hulls (6/7)

Next (or maybe it was prior to… can’t remember), I fixed up my raised beds. I put my leftover bag of peat moss in the potato box and tilled that up. The Gorilla wagon mom gave me for Christmas has been a Godsend!

I love my Gorilla Wagon!

The spuds from last season were all kinds of wiry by then. I had kept them in a paper sack in the storm pit where it was cool, but not freezing. That worked pretty good, but after waiting so long, I was no sure the shriveled up things would survive even with all the shoots. They did though, and I may get some potatoes before the heat kills them. Fingers crossed!

Eventually, I planted some seeds given to me by a friend (Thanks, @Gnichee!) consisting of Buttercup Squash & Candy Roaster Squash. I also planted a row of Dragon’s Tongue Beans. I did not congnitize the verbiage she so carefully wrote on the seed pack for me, and later installed a cattle panel trellis for what are actually bush type beans. Oh, well, the trellis will be useful for other vining things later.

Anyway, back to the broken tractor saga… I tried to call in a repairman. I had a guy lined up to take a look at it (I’ve used him to work on it in the past) and tell me if the head or the block is cracked. If it’s the head, it may be repairable. If it’s the block… RIP TC33D. Unfortunately, he never showed up. He told me he was two-and-a-half weeks backlogged on callouts, so I agreed to wait. At the appointed time, I called and left messages, sent texts, etc… nada, zip, zilch. No call back, no text back, nothing. Ghosted. Oh well, he won’t have to worry about me complicating his schedule ever again.

<SIDERANT>Look, if you are in business to make money and you promise to do something by a certain time, follow through. If shit happens and you can’t… fine, I get that, but at least acknowledge it and let the person know you are not going to be able to live up to your commitment. By not communicating, you give the impression that you do not consider them worth your time or the integrity with which you made your obligation.

Do what you say you are going to do, when you say you are going to do it by, or give an explanation of why you can’t. It’s simple courtesy. And if you can’t do that, then I can’t do business with you. Same goes for personal commitments with me.</SIDERANT>

So, the only option I had left was either buy a new tractor or rent something to do the job. I had not found any tractors with PTO to rent, but my brain finally went ‘duh’ and though of renting a good tiller. I did that and got the garden tilled up on May 28th. Then I planted all of my now month-old starts (the ones that came up, anyway… many of my saved seeds did not germinate), plus some other things. I ended up buying some squash plants because my seeds failed and I could not find any to buy by that point.

Rented Tiller in the overgrown garden patch.
After the till-up.

In the garden, I have 21 Rutgers Tomatoes, 4 Beefsteak Tomatoes, 4 Straight Neck Squash, 9 hills of Straight Eight Cucumbers, 3 scraggly Broccoli plants that probably won’t do anything, 1 Green & 1 Red Basil, 1 Marigold, 2 additional rows of Pink Eye Purple Hull Peas, 2 rows of Okra, and 4 patchy rows of English Peas that I added cattle panel trellises between.

Full garden on 6/15
Rutgers Tomatoes
English pea cattle panel trellis.
English Peas

I also got all the Gourds planted all over the place. I hope to get a bunch of them and make some bird house poles like we used to have when I was growing up.

That concludes the Summer…y updates! Hope you enjoyed and thanks for reading!

Happy Reading, Prepping & Homesteading!

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  1. I think we’re all late this year. I figure whatever food I harvest is a win. At this point, the garden mostly just a sanity booster. Partly because physical activity is good for the soul, but mostly making me feel slightly less out of control of the state of things. Though I’m really trying to learn as I go, because it looks like self-sufficiency is becoming more important every day.


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