Wednesday, July 22, 2009

My tomatoes are out of control

Tomatoes are one of the last plants I put in the garden each year. This year, I did not leave much room. I planned on having nine seedlings. The seeds I started in the basement were not thriving so I bought Roma, Slicing and Cherry tomato seedlings at Shopko. When it came time to plant them, I knew it would be tight but I though two feet apart was plenty. Little did I know that I had purchased the jungle hybrids.

These plants are at least 4.5 feet tall. They've long since grown through their cages. I had to put up a fence to keep them separated from the cucumbers. (Also planted way too close together.)

I'm a bit worried about how I am going to pick in between the plants and what the tomatoes will look like with so much competition.

Lessons learned for next year:
  1. Dig up more of my lawn to make the garden bigger. Darn.
  2. Plant the tomatoes at least three feet apart.

I am not your typical farm wife, or am I?

Lately whenever anyone learns that I am married to a farmer, they reply, "Really? I would have never guessed." This really struck me when a second cousin who I hadn't seen since I was 13 said it to me a few weeks ago.

Does this say more about the image I project or their stereotype of what a farmer's wife should be?

I don't think I have a prima donna persona. I consider myself to be pretty versatile and down to earth. I can wear a business suit to work, then two hours later be covered in dirt and sweat working in my garden in cut off jeans. I like to have my hair styled, jewelry on, and be clean because it makes me feel good about myself. At the same time, I have no qualms about running errands with wet hair and no makeup in my yoga pants and flip flops. I like to tent camp and my dream is to reclaim the jacked up 1979 jeep wrangler with glass packs my dad gave my sister, brother and me to drive as teenagers.

I am not meek. I believe in being self-sufficient, working hard and paying your dues. I have my own specific professional and personal goals and I am part of the goals for our family farm.

The above description sounds a lot like my other farm wife friends. We are all strong women with careers; some linked to agriculture, some not. We are all moms. We all support our husbands and our family farms in our own ways. (No, I do not bring meals to the field. The only person who brings meals to me at work is the Jimmy John's delivery guy. If you are hungry, call him.) I think I am your typical 30 something farm wife.

So why is this incredulous "Really" happening? Is it because I am surrounded by people who have no real link to those who grow our food, fiber and energy? Since I was around people from small towns and people related to the agriculture industry through college and in my first five years of work, have I started to take for granted that people know that farming is a serious profession? And, that I, as a farm wife play a part, both on and off the farm?

So my question to you: How should farm wives look, act, live? What am I doing so wrong?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


So it's been about two months since I have posted. A lot has happened in and around the gardens. There is a lot to update! So tonight, I will steal a thought from my friend and fellow blogger, Nicole: I'm not behind, I'm just getting started!

I started delivering the CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) basket I donated to my sister's foster parent fundraising auction in early June. Every other week I deliver a half bushel basket to the family that purchased it. So far they have gotten lettuce, spinach, green onions, rhubarb, radishes, sugar snap peas, potatoes, green beans, yellow beans, broccoli, cabbage, zucchini, squash, carrots, onions, and gooseberries.

Each week as I deliver the produce I am reminded how lucky I am to be able to garden and have such easy access to fresh fruits and veggies. When I am working outside and need a snack, I simply walk over to my peas and pluck one off. When I am wandering about the yard, I can stop at my red raspberries bushes and have a couple.

I am truly lucky that my parents instilled in me a love of fresh food, whether they realized it at the time or not. I grew up watching my parents garden, eating out of their garden and transforming their backyard into an oasis. I am a lot more like them then they realize. I hope, someday, my kids will feel the same way.