After my little vacation in San Miguel de Allende this February, followed by a few debilitating weeks with pneumonia, I failed to start my tomato seedlings on time. To make matters worse, my winter plantings of cabbage, cauliflower, romaine, celery, and red onions suffered a drought on my trip to Mexico, meaning the boys failed to water. This happen, I suppose, but maybe a little too often. I feel like the little red hen planting corn and asking, “who will help me tend this corn?” and “who will help me pick this corn?” and “who will help me eat this corn?” I have a lot of eaters but not a lot of fellow laborers. It’s disappointing sometimes, but it is my reality.
I tromped out to the greenhouse to face failure on the 1st of May. I had nothing to transfer to the beds so beautifully manicured by my deceased chickens. Before their untimely deaths by raccoon assault, the hens wintered in the greenhouse, working up the beds, fertilizing, eating grubs and slugs, and enjoying the warmth. They ate composting vegetables and spread seeds.
I opened the greenhouse not expecting to see it alive with bright green seedlings of volunteer tomatillos and heirloom tomatoes. Plants that would have taken up to three weeks to germinate were up and healthy. With the assistance of Mother Nature and my hens, there would be a garden after all.
The beautiful thing about heirloom vegetables over hybrids is that they reseed and produce fruit even without the help of the gardener. Chicken scratching and chicken poop certainly helped. Even in death, my hens just keep on giving. RIP David Bowie, Henny, and the Girls. You all are missed. For sure...
I grew over 15 varieties of hearty and historical tomatoes last year, and only one variety of tomatillo. I collect and save seeds from all over the world. I have the Siberian Black Prince, the Russian Black Krim, Chinese Violet Jaspers and Golden Topaz salad tomatoes, the Tennessee Purple Cherokee, Ghost Cherries and Snow Whites that look like ping-pong balls, fat Oxhearts from my in-laws in Ohio, a Polish pink so perfectly round, and clusters of Hawaiian red currents, some yellow pear, itsy black-cherries, and juicy red grapes. I have no idea what kinds of tomatoes I will enjoy this year, but I transplanted over 50 plants to my self-watering tomato buckets, and I have at least 100 tomatillo plants to deal with. Thanks to my girls, we will have plenty of salsa and spaghetti sauce this year, and more than enough for the boys to peddle at the local farmers market.