I enjoy gardening, it is one of my passions in life. Especially when I start something from seed. Watching it grow and bear fruit is hugely satisfying. Plus, it keeps me busy and out of trouble. I started all of seeds for the garden in early March and the time has finally come to enjoy the fruits of our labor. We decided to go with a limited garden this year. Usually, we try to plant a little of everything but it seems tomatoes, pepper, green beans, zucchini, cucumbers, cabbage and squash are what we will eat the most of. This year I really needed to have a good tomato crop. Last year we really did not have many to speak of so this year I decided I would plant around 30 plants so we would have plenty to make tomato juice and our own spaghetti sauce. I did some research this year to see if I could get a better yield. My sister had a plant in a pot on her porch last year and this one little plant had over 30 tomatoes on it. I asked her what kind of soil she used it was something I had never heard of. I decided to locate some of this potting soil this year to see if it would help my yield. Every year I add fertilizer before I till the soil to make sure that I am renewing some of the nutrients in the soil. This year I continued this process, but also added a few handfuls of this new soil called Mother Earth. I also had heard people talk about taking all of your egg shells rinsing them out then placing them in a jar and smashing them, then putting a couple of tablespoons under the roots when you plant. So, I decided to try that as well.
As you can see from the pictures some of my tomatoes are over eight feet tall. I have never had tomato plants this large and boy oh boy did they produce. I am pretty sure I could have planted fifteen or so plants and I would have plenty of tomatoes. I figure every friend, neighbor and family member won’t have to buy any this year. Just stop by Boogie’s Garden and help yourself.
Besides trying a couple of new ways to fertilize my tomatoes I also kept them very well trimmed and took off all of the sucker branches as they appeared. That really seemed to help the growth of the plant and the fruit.
One thing I researched was how to get the most out of your tomatoes and one item I found was to take an electric toothbrush and where ever there is a group of flowers, you place the tooth brush on the stem and let it vibrate for a second. This is supposed to basically act like a bee hitting the flower and because of tomatoes being self-pollinators, this has allowed almost every flower this year to become a tomato.
It seems I have tried many different tactics this year and maybe it’s the combination of all of the care I have taken for each plant, but they will reward us with a wintertime of fresh tomato juice, whole tomatoes and spaghetti sauce. It is a lot of work and probably cost me more than I want to know but one thing that is for sure, I know where some of my family food is grown and how it is treated from the beginning to end. At least I know when my family eats vegetables throughout the year; I know that our hard work is why we always have great canned food.
Now as far as my other garden plants go everything seems to be having a great year. It took me awhile to get all of my green beans planted since a bunch of baby cottontails like to invade my garden on a nightly basis. For years I never really had much trouble but the last few has been a war. I have always fenced my garden and really didn’t have to worry about it until last year. All of the sudden I couldn’t keep a green bean or cucumber in my garden to save my life. After fighting it for months last year I finally gave in and said there would be no pickles this year and I guess store bought green beans would be on the menu as well.
This year I put a new fence around the garden to fight off the ninja rabbits. I put a fence that was two feet tall and had very little space for the rabbits to get through. After spending way too much on fencing and some new posts, I put the new fence up and decided to also lay down some landscape paper to assist with weed control. I planted my green beans, cabbage, zucchini, squash, peppers and tomatoes and put a granular mix around everything to help guarantee no rabbits. Well of course, the first two weeks were fine but as soon as the green beans would start to leaf, boom they were gone. I tried to find a hole in the fence and nothing. I searched and searched for there entry point to no avail. Finally, one morning I went out to the garden and there he was. A very small young rabbit feeding on my creations. The war was on. I chased that little son of gun all over that garden trying to get him out. For some reason the little bugger found his way in and no way out. Then he gets near the chain link fence I put up for the cucumbers and he squeezes right through. I said to myself “here is another one of those moments my dads is saying “You are the master of disaster””. I put fence all the way around and connected it to my normal yard fencing for cucumbers. Not even thinking how easy it would be for a small rabbit to get through the chain link. Luckily, I have some wire left so I just placed it in front of the chain link and so far so good. I have my first round of green beans and I am looking forward to eating them all winter.
Unfortunately, I haven’t been fishing since early June. I think the last time I went fishing was on Lake Michigan for Salmon. The reason being was softball season. This was my ninth-year coaching softball and really love the sport and teaching young ladies leadership skills and how to work as a team. This year was unique. My daughter graduated 8th grade and really doesn’t want to play softball in high school, so we were at a crossroads. Do we continue to play travel ball in the summer, or do we retire her cleats and I hang up the coaching whistle? Well as the season continued, I think both Ella and I knew this was going to be our last year. Ella is very driven academically and she wants to become a gastroenterologist. In order to do this, she wants to focus on school and that is way more important than playing sports. She has an opportunity to be a part of a dual credit program in high school, taking college courses along with her regular classes. Just another way to get ahead since schooling will be a long process. I am very proud of her but to say I won’t miss spending time on the ball field would be lying. I played baseball all the way into college and as soon as I was out, I started playing competitive softball. When my career was over, I immediately started coaching. Next year will be the first time in 40 years I won’t spend the summer on the field. My wife seems to think it is time to buy a camper and start doing what we love a little more often. Although buying a camper right now might be impossible. I look forward to the next chapter and what adventures it will bring.
Now I need to go on a rant. I have been thinking about writing this for some time and it’s time to let it out. I can’t seem to figure out where the customer service has gone in this world, but it seems to have completely vanished. I understand our restaurants and food establishments are struggling to get help, but I think everyone who is going to be in the service industry, which ultimately is everyone, should take a class. I am so tired of going out to eat and getting attitude over everything. You ask them for a refill and it’s like you’re putting them out. No one takes pride in the job anymore. I know I am not the only one that likes to leave a great tip for great service but there is little to none of that happening lately. Too many times do we go somewhere that when we leave, I look at my wife and say, “there is another place we won’t be returning to”. Sad that we have to say that after almost every place we go anymore. It isn’t hard to smile and ask if someone needs a refill or “can I get you anything else?” Check in with the table every 15 minutes or so. Show that you care for your customers and it will lead to better tips and an overall better satisfaction from the customers. My wife and I have talked for years that there needs to be more companies out there that just teach good customer service and interaction.
The reason I am on this little rant wasn’t because of a restaurant. I don’t want to call this business out in writing, but this is how it went down. I had to order some things that I needed, of course there is a long wait on any product, and I completely understand that situation. While I was ordering this product, I watched another sales assistant working with another older gentlemen. The salesman was sitting behind a counter and this gentleman was trying to ask him questions. The salesman who should have gotten up and went and discussed the item with the customer continued to sit there and watch a game show that was on the tv. The gentlemen were looking for this product and just had a few questions. I could see the frustration in the gentlemen’s eyes, but the salesman couldn’t because he obviously was watching TV and even more obviously, didn’t care. Now I have dealt with this salesman on a couple of occasions, and he just is not very nice and when you asked questions, he makes you feel like an idiot. I really like the products this company provides but the service could use a complete overhaul.
A few of the products I ordered came into a couple of weeks later. When I went to pick them up, I realized that there was no way that products was the right one. I asked them about it and their response was to get defensive and tell me well that’s all we could get. I looked at them and said, “what I am asking is this product made for this particular model I gave you…and they said no. Well, if its not made for this model, then I don’t want it. It doesn’t fit properly and actually wouldn’t even serve the purpose of the product. I could tell they weren’t happy about it but again I am not sure why you would order something that was not even made for that model. Supposedly, the product was not available for this model so why wouldn’t you find something that was appropriate instead or trying to argue that it will work. It wouldn’t work and would have lasted six months.
After waiting six weeks for the last product, it arrives and I go and pick it up. When I arrive, I walk in and the salesman I was just speaking about earlier is being extremely nice. The first thing that popped in my head is they messed something up. Of course, when my salesman looks at me and says “I have something to show you”. Then you pretty much know something bad happened. We walked out to look at the product and you wanna talk about unacceptable. There were scratches all over it, chips out of it, plastic skirt looked like it was cut with a hack saw. I mean ridiculous. They showed me a scratch and the plastic skirt but didn’t even notice the chips. Now if you knew me ten years ago, I probably would have not said a word but now I have gotten to the “I don’t give a crap if you can’t get it right I am going to let you know and you are going to make it right”. They took pictures and placed an order to make it right but man if you look at the craftmanship on this item you would think a ten year made it. I really hope we can find our way back to a world where the customer is always right and people take pride in their work.
May your sunrises and sunsets be magical!