Kitchen Garden

Waiting for Pollination

View of tomatoes from the oak tree stump, June 15, 2021.

Three separate times I sat on the oak tree stump in the garden to watch insect life. I walked around each of the plots observing activity. I spent a decent amount of time doing this. It is not natural to see insects, one has to train to look for them, bring them into focus. The biome of my garden is more diverse that the row crops I saw driving the Lincoln Highway last week, although it’s something to which I had paid little attention.

Tomato plants look healthy, many of them are in bloom, and a few fruit have formed. There wasn’t an abundance of pollinators, maybe enough to get the job done. I spotted one regular honeybee, although maybe that one will bring their buddies today. This is planned to be a big tomato year to get caught up on canned tomatoes. So far, so good.

The humidity was lower making outdoors pleasant even with ambient temperatures in the mid-80s. What we need is rain. According to the state climatology website, our part of the state received about four inches of accumulated precipitation less than average this spring. I don’t believe rain will come in quantities to get us back to average. I irrigate the garden and two new apple trees daily.

Otherwise, Tuesday was a day of preparing for and being in meetings. I was part of a group of Iowans in a conference call with our U.S. Senator Joni Ernst about addressing climate change, and I conducted the annual meeting of our home owners association.

I finished reading Turning Pointe: How a New Generation of Dancers is Saving Ballet from Itself by Chloe Angyal. I met the author at an event in Iowa City while she was writing it. Dance was not available when I was a grader, and I’ve attended a ballet performance only once or twice, notably the Alvin Ailey company when they were in residence in Iowa City. Like many, I watched Gelsey Kirkland and Mikhail Baryshnikov dance The Nutcracker on television. I also read Kirkland’s memoir Dancing on My Grave.

After reading Angyal’s book, I wouldn’t encourage preteens participate in ballet, and if they did, to avoid going on pointe until their bodies finish growing. To understand the physical stress, I tried doing turnout in the kitchen. My left hip was sore the rest of the day.

While we wait for pollination, we also wait for rain. There is none in the forecast.