Wednesday, July 31, 2019

July's Garden (2019)

I will say something I have never said before...we got too much rain in July.  

This is a White Cherry Tomato plant drowning from too much rain.  Morbid, I know.  Bill said if I want it to stop raining, I should roll up the hose pipe and put it away.  It is the same principle that if you wash your car it will rain.  If you roll up the garden hose it will stop raining.  I did and it did.  Now plants are drooping from lack of water.  

As of now, this is the right side of my garden.  It is empty because the winter vegetables have either been eaten, died from the heat or drowned.  The empty spots will lie fallow until it is time to transplant the winter seedlings.  

On the far right in the first row, the Purple Hull Peas have produced one crop and are blooming again.  The pumpkins are spreading and taking up the empty space. There are a few kale plants left and the broccoli is making side shoots.  Not much excitement going on in this area.

      Broccoli Floret                   First Row                  Sugar Pie Pumpkin

The third row has been stripped of all of its cabbages and lettuce so only a few collard and broccoli plants remain.  A zinnia is enjoying the extra space. 

The plants in the back of this row are doing great.  It is still a ridiculous amount of basil even though I have been harvesting often.  The eggplants and peppers at the end don't seem to mind being squeezed together.

These are some of the tomatoes Reese shipped to me.  They replaced the cucumbers which died from a virus...which is what they always do.  A cantaloupe is running up the left side and Malabar Spinach is entwined in the center.  I cut the leaves and pull them through the tomato vines when I want them for a salad.

Behind Reese's tomatoes going toward the shed is the weird stuff.  Saltwort neither tastes like salt nor is enjoyable to eat.  Imagine eating spikey pinetree needle leaves.  There are no uses for this plant in my kitchen so it will be heading to the compost pile.  At least the lemongrass is a success.  It is so big it is shading the celery.

        Weird Stuff                         Saltwort                Lemongrass, Celery

The assorted Swiss Chards and White Sugar Beets are in the fifth row to the left.  

Row Five                   White Sugar Beets              Swiss Chard

The Moon and Stars Watermelon ripened early which may explain the unimpressive small size.  They have yellow spots on the rind and on the leaves which is normal, hence "Moon and Stars."  Finally, the mystery is solved.  The unknown squash seeds that went through the washing machine are spaghetti squash.

           Moon and Stars Watermelon                      Spaghetti Squash

Then there are two more rows of beans.

The area beside the field has two rows of tomatoes, a pumpkin spreading beside a row of beans and okra with sweet potatoes below.

The tomato fence with spirals on both ends has Tahitian Butternut squash on the far end.  It is covered in squash and the vines are invading the bean and tomato rows.  I think they are going to take over the garden.

It seems my White Oxheart tomatoes have cross-pollinated.  Both came from last year's saved seeds.  One has huge tomatoes, the other has tiny cherry sized.  

Both are White Oxheart Tomatoes

Last month I was unhappy because the "organic" sweet potatoes were treated with a growth inhibitor and would not sprout.  They were trashed and new slips purchased from a nursery.  They probably won't produce much since they were put in the ground so late.

The back of the garden is where the excitement is happening!

Beans, beans and more beans.

However, the real drama is in the back corner in the bed of the assorted unknowns.   A groundhog has decided to grace us with his presence.  This is last month's picture before he arrived.

This is now.

What I need is an alert, ferocious watchdog to protect my garden from hungry monsters.  Wonder where I can find one?


Sunday, July 21, 2019

Today's Blooms, July 21, 2019

It has been a while since I shared any flowers blooming because of the mess caused when we had three bodock trees felled in our front yard this past winter.

My front yard in February.
We worked on burning the limbs and raking up the thorns of the two trees located closest to the house until the weather became warm. I focused on repairing the flower beds damaged by the dropped branches. We will finish this chore when the weather cools down.  

Burning the wood is a slow, tedious process because it is green.  Sticky sap drips wherever it's cut. 

Good news!  The tree with the creepy eyes staring at me is finally gone.

After it burned, this is all that was left.

It smoldered and continued to burn below ground.  These are the holes left where the roots were growing.  They went deep down and we could not find the end.

This is the tree closest to the house after rain drowned the last fire in April.  

Even with all the burning, it continues to sprout new branches.  These horrible trees just won't die.

As Bill cuts the wood, I hover around and claim logs for my creative ideas.  A fire was built under this branch in hopes it would burn and fall.  It didn't happen but when the fire burned out, this is what I saw the next morning.   Do you see what I see?

Bill sawed it apart per my instructions.

It is a flowerpot!  

A heavy, never again to be moved flowerpot.  It will stay in this spot until it rots because my guys said they won't move it again. I keep telling them it's easier to roll the logs around the yard than burn them. They disagree.

This is a charred log placed in the center of a flowerbed.  It is behind my one and only rose bush which decided to sprout on the right side of the bed - no longer in the center.  My choice was to either have a lopsided flowerbed (heaven forbid), move all the heavy rocks to the right a foot (too much work) or move the rose bush to the left.  I chose to cut the rosebush down, bend the new sprout toward the center with a rock, so hopefully, it will grow in the correct direction.

Bodock trees don't grow straight but are warped and twisted.  Part of the trunk had an indention which became an almost perfect seat when slid against a cedar tree.  Almost perfect because when I sat down, the sap oozed out, covered the seat of my pants and ruined them. 

Under the trees beside the fence is the area with the unique stumps.  There is no rule as to what is considered special, just whatever tickles my fancy.  

This work in progress will be a fairy house.  It needs windows, a door, and maybe a chimney.   

When Bill sawed the point for the top of the fairy house, the side triangles fell on the ground.  He looked at me, sighed and asked if I wanted to keep them also.  Of course, I wanted them!  They were moved all over the yard until I found the ideal home.

While gardening, I tell myself anywhere a stump sits, is one less spot to weed.  Now there are stumps everywhere and we still have one last tree to cut.

Then a surprise package arrived in the mail from Reese!

He was able to buy plants at his greenhouse job in North Carolina for almost nothing.  He knows how I love flowers so he splurged!  Never have I had so many flowers to plant!

So these pictures are for Reese:
I planted the portulaca in Granddad's old wheelbarrow because they don't need much water (which is what you said), however, a watermelon seed was in the added compost and sprouted.  How can I dig up a watermelon seedling after the success I had last year with the monster melon?  I think the portulaca has been watered too much which is why it isn't blooming.  After I pick the watermelon, I will stop watering and take another picture.

The fennel plants you sent are being devoured by butterfly caterpillars...which was why I asked for them.

The shady area that used to be under the chopped tree is now in bright sunshine and the flowers are exploding with color.  I don't miss that tree at all.  The grass is also growing faster so Dad has to mow more often.  He isn't pleased about that but I tell him to look at the bright side, at least the thorns are not constantly flattening his mower tires.

Reese, I am sorry there aren't more blooms but I picked everything for my arrangement at my garden club's flower show.   It was worth stripping my garden of every bloom for a blue ribbon.

When I walk out the front door, this is today's view. 

The bodock tree on the left side of the yard by the curve of the driveway hasn't been touched.  It still looks like the path behind a tornado.  We have learned to ignore it.   

The left side of my yard.
This eyesore is how the tree closest to the house looks today.  Trimmed branches and fallen twigs are piled on top in preparation for the next bonfire.  We have made the best of an ugly situation by making it worse.  A piece of trashed cardboard stuck under a limb is used for target practice (with a pellet rifle) as we sit comfortably on the front porch.  

If I only look toward the right, close my left eye and ignore everything on the other side of the yard, I can pretend my garden is perfect.

The right side of my yard.
For now, the view is improving and we are satisfied to be almost two-thirds of the way finished burning the trees.  Having a thorn free yard has been worth all the work.

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