Monday, July 18, 2011

The mid-summer gardening report

We had a horribly wet spring, one that brought us 30 out of 31 days of May with rain.  The rain was mostly torrential.  That has killed off all of the lovely butterflies I normally get this time of year.  My counts?  1 Monarch, a few flutter-bys of Yellow Swallowtail and Black Swallowtail and an early spotting of something brown and orange that I didn't know.  We have a ton of Cabbage Whites, but that is all I have.

Today I finally ran the water urn/rain barrel low enough that she doesn't have enough water pressure to push water out anymore, and I had to pull out the hose and sprinkler.  When the Sedum is beginning to nod toward the ground, you know it is dry.  I gave each of the beds in the back a 10 minute drink, hand watered the hanging baskets and border plants with what I had in the water urn/rain barrel, then had to hose water the herb garden and tomatoes. 

In terms of border plants, I've had a time of it this year.  Some critter decided that the marigolds were beyond tasty and ate nearly all of them.  I've been able to nurse a few back to health, but the rest either died or were a stick that was basically dead and I pulled it.  I bought replacement zinnias from the place up the street, planted them a month ago and am still patiently awaiting their blooms. 

The hanging baskets, despite all of the watering, have started to look August worn.  It's been in the 90's and they aren't at all happy. 

The good news is that we had home grown potatoes and green beans with our dinner this evening.  They were delightful.  It is nice to go out, pick some dinner and have it cooking less than 15 minutes after it was pulled. 

The grass is dry and crunchy, but I'm too cheap to water it.  Before we had K-, I watered the front lawn.  I was one of two people on the street with a green front yard, but now it isn't that big of a deal.  Water rates are going up a lot and I really don't care to hand over any more money than I have to, to the city water department.  Rrrrr.

The perennials that I planted this year seem to be holding in there.  The Blazing Star seems to be something experiencing some snackage, but the Cup Flower and Aster is doing well.  The Potentilla, which seemed beyond wilty last week, seems to have perked up and is holding its own.  The lavender that I grew from seed is happy.  The dry weather is good for it anyhow.  They don't like wet feet. 

I doubt that I'll have Hollyhocks this year, as they are still small and not throwing flowers.  Since those aren't perennials, I'll just have to eat that and start again.  The Chinese Lanterns seem to be someone's favorite snack.  They aren't pulling along so well.  I'll be surprised if I have anything from them. 

The potatoes are all dug up.  I learned things this past weekend when K- and I visited a friend's church.  They are more down-home and farming kind of folk.  I got on to talking about my first experience in potato planting and the one gentleman laughed at me (planting them in a bucket) and brought his potato farming dad over to set me straight on some things.  I was able to talk about canning with the ladies and gardening with the men.  I only knew a few of the people there when I walked in, but I left having gained quite a wealth of knowledge. 

I have tomatoes hanging all over the place.  In a quick-shot storm about 2 weeks ago, I lost several feet of a tomato plant, but it'll be okay.  We're still waiting the first sign of pink or red.  Nothing yet, but we don't have tomato hornworms either.  (Probably because of the wet spring.)  I'm quite fine with not having to battle the big, squishy green bugs.  Yarg!

The ground cherries seem to be happy and I'm so glad that I tomato caged them.  The first yellow ground cherry dropped and I fed it to K-.  She was so excited.  Ground cherries are one of her favorites. 

Though the Mizuna has long ago bolted, the collards seem to be happy enough and Spike has more than enough to keep him eating.  We talked about the Mizuna tonight and decided that I'm not going to waste the space on them next year.  It was a good experiment.

My Rose of Sharons are very pleased!  I have a purple one up near the house.  That one came from Hubs' Aunt Debbie and though it took 4+ years to kick in and be happy, she's throwing blooms left and right now.  The Rose of Sharon in the back is white with burgundy centers.  That one is a bird gift from the neighbors across the street.  Again, that one couldn't be happier. 

We have a Red Oak in that same bed that is a gift from the squirrels.  It has been slowly humming along, as all good oaks do, and we've decided to leave it be happy.  It is only a few feet tall, but over time it will tower and be gorgeous. 

After all of this, y'all are asking, "But where are the photos?"  In time, my friends, in time.  Right now, it is 9:40 PM and it was a blog post that was on my mind. 

Smiles in my weekend:
-  Home grown veggies with dinner.
-  Going out to Hubs' volunteer picnic last night.  For some dumb reason, I couldn't figure out how to open the doors to get out and finally when someone opened them for me, everyone clapped.  :insert red face:  Yup.  Just call me the bright bulb among many.  :sheesh:
-  We went on a hike last night and though we all got attacked by a swarm of mosquitoes, somehow I came out without a bite.  They got a hold of K- though and it looks like they tried to fly away with her.  Poor kid must be delicious. 
-  Though I don't like doing it so much anymore, I appreciate the fact that I have a hose with city water and am able to water my very dry plants.  My friend has an organic chicken farm and she has to hand water her plants.  She does have Jezebel, her somewhat trusty golf cart, that carries a tank of water for her.  Still, she has a well and not one dug extremely deep.  Too much plant watering means no water for the house.  I'm glad that I don't have that problem.  Add to her water problem the fact that she has MS and is greatly affected by extreme heat.  I'm smiling because she does what she does, but am very thankful that I have city amenities that give me the ability to have central air and an unlimited supply of water. 
-  I have a handy husband who is able to work on his car himself.  He just needed to do a bit of tweaking for E-check (Ohio emissions testing for license plate renewal), but I'm glad that he's able to handle it.

Have a great start to your week!


Rach said...

We're down to nothing left but tomatoes--and you know what, I'm okay with that. It's too stinkin' hot and humid out there to do much more than that anyhow. Although, I wouldn't mind a nice herb bed...

We DO water our lawn--but if we didn't, it would be um, well, yeah, not so good. And, in our neighborhood, it seems these things matter. :sigh: I REALLY wish they didn't. It's EXPENSIVE and insanely wasteful. :o(

I'm glad you got good advice from the farmers. :o) I find the country lot know there stuff. I usually pick brains when I go home for a visit. :o)

Off to tend to a leg wound courtesy of Fred--he used me as a launch pad to get at George. Nice.

ChupieandJ'smama said...

My hanging baskets are a sad lot also. They were so gorgeous when I bought them and now they are looking worse for wear. I water them, but it's just too hot for them. My pots however have taken off like gangbusters and the creeping petunias have taken over. They choked out most of the geraniums but the pots still look pretty.
The garden is starting to produce. When we got back from vacation on Sunday, I found the worlds biggest zucchini. I don't know what to do with it, but I better figure it out today or tomorrow or he'll die. We've gotten 2 tomatoes so far and more are on the way. We've also gotten a load of jalapeno's and Hungarian wax peppers too. Still waiting on the beans and peas.