Tuesday, June 10, 2008

chick's garden katch up

take a close look at this photo. can you see mr. lizard lizard? he's on the hoop support. funny guy just slipped into that photo without my even realizing. he's a groovy dude - head rush man!

here we go, a possibly not so quick katch up on the state of garden in the hippychick universe. it's important to mention that we have been setting record high temperatures here in bastroptown and austintown texas for three days running. fun! not really. 101˚ is just too darn hot when you add humidity. eiiik and the news is that this is going to continue on and on and on. that would be fine (well not really) if we were in the middle of july or august when those types of temps make sense. but folks, who said anything is suppose to make sense? silly me for even giving that sense thing a thought.

remember this big pile-o-compost?

i've been a compost moving machine morning, afternoon and night the past few days. i decided that it was better to distribute the goods to all the growing areas in the yard rather than save some for the fall garden. the heat requires so. the plants need the protection and ultimately i should have planned so anyway.

well this pile is now gone! yes it's true. the flower gardens, the fruit trees and bushes, the veggie gardens and all of the home perimeter perennial gardens are protected with a three to four inch layer of the goodly goodness and they've all been watered in.

i took care of my organic summer fertilizing prior to setting out the compost. i gave the acid loving blueberries and the hydrangeas their hit of garden sulphur to make their soily feetroots happy. the veggie patches and the fruit trees got a bone, blood, cotton burr, dried kelp, molasses mix. the citrus trees got their own special mix of goods and the flower areas got a simple mix of bone and blood. i don't expect the fertilizer to work like rocket fuel but i do expect that it will help the kiddos survive better this heat.

the soil, in this heat, breaks down quickly and the good bits loose their strength faster than in a cooler climate. it's similar to the workings of your compost pile; the hotter it is, the quicker it breaks down. the cooler it is the slower it breaks down. with that in mind, we down here in hot land have to make sure to feed our babies when it gets crazy like this. the combination of the fertilizer and the thick layer of compost should help a lot.

i was a dusty mess after the mass distribution of compost but a good shower took care of that. i always get messy when working outside. i don't know how clean gardeners do it. i get dirt lines before i get tan lines!

ok now a look through some of the garden action...

artichokes gone to flower. i eat a few and allow a few to flower. wouldn't you? they are so darn pretty.

melon mania
watermelons and muskmelons taking over the garden universe

looking good though- lots of flowers - looks like it might be a windfall melon year

the crimson okra is doing great. just a few plants of the crimson for now. the green texas okra just went in yesterday which will provide a good harvest all the way through fall. i can't wait until i get enough to start pickling the stuff - nothing better than my pickled okra - at least, it's my favorite.

the squash vine borers have not killed all the squashy plants. at least not yet they have not. these are the butternut squash plants, still pretty young but picking up their growth quickly. they seem to be better resistant to the borers.

and here is a summer squash still kicking pretty good. i hope it makes it. i had it under cover for a few weeks. but the leaves were really aching to stretch so i took the cover off. we'll see. i have my fingers crossed but i'm not going to allow myself to fall in love. my summer squash record is not so good. borers +++ hippychick --- get my drift?

this is the eggplant patch. all together there are 12 plants here and two others out front. they seem to be doing just fine. i should be seeing some fruit harvest in the next few weeks.

what you don't see here is another melon plant and the winter squash vines that i've planted on the perimeter of the patch. they are all coming along great and should soon be weaving themselves in and around the eggplant. better for the water saving shade they make. this is a first for me mixing the melon, winter squash and eggplant together. so far no signs of adverse effect.

here is an experiment. i got a great deal on some yukon gold seed potatoes a few weeks back. why such a great deal? well it's way past planting time for potatoes around here. i thought for a buck-fifty i could try something out. i've planted the spuds in four containers that i filled with compost and chopped leaves. i have them located in a shady area out back by the chicken coop. it's the coolest area in the yard that gets a good amount of filtered light through trees.

they seems to be doing well. this is one of many shoots punching through the dirt already and i loaded 5-6" of the composty leafy stuff on top of the seed in order to keep the seed as cool as possible so this shoot has traveled quite a long way. i wonder what will happen once they begin to leaf out. i gave these folks a healthy dose of organic fertilizer too considering the challenges they are about to face.

this is a little patch of cucumbers, some corn and a whole lot of nasturtiums. they are only a few weeks old and looking quite good. they do not get nearly as much sun as the east side garden but they seem to be growing at a good pace just the same. their primary sun hours are later in the afternoon.

what have we got here? pole beans, basil, leeks and more cucumbers all of which are doing just dandy. as you can see i'm mulching mulching mulching. under the mulch is another three to four inches of compost on top of the garden soil. i top the soil off every year with as much and those worms, they just eat it up. love the worms!

note - everybody looks a bit droopy in this photo due to the fact that i took it during the heat of the day. they'll pop back up later tonight. it's par for the course to droop during the day round here.

and now the tomato report - good news and bad news.

the good news is that one of the two patches is doing well and beginning to set again. how or why i don't know. the heat should be keeping them from setting but they are setting just the same which is more than ok for me.

the cherry tomatoes always set in hot weather but there in lies the bad news. some of my cherry tomatoes are taking an early exit. they are just drying up. take a look.

they are still setting fruit but the leaves are yellow and droopy and they poor babies are not going to last much longer. i think it's early southern blight. i've got a friend coming over later this week to check it out. once i know, i'll pull the plants and send them to the garbage pail. infected tomato plants should never go in the compost pile because they'll infect the compost which will infect your garden beds, which will infect future plants, etc. etc.

take a look at this photo - if you think you can identify what's plaguing my babies, please drop a line in the comment area.
here's another look at the same patch. some of the plants are doing just fine but others, as seen in the above photo - not so fine. i may have to pull the whole lot as it is not uncommon for the blight to spread down the row. sad sad sad.

this is why i always plant two different patches.
patch number two - not nearly as big but also disease free. so i'm taking a stab at rooting cuttings. i've never tried before but you don't know until you try right? it would be nice if they took. they'd be nice to plant for a late fall harvest as the temperatures begin to cool once again.

and last for today, my dill seed heads already for shaking in a paper bag. i let a good four to five really big dill plants go to seed on purpose this year. they did very well in the garden and i figured why not save seed from a survivor? so this is my stash for fall and next spring. more than enough. i'll share with neighbors and friends. i'm a dill fan and it's great for pickles.

that's it for now. there's more but we'll leave that for tomorrow or the next day or the next. you never know what's going to happen around here. suddenly it's turned dark, could it be possible? should i even wish? might we get some rain?
oh i hope so!!!!!!!!!!


Anonymous said...

Hello Chick. Thanks for the photo tour through your garden. I have always enjoyed being led through a beautiful garden being told by the caretaker what was planted and how everything is doing. You learn a lot that way and gardeners are always interesting people.

Love the looks of the artichokes, I don’t blame you for letting a few go to flower. Reminds me of Scotch Thistle that grows wild in the mountains here. That was a big pile of compost to move in 100° weather, make sure to keep hydrated. Wish I could help you with your tomatoes, I suspect it is heat related, not a problem we have. Our biggest problem is getting them to ripen on the vine before frost. I have all kinds of tricks for that.

Everything is starting to sprout and take root in my garden. I have beans, peas, carrots, turnips, chard, beets (planted extra thick for thinnings for salads), cucumbers, peppers, spinach and lettuce (second planting), onions, zucchini, leeks, red cabbage, herbs, bok choy, tomatoes, and potatoes. Pretty basic. Most are of the same varieties that my father and grandfather planted. Regarding the spuds, I have not planted Yukon Gold for at least ten years but have included about 12 hills this year. That is your influence, brought about by the photo you posted a couple of weeks ago. They looked so good, nothing like new spuds out of the garden!

You mentioned earlier that you are known for your pickles and pesto. I make a mean salsa that I give to friends at Christmas. Well, I should let you get back out in the garden. Hope you get some rain. Take care and stay cool!


shellywoman said...

robert - your garden may sound basic to you but it sounds lovely to me, very exciting! are you an avid seed saver? that's something i need to learn more about. i'm no pro there. any tips?

no rain no rain no rain no rain
100+ again today

but ahh, at this moment a male ruby throated hummingbird visits the flowering yucca - beautiful. the universe in balance before my very eyes.

have a great day! seriously any seed saving tips would be appreciated.