Sunday, August 3, 2008

Crazy Summer.

Sunday 3rd August.

Rising at 8-30am (ok, so I was late to bed).

Praying for cooler weather.

The temperatures have been around 95F to 100F all week, and 108F to 114F on the heat index.
Today it's going to be 104F and 117F on the heat index.

Humidity is high and there's no breeze at all making conditions very uncomfortable for the Happy Gardener. I've been going out there in short bursts of say 15 minutes but even that is too long and I find myself feeling heady with the heat. Picking a few tomatoes and taking a few pictures is about the most strenuous work I can manage.
The grass needs mowing. It will remain unmown.
Attempting to start growing things outside in preparation for the Fall garden would be crazy as they would dry out as soon as I put them in.
It's no use me complaining though (but I will) because this will more than likely be the norm for at least the whole of August so I may as well get used to it.

The heat has caused one of the Watermelons to split.......................

.........what a tragedy!!

This means that.......................................

..........we'll have to eat it.

Here's some damage that has no happy ending though. The Blister Beetles keep coming back to my beleagured potato plants and have just about stripped most of them.

These guys are so voracious they even strip the weeds which have sprung up in the plot!

I douse them with the Lime/Flour mix and they leave. But during the late evening, and I suspect during the night too, they return to continue the continuous munching.
But, I will not resort to chemicals. I must do more research and find a user friendly way of ridding my garden of these destructive pests.
Sadly I've just about given up with the potatoes for this year although I'm sure I still have a small crop to harvest when the weather cools off. At least while the beetles are eating these straggled remains they are leaving other things alone.

OK, enough bad news. Lets look at what's growing.

Most of the seeds I started last weekend have germinated. Of the Catnip, Cabbage, Kohlrabi and Lettuce only the Catnip has failed to sprout.

So I've moved the tray from the top of the fridge and put it under the light in the growing room.
These are all going to be an experiment. I plan to sow more in a week or two so I can monitor progress and pick the best (if any) for outside planting.
I also hope to pick up a few Cabbage/Broccoli/Cauliflower plants from my local nursery later this month. The business is only a small concern and they don't carry a huge amount of stock.
But, I'm willing to pay a little more to buy good quality plants from people who know what they are doing and freely offer sound advice to fellow gardeners in their area.

The Birdseed Sunflower is past his best but I've been watching him supply two yellow finches with a hearty meal for a few days so he's done his job. If either of those little birds drops or passes a seed somewhere else a new generation may form. And who knows where.

As you can see in the picture, two small side flowers are now fully in bloom.

The Skyscrapers are now WAY up there at over 9 feet tall.

They tower over me as I potter around below.
Now that these huge blooms are opening I've been delighted to see the heavy bee activity which they have attracted. It's amazing that something this big came from a seed so small.

The main stalks alone are impressive.

The Bees are all over the Basil.

Both the Spicey Globe and African Blue varieties are in flower and are getting lots of traffic.

The Yolo Bell Peppers continue to produce..................

....and I'm now starting to harvest some red ones which is nice because they add a bit more colour to the salads.

Here's the volunteer tomato plant I put into Plot4 last weekend. It has settled in and looks quite happy in it's new home.

I've got no idea what variety it is as it grew from my compost............... did these which are still in pots at the front of the house.

I traded a few tomatoes for some delightful home grown Red Cabbage a couple of weeks ago.
My wife immediately got to work on it and any which wasn't used while fresh.............. pickled.
The tomato crop just keeps on producing and I've sold plenty to people at work. This is good news for my local Humane Society who get any proceeds from the sale.
It's good news for us too.................................
.........our freezer is filling up with ready made pasta sauce bases made with Tomatoes, Green Peppers, Onions, Oregano and Basil. All fresh from the garden.
Add a little bit of water, some freshly ground black pepper and cook in the hot pot.

So, it's not all bad news in the garden despite the heatwave and the Blister Beetle attack..........

.................and our Tommy thinks that life is just wonderful.