right now

right now

Jun 23, 2010

Braving It

The heat is immense, intolerable! I mowed the yard the other night and the thought occurred to me that inmates wouldn't even be subjected to working in such conditions! Today was no exception, so we waited until after dinner to venture out. I have been waiting until evening to go out and water, which I know is bad, but I just can't deal with the morning sun and humidity so thick it is foggy and swarms of mosquitoes everywhere! At 7 pm tonight I told the kids, okay - you've got 30 minutes to go out with me and play, then it's back inside to hit the showers! Heat index of 100 in the evening even has all of us on edge, I am noticing short tempers with all of us, lots of fighting between the kids, I know it's because we are trapped inside all day. Even the news has been reporting an unusually high amount of violent crime, domestics, murder-suicides, it's got to be the weather!

So here's what we accomplished/noticed in our 30-45 minutes of braving the sticky evening:

My garden seems to be growing tentacles... some random squash has sprouted from somewhere in my fence hedge bushes!

The UFO Polish Heirlooms are looking unbelievably healthy right now, the fruit on them is well over a pound and not even ripening yet! Crazy a$$ tomatoes, who wants to live in that sun and heat all day?

Close up of the monster tomatoes on the Polish

Cosmos self seeded from last year, they look so good I am thinking of planting only this next year... just open the back door and fling seed out there and call it a garden...no fuss, no watering, just heat lovin' pretty!

Other things living out in the jungle - "Hale's Best" cantelope (above) and "Bush Baby" watermelon (below)

I am really impressed with my 7 year old tonight! I had asked him to pull all the remaining Edamame plants out of the beds and we would later harvest the pods over in the shade. After about 4 minutes of this, he calls me over and thrusts a plant at me and tells me that it is covered with "root knot nematodes"! I explained to him that it was actually infected with a beneficial bacteria called "Rhizobia" and that it actually helps the plant take up more nitrogen. (This is essentially a visual cue that the soybean innoculant worked.) I think he understood and now wants to know more, but I am so impressed by his original diagnosis, and the fact that he read about nematodes on his own - he always stashes my books in his room and reads at night. Now that it's summer I let him stay in there and read until he falls asleep instead of enforcing the lights out rule! Loch, you are an amazing child! Below is the pic of the nodules he was concerned about:

(In simple terms, inoculants are useful bacteria that infect roots, form nodules, and convert atmospheric Nitrogen into a useable form for the plant)

On to the carnage...

I ripped out all the Golden Wax and Dragon's Tongue beans tonight. They were just cooked, and starting to become a haven for bugs underneath. Ripped out all the Edamame, too. I did a second sowing about 2 weeks ago but the birds got all the sprout tops, so I will be bean-less for a bit while we sow new seeds and wait.

Unbelievable, but I had the energy to harvest and even photograph it tonight! Not much, but any more would have me freaking out, not in the mood to battle any more mosquitoes!

Fourth of July Tomatoes, Golden Wax Beans, Edamame, Cucumber, Blackberries & Raspberries

I am getting about this many berries a day now, the kids eat the raspberries right away, but every two days I have enough blackberry juice to freeze in Ball jars... when I get around to it some Blackberry Lemonade with a splash of Vodka sounds so nice! Alla y'all invited!

After sweating wearing pants and long sleeves and still getting eaten alive while watering, wouldn't you know it - just as I was getting all my crap together to head back in....THUNDER.... it's all a conspiracy ...


  1. You have a fine way with words, your stories are so compelling. I feel for your plight, sounds like my summer last year. We have had so much rain here, barely missing freezing more nights than not. All my cherry trees are brown with few berries, same with the plums. My tomatoes are just flowering and my cantaloupe plant is 1" high. Loch is so brilliant, I feel pride way up here. This generation is gonna knock our socks off! If we were are gardeners we wouldn't be in this mess. Thanks for sharing your world with me, peace

  2. That's wonderful that your 7 year old noticed the difference in the roots. It's amazing how much the little ones learn in the garden. My 2 year old grandson is out in the garden everyday with me. He walks around, checks the tomatoes and says "not done" and then he feels the heads of cabbage and looks at every single cauliflower plant. He pulls weeds and puts them in the compost bin. At this rate, our little guys will be Master Gardeners by the age of 10...maybe sooner!

  3. I've been watering when the sun leaves the garden, too. Shoot, if I didn't the sun would evaporate all of the water before the plants could use it. Your cantaloupe looks great. I hope mine grow!

  4. I'm sending my sympathy for the summer conditions you're having to endure. Seriously. How can gardening feel like fun under those conditions. Your mosquitoes right now are worse than ours at their most awful. And I thought we had the prize for bad bugs!

    Loch is amazing! He is going to grow up to be some kind of a scientist, mark my words. You must be able to hear the gears in his mind turning.

    The one upside . . . your melons look like mine do in late September . . . right before a frost kills them dead!

  5. You're such a trooper. That weather sounds absolutely dreadful and yet your garden still looks fabulous! Love those berries! And I too am totally impressed with Loch -- my diagnosis would have gone something like this: "There are bumpy things on the roots -- better go Google it."

  6. Wish I was closer Erin, I would take you up on that glass of vodka spiked Blackberry lemonade.

    The melons look great, I am quite envious!

  7. Rose, you're sweet! And this is the first year I have tried cantelope, I'm not a huge fan BUT I've only had store cantelope, and the seeds were free at a seed swap so why not?! I am sure the kids will like it.

    Robin, I love watching my kids in the garden, even if they aren't doing anything productive, LOL! It's way better than the alternative, video games! Now that you mention it, the kids we are raising are already more competent gardeners than some of my fellow MG classmates, LOL!

    Ribbit, are we going to die in this heat? Seriously....!

    Mama Pea & Fiona, gardening is absolutely NOT FUN right now! You know, my original intention when I started this blog was to keep me motivated to keep up the garden and give me something to do on deployments - it's working on both counts since I think I would be growing a big swimming pool that I couldn't afford to right now otherwise LOL! Loch really does amaze me and I haven't figured out yet where he gets it... probably my mom, the genius skips a generation LOL!

    Kelly, this weather keeps up and I just might hitchhike to a cooler climate like yours... be on the lookout for a chick with 2 kids in tow and a big Camelback full of Vodka Blackberry Lemonade!

  8. The weather here is about the same. The garden could use some attention--especially weeding around the edges--but it is just too hot. Hopefully, we both will get a break from the heat before too many more days go by!

  9. Erin-
    My turn to comment! You SO KNOW A LOT about gardening that I can't imagine ever knowing. I hope when you move up we get to be friends so I can ask you all my, "What's wrong with my...?" questions. I'm pretty much winging it as far as my garden goes - and impressed with what you've accomplished - BUT NOT THE BUGS OR HEAT!! I feel for you, that's for sure! Most years we could commiserate together, but this year we've gotten off scott free. Hardly any bugs!
    Hey, could ya come on over and have a look at my tomatoes? ;)

  10. Oh wow! Look at the melons! My tomatoes are no where as big as yours. I'm definitely jealous.

    It's been pretty hot too. I's had to do garden work with pants on in this weather because the mosquitoes are out of control. Awful!

  11. Patty, you are sweet, but "winging it" is what we all do! You will get there too if you keep on winging it, LOL! Experience is the best way to learn, just keep at it and I still have days where I am completely mystified as to what's going on with a plant, then I run to someone else who is more "experienced" than I :)

    Thomas, me too - last night, 100 degrees and pants on because of the bugs... I felt like a "suicide gardener" LOL