Jul 27, 2010
very busy and loving it!
The heat seems to have broken for awhile! Yesterday and today temps in the mid-upper 80's and very low humidity, so I was finally able to venture outside to survey the damage. Kind of feels like when you finally go out to assess the yard after a hurricane, although at least hurricanes are in and out of here in a matter of hours, not weeks!
Heirloom Tomato Alley was a big casualty. I picked a very bad year to try out tomatoes in containers! They were all cooked to death except the one in the pot above, and go figure, it's another UFO tomato plant! I sure wish I knew what it was, it's the healthiest tomato I have ever grown! Ripped out and trashed yesterday were the Vorlon, Black Krim, True Black Brandywine, Brandywine and Paul Robeson.
The kids' rooftop garden box is officially dead! It was way too hot up there to be in a container, too bad since there was a couple of mini pumpkins just starting too. I will rip that out tomorrow and wait a few weeks then start some Scarlet Runner Beans and see if those will work out.
The Orange Wellington hybrid tomatoes came through like a champ! There are 2 plants crammed in this hot container and they are starting to really produce like mad. I definitely understand now the reasoning for having a few hybrids around, they seem to be hardier than the heirlooms.
I built something a little crazy yesterday...
It's my UFO Tomato Super-Structure! I'm getting pretty good at this "use what you have" thing! I had tons of PVC from the huge hoophouse we tried in the winter over the whole garden. These tomatoes are massively tall, taller than any Brandywine I've ever grown, which are famous for being huge plants. I should have put a kid next to them in the picture, but they are easily 8-9 ft tall. I had to stand on a chair with a box on it to tie the top, it wasn't pretty. I called out to the kids to go tell the neighbor if I break a leg. Imagine the chair slowly sinking into the raised bed dirt as I am tying knots LOL. I'm thinking the bendy-floppy structure may be of benefit during hurricane season. Last year, I used the Florida Weave with strong line and metal fenceposts, it ended up being so rigid that the plants themselves tore at each section of line and shredded in the wind. Flexible might be better, then if the cage can completely fly off, maybe only some of the vines/stems will go but some might remain. We'll find out in Sept/Oct!
Cosmos loved the heat, I had to tear a bunch out to find my apple trees!
There's another apple tree I haven't found yet... see it? Got a machete?!
Believe it or not, in May I landscaped this back of the yard compost area. Pulled weeds, added mulch, flowers, stepping stones and coleus all along the right side. Hopefully I will get to this in the next couple of days.... it's all completely obscured now by stupid Sassafras! Trees pop up everywhere and jump to about 5 feet in a month! I also see a volunteer squash of some sort along the pavers... but I don't see my coleus, or my stack of straw, or the woodpile LOL!
Hacked back ALL the grape vines and bagged them for trash, now I can actually see my garden. They loved the heat too apparently, they had jumped out into my beds and had tendrils wrapped around tomato cages, cucumbers, even grabbed ahold of a jalapeno! I wonder how many Japanese Beetles are being cooked to death in those plastic bags (grin)!
Here's the current state of the fenced garden: the grapes are planted on left and right and far back center of the split rail fence, so removing them really opened up my garden visually. the empty space is where I have been repeatedly trying to grow lettuce, it sprouts and wilts in the heat the same day! The front left bed is cucumbers and Roma tomatoes with some random cilantro and zinnia, the back left bed is all the peppers, back right is the UFO's , chives, cilantro and dill, and front right now is only a few herbs and a teepee of Malabar Spinach
While cleaning up the brambles, I noticed these branches heavy with new blackberries! I thought they were done but I guess there's more to come.
Help me out with this watermelon! It has looked ripe for weeks now, it's getting very heavy, but there is no yellow spot underneath and is still very firmly attached to the vine - yet the overall plant is starting to die from the heat I guess... what is it like if it gets picked too early?
I started these marigolds from seed and they are fantastically HUGE! Cool foliage, too... they loved the heat apparently, since they are stuck in a small wooden box!
Mama Dove, her young'uns are foraging in the perennial beds below the deck. She always sits here and watches for the dogs. When I go towards the back door and call the dogs, she rounds up the babies under a bush. Funny thing, she doesn't move when I walk out by myself, do you think she knows the dogs names? Or maybe the sound of my voice when the dogs are called?
That's all for now, time to mow the lawn! It feels sooooo good to be outside! I kind of want to sleep outside in my kids' fort it was so nice last night LOL!