Sunday, July 14, 2013

Rain, Rain Go Away – But Only for a Week

We received over three inches of rain this week and our plants (and weeds) doubled in size.  It was awesome.  However, of the 18 straight days of rain that hit Central Ohio, only 11 of them visited the Stoddart Avenue Community Garden.  Nonetheless, it was enough to relieve us of having to water our plants and to start us down the path for problems with mold and mildew.  So, believe it or not, I’m ready for a week of drying out (although I could live without the predicted 90 degree temperatures for the upcoming week).

Last week, I forgot to harvest our food pantry beans and returned on Sunday to do so.  An army of neighborhood children and their visiting cousins descended upon the Garden for show-and-tell and to get some more books.  RootBarb’s daughter donated a large bag of books for the neighborhood kids.  Sabrina picked up me and my aluminum ladder on Tuesday evening so that we could sneakily unclog the downspout for our primary rain tank.  It was too wet for her to mow the grass (although our lawn was looking pretty shaggy).  We popped into the Garden to rescue some expanding zucchini.
On Thursday, I returned to do a little light weeding and harvesting before heading out for a bike ride.   Another army of kids descended on the Garden and the boys came to harvest some produce (aka zucchini) from their plots.  And to get more books.  But NOT to do any real weeding.

Yesterday was beautiful, but exhausting. Sabrina had mowed the lawn on Friday and it looked great.  Our sunflowers had started to bloom (although we lost a giant sunflower in the center flower bed from the storm).  I got an early start and spent the first two hours weeding and trimming overgrown raspberry bushes.  While I found a handful of black raspberries, the berry season is essentially over.  We still, however, have some blueberries along the alleys.  I also cut the raspberry canes that were covering our blueberry bushes.   I planted some more basil in our herb garden and wherever I could find some empty space.   I staked some of the taller sunflowers that were leaning after Wednesday’s storm.   

My biggest joy for the day was to discover that someone had weeded the boys' overgrown plot.  DeShaun and his friends have not yet grown to love weeding and I've been internally debating the need to demonstrate the consequences of that decision.  However, on Friday, someone apparently did a fantastic job of weeding the plot and pounding in the tomato stakes.  I suspected Charlie, but he denied it.   Neal would admit only to pounding in the tomato stakes.  Charlie thought Antoinette helped them . . . . I will have to investigate this further:-)

Charlie came by with a friend to finish weeding the jungle that had been his plot.  He then planted some melon and sweet potatoes where he used to have lettuce and onions.   Chelsea came to weed her plot.  Neal stopped by to look at his plot and chat with Charlie and Chelsea.  I spent my last two hours harvesting and my glutes are still sore.  I also chatted a bit with Veronica and Orlando Anthony next door.
So far, I've only seen two squash bugs and one group of eggs.  I'm sure that they are still out there, but they don't seem to like the rain, the chocolate mint in my plot and/or our last winter.  I have no complaints about that -- or any delusions that they will not eventually destroy our bountiful squash by Labor Day.
I didn’t get out of the Garden until 2 p.m., which was too late to get it weighed and delivered to the food pantry, so I used the opportunity to visit the new location of Faith Mission downtown.  It is just a block away from the new Hills Market downtown.    There were no signs, or loiterers to point the way.  Faith Mission takes produce donations until 5:30 p.m.

I realized that I had forgotten to cut some zinnias from my cutting garden and so returned to grab a few of those.  I grabbed these pics while there.
Sadly, I am very behind in mulching our flower beds and could use some help.  This is the second weekend in a row I meant to mulch and could not get to it. . . .

As for the upcoming week.  We've received a lot of rain which has caused our tomatoes to swell.  That's a good thing.  However, the upcoming heat wave will cause their skins to thicken.  If it's another week to 10 days before they are watered again, we'll be faced with two problems:  splitting tomatoes and black bottoms.  So, don't forget to water your tomatoes mid-week to keep the moisture level somewhat consistent.

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