Saturday, July 19, 2014

May Showers in July

We had pretty steady light showers overnight and until mid-morning, which made it too wet for most of the gardeners at the Stoddart Avenue Community Garden to get much done today.  I received a half inch at my house.  Sabrina and I seem to be the only ones who like wet soil (because it makes it easier to pull weeds) and spares us the hour it takes to properly water our plots.  I was even able to make use of my new waders to walk through the wet grass and the mud.  In anticipation of the rain, I harvested our food pantry donation yesterday.    It had been a relatively dry week – the first in quite a while when we didn’t receive an inch of rain (since most storms passed north or south of us).  We’re not expecting an inch of rain in the upcoming week either.

I’ve liked having a steady supply of rain this year because it shortens the amount of time I need to spend gardening each week.  At this point, we need steady rains to keep our tomatoes from forming blossom end rot and to keep them from forming thick skins and cracking during isolated thunderstorms. Of course, many of our blossoms have been dropping from our tomatoes and beans with the unseasonably cool weather.

I’ve yet to see a single cucumber or squash or any of my large plants.  Only three of my tomatoes have turned red.  Only my chilis, jalapeno and poblano peppers seem to be surviving well.  My beans on the other hand have been prolific.  I’m thinking of harvesting the remainder of my romanos, though, and replacing them with contenders while there is still time to get in another bush crop.  Our pole beans are just starting to flower, so more beans cannot be far behind.  Even the kids have beans in their plots right now (but they haven’t harvested them yet).  Our sunflowers are also popping new blooms each day.

On Wednesday, I worked on repairing our rain water diverter on the main tank since it apparently had fallen again and someone else reconnected it incorrectly. I also watered raised beds, tied up floppy tomatoes, and did some light weeding.  On Friday, in addition to taking produce to the LSS food pantry, I also touched up the paint on our free little library.  This morning, I chopped weeds around the raised beds next door, reinforced the food pantry potato trellis (to keep the floppy potato vines from burying a row of collard greens), tied up more tomatoes, replaced the latch on the little library, and harvested a slew of beans and some kale for myself. I also said a prayer of thanksgiving that I didn’t have to spend an hour watering.    Now, I can spend the afternoon shelling beans and canning a few pints.

Our oregano has been flowering and attracting lots of bees.  This is supposed to be the best time to harvest and dry oregano since it is at the peak of its flavor.  I always seem to miss the peak period every year, so I am looking forward to seeing if the  CW (conventional wisdom) is correct.  In any event, it is pretty overgrown and floppy, so I'll be pruning it back considerably in the upcoming week.

The evil squash bugs have returned.  They attacked a sneaky squash in Neal's plot before he even realized that he had it growing there.  I saw an adult resting on a bean plant in Susan's plot.  I tried to lean in to squish it between the leaves, but it was too smart for me and flew away as soon as I touched the leaf.  (I obviously didn't have my spray bottle with me and would've been loathe to spray something of mine in someone else's plot).  It flew to a sunflower and so I chased it over there.  Again, it outsmarted me.  Curses.  Foiled again.  However, the mint growing around my and the food pantry squashes seem to be doing their trick.  Barb has surrounded her squash plants with mint and marigolds. 

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