Sunday, September 11, 2011

After this long brutal summer....

The cukes have given us one last fruit; it was invisible until the vines died back.

The tomato bin has proven surprisingly resilient; I expect being two thirds oak leaf compost means it holds a lot of water. Really, that bin has the nicest soil on the property! It's been subject to squirrel depradations lately and I rather think there may be nut trees sprouting come spring. I smoothed the soil back out, broadcast carrot seeds over the whole bin, and dumped half a big trash bag of mixed dried leaves over the top. So far the squirrels are leaving it alone and the tomatoes seem to have perked up even more. There are two pepper plants on the right hand end and they're just loving having their feet covered. No fruits from anything yet, but there are blossoms on all the plants.

A closer look. I am so sold now on planting in leaf compost! If there is ANY way I can manage it, I am going to be steali---errrrr, I mean SAVING, yes, saving---bags of leaves wherever I find them this fall!

What's left of my gardens after summer's brutality. The pots are mostly empty, the garden about half empty. The weeds and the sprawling tomato vines, plus the honeyvine milkweed on the fence all make it look better than it is. I never got green beans and the plants were the first established garden plants to burn out this year. The cukes produced--we had to pull them half-size, but they produced until they also burnt out. The tomatoes did not produce but have only died back by about a third. The eggplant has been a modern marvel; small seedy fruits with bittr skins but the plants just keep on growing. The peppers have been lackluster, half-dead, and the lilac pepper did die. The strawberries and snow peas died out at the beginning of July and the snow peas I planted to replace them died in mid-July.

In the pots, the herbs and rose bushes have all died, except for one mint plant (Mint Julep) and the itty-bitty remains of the bronze fennel plant. Four strawberries survived, and the kohlrabi survived. The chrysanthemum seems okay, but the geraniums have all died mostly back. The red-veined sorrell was doing GREAT and jusssst before I went to harvest it a squirrel took the whole doggoned plant, right back to the roots!!

The lilac and the blueberry died--I swear, that lialc is the queen of resurrection, because this is the third time in two years it has leafed back out again. The blue-ray blueberry has green stems yet, but no leaves at all. I cannot tell if it's just dormant or if it truly has died.

Most of the pots just need to be replanted, which is why we put them in the back yard today. Autumn sunshine and the close proximity of the hose will, I hope, work an autumn miracle and give me a good garden over the next couple of months.... once I figure out the squirrell-proofing.

The experimental garden is flourishing in late summer and early autumn. What you cannot tell from this pic is that the squirrels have already made off with the first and biggest sunflower heads; those are the secondary buds from low down on the plants. The morning glories bloom every day into the midafternoon, deeeeeeep purple beauties, Grandpa Ott's (an heirloom). That's an eggplant dangling out the side there behind the sunflowers; it has a compadre on the other side of this garden.

The pinto beans have scaled themselves way back. During early and mid-August they were lush and overpowering, sprawling all over the garden and into the yard with leaves as huge as those on the morning glories and just COVERED with white blossoms. Now they are small again and have a couple beans. Sheesh.

Did I remember to mention how brutal this summer was??

There is purslane in there.


This is the eggplant in the main garden, which has finally caught up with the eggplants in the experimemtals garden. That's quite a testamonial to Dylan's Microbe Booster because this eggplant is a month older than the others and was ahead of them for quite a while, but it just didn't weather the heat as well as they did. Now it is gifting me with nodding lavender beauty and ruffly huge gray-green leaves. I think it will probably do well for the rest of the autumn.

Are they not gorgeous? I'll try to catch a picture when the morning glories are open. I love the way the purple and gold complement each other.

I started this post with what's left... here is what's coming, more snow peas. I planted them in patches around the pepper plants at the far right end of the main garden and overseeded them with parsley and cilantro, then dumped the other half of the big bag of mixed leaves on top. So far no more squirrel depredations in here, either, and the peppers in here perked up as sis the luffa. Might have had something to do with the compost I spread around pretty liberally before I broadcast the herb seeds--that huge bin of sticks is finally giving me REAL compost!

All in all I'd say we survived summer okay, if rather bruised and battered around the edges. Now to see if we can flourish in autumn. Wishing you a long gentle season of recovery and/or new growth as well!

Bright Blessings,


1 comment:

  1. We had a devastating drought here. I lost count of the 100+ days but it broke the record. My little garden suffered only a bit. I did try to go a bit longer between waterings.


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