Summer Is Here

It has been a very dynamic summer, so far. It seems as though mother nature forgot what a rain shower was and has relegated all precipitation to the likes of thunderstorms, hailstorms, tornado watches, flash floods, etc. IMG_0709The edginess of this weather drama is likely enhanced by the wide-eyed meteorologists on TV with their flashing lights, their advanced warning systems, and their gasps of amazement at the formation of puddles on the expressway, but it can’t be denied that the rain lately has been like an ongoing rock concert complete with extended drum solos and laser light shows.

All of this rain, of course, has led to a lot of exponential growth in the garden. Nearly everything in the garden is at least three times the size it was just a month ago! Of course, this is coming from the guy who saw these plants into the world as tiny seeds back in February and March. So, I’m not unlike the proud parent of a newborn who takes so many snapshots that viewing them is like watching an old-fashioned, animated flip book.

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The pole beans are still growing by leaps and bounds. I’m delighted to see the emergence of flowers on the Scarlet Emperor beans. I hear that they really put on a show with their blossoms. If these first few blooms are any indication, I’m sure I’ll be posting tons more pictures as the season goes on. The Kentucky Wonders are continuing to grow before my eyes, but have yet to put out any blossoms. I’m thinking that they’re still being greedy for space and are waiting for just the right moment to bloom.

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I’m officially in love with the miniature Greek Yevani Basil plants. They’re like edible topiaries! I just wish I could bring myself to USE this basil! They’re so cute!

IMG_0706The tomatoes are finally coming out from under their recent attack from the Colorado Potato Beetle larvae. I’m breathing a sigh of relief. After smashing them and making reddish-orange splashes all over the garden, last time, I saw only a few when I returned to spray them with the organic pesticide.

The tomatoes that appeared hardest hit were the Speckled Romans. There’s a scary amount of wilting on a few of the plants, but that’s mostly the only symptom I can find of stress among them. It may be that this is a natural reaction of the plants to the heat and humidity. IMG_0712Not all tomato plants look beautiful, after all. And, hey, as long as I can get tomatoes, the plants can be as ugly-looking as they want to be, right?!

In contrast, the Celebrity, Silvery Fir, and Brandywine tomato plants all look dazzlingly perfect — they practically beg to be photographed. So far, our most prolifically producing plant variety appears to be the Silvery Fir. IMG_0710Every plant has at least one giant bundle of green tomatoes near the middle of the plant and then several more layers of new blossoms at the top. I can’t wait to report sightings of reddening tomatoes!!

James came from his office for a tour of the garden, this time. I took him, first, to the pumpkin patch which is rapidly becoming the set of Jurassic Park! The pumpkin vines are huge and the leaves are wider than my body! The stems are almost frightening-looking, too, with spikes that prick your fingers if you don’t touch them gingerly enough.

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These pumpkins mean business. Hopefully the business they’re meaning is the business of making lots of pumpkins. So far, IMG_0714the only business they appear to be in is taking over the already crowded garden and competing with the mosquitoes to see who can extract blood from me first! (Don’t even get me started on the mosquitoes… insect repellent is like worcestershire sauce to them, apparently. They don’t mind it a bit. In fact, when I’m wearing the repellent I seem to be more alluring to them, somehow.)

I also showed James the cucumber bed where we’ll be finishing the trellis, this weekend. We were both awed at the baby cucumber that seemed to come out of nowhere.

I decided, recently, to rip out the plastic ground covering in the cucumber bed. I’m pretty sure that I installed it correctly, IMG_0719yet the weeds that were growing underneath it were getting so leggy that they were pushing the plastic covering up so that it appeared as though the cucumber bed was literally a weed-stuffed mattress. When you pressed on the bed, it would sink down about four inches because the weeds were doing the box spring thing.

IMG_0720After removing the plastic, the weeds were pretty easy to get rid of. Most of them had become so misshapen and were struggling so much under the plastic that most of them had not completely developed root systems. That being said, it was apparent that nutrients were being confiscated by this giant struggling population of weeds instead of going to their intended recipients: the cucumbers!

The herb bed is coming along nicely. I’ve already harvested some thyme, nepolitano basil, lemon basil, and sage. After a few false starts, it seems that the Borage and Chamomile have finally decided to join the land of the living. Hopefully they’ll both have blossoms soon.

Sigh… I left the garden, for the first time in a while, feeling at least moderately in control of things and more optimistic than is characteristic for a realist like myself.

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~ by Jason on June 30, 2010.

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