It’s been a long while since I wrote a blog post and there’s a lot to catch up on. But rather than get dragged into one long, neverending story, I’m breaking it into several little bits, a la John Grey, Earl of Bwythn-y-Llan. Who knows how many I’ll accomplish before the day wraps up?
The big news this week around these parts is the weather. After weeks of spring deluges, the rain has trickled off, and we’ve had only one good shower in the past month. It was dry enough before that for me to have drained my 40-gallon rain barrel, one 2-gallon watering can at a time. I was relieved to get a refill before Mother Nature turned off the spigot for good.
So, with occasional watering, this was my garden last week.
Not overwhelming, but the right-hand pea trellis had finally turned into the lush wall of vegetation I was looking for, and the pods were starting to fill. Sadly, last year’s pea-eating pest was back at it, and I didn’t know how to dissuade it. The damage was too high for rabbits, so I assumed the lately-arrived squirrel population (our neighborhood is still developing a tree canopy, so we’d been squirrel-less until the past year or so). I sprinkled cayenne powder, tucked onion tops and garlic scapes into the vines, and tied shiny bits of paper and ribbon onto the trellises. The onions seemed to work for a day, but nothing else had any effect.
Then Miss Chef happened to catch the thief red….feathered.
Yes, she saw a cardinal eating my precious peas! Now, I’ve been very conscientious about creating a little bit of habitat here for wildlife: no chemicals for lawn or garden, a little patch of wildflowers I let grow in the backyard, avoiding invasive plants, and of course the birdfeeder and birdbath. I stopped filling the feeder after spring had turned and I deemed it easy enough for them to find natural food sources. But after Miss Chef’s report, I filled both the feeder and the birdbath…however, I’ve not been diligent about it, so it’s hard to tell if it helps.
In the meanwhile, this week’s forecast looks like this:
And according to Mr. Weatherguy on the tv, there’s no relief in sight. It’s only been a few days into the heatwave thus far, and here’s how my garden looked this morning.
The deep shade makes it look darker and lusher, but take a second look and you’ll see signs of stress. The peas and nearest tomato plant are turning yellow from the ground up. For the tomato, that’s a common virus which will eventually kill the plant, but I can still get a little harvest from it. For the peas, that means it’s too hot and too dry. I haven’t been getting up early enough to water as frequently as I’d like, and frankly I’d rather save my dwindling supply for upcoming crops like my beans, peppers and squash.
But darn it, those vines keep putting out new sprouts and flowers amid all the yellowing leaves.
So I was out there this morning, trying to at least get them through the week. But since checking the 10-day forecast, I think it may be time to stop kidding myself.
The garlic and onions have been indicating they’re ready to come out, too, and while my onions have been rather pathetic, I did pull out some handsome heads of garlic.
Dirty, yes, but handsome to my eyes.
While those plants are gasping their last, the resilience of my squash plants entertains me. This is what they look like in the heat of the afternoon. You’d think they were toast.
Yet once the shade rolls on in, they look like this within an hour:
Amazing, eh? And even better, they’re working diligently on growing me some squash.
Heck, if I can get just one crop through the next couple of weeks, I’ll feel like a successful gardener.