How it Is

Sunny and raining this morning; briefly cloudy and then clear. Yes,
those stories are true: It really _does_ rain from sunny skies on this
side of the looking glass. Briefly, clouds move in, keeping the
humidity wonderfully high. Summer weather?at least, summer rains?came
about six weeks early this season, leaving the garden a bit disoriented.
Well, "dazed and confused" might be more accurate.
Spring greens and early yellow squash are pretty much done for the
season. The continuous overcast days of the unseasonal spring weather
seriously abbreviated early snap-bean ("provider") production but the
later "Delinel" beans are coming in, beginning to fill with blossoms, so
I'm hoping for bright bright sunshiny days. Too close to summer to
plant more beans now but I'll plant "late" beans as early as possible
and possibly have fresh snap beans 'til at least hallowe'en, maybe
Currently picking "white acre" cowpeas. They're little tiny
pains-in-the-butt to peel but umm-m-m.... Waiting for "zipper cream"
cowpeas, planted five weeks later than the "white acre", to come in.
They got off to a slow start (sort of just dawdled around as
seedlings?synchronizing watches, I guess) but finally appear to be
thriving. I have one garden bed ready to receive compost preparatory to
hosting peppers but I've decided to repurpose it (see, I'm am, too, hip,
y'all) for a patch of plain old redneck's blackeye peas. Have seeds in
the fridge that can't be more than three years old, saved by me, that
are ready to go. A second bed of moribund turnips can accomodate the
The twenty-five "Sweet Charlie" strawberry sets from Dec. 2016 have
nearly filled the single bed into which they were consolidated in June,
the following year. Since doing so worked pretty well last year, I'm
relying on eggplants and okra plants to (partially) shade the berry
bushes, although, I expect to need shading cloth against the harshest
sun, which always seems to come _after_ the solstice. Why is that(?),
one is content to wonder....
A second planting of cucumbers is coming along pretty well but I
don't expect much from them: They're far too susceptible to insect and
sun damage this far into the year. One must get summer squash and cukes
in down here as soon as overnight temperatures permit in order to avoid
the onslaught of insects that comes with hot weather. Although outside
of the garden I rely on Bt(i) and pyrethrin (propane-fired) thermal fog
to control mosquitoes and honeybees, inside the garden I apply only
Bt(k) and then only when the lep larvae get greedy. Most often, though,
I simply relocate the crawlers to other plants. Most everycrawlie seems
to like carrots and parsley so I keep some martyrs around. Parsley does
well virtually year 'round down here, if complimented from time to time,
and carrots grow beautiful tops all year. Bt, applied daily, controls
those little green things that eat their way through squash, too.
Okra is coming along but not yet blooming. Grasshoppers have once
again become too numerous to be pleasant. I notice little green nymphs
making holes in okra leaves. Guess it's time for pre-emergent "nolo"
next January or thereabouts. Must check the notebook to determine the
last application dates and see whether I noted the area covered; was at
least two acres (USA); a right smart of walking, anyway.
Getting a late start with peppers, save for a few that overwintered
and were moved into containers. Rain took out the first planting and
germination of the second is, so far, so sporatic as to make results
impossible to predict beyond "not too good". Not thrilled with the
prospect of _buying_ a proprietary variety from Lowe's or Home Desperate
but, in concert with Walmart, they've driven away the last of the local
"truck" nuserymen.
Not a big tomato fan and, most years, don't fool with them but
planted some in February, March, or thereabouts. They're still in pots.
It's really too late to mess with them now. This is the start of tomato
blossom drop season so.... Noticed, too, that it's time to install the
shade cloth over the tender herbs. Parsley, sage, thyme and oregano
share a container and must be shaded from late spring onward. Other
tender herbs (oregano, parsley, marjoram, basil) are in individual
containers grouped around and enjoying the shade from a fair-sized
rosemary. Chives are in a terra cotta container shaded by a bay tree.
If anyone asks: Given the opportunity, sage rosemary and basil blossom
pretty much year 'round.
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we have such moments at times and sometimes followed by rainbows.
i still haven't taken stock yet of what has sprouted and what may need to be replanted.
flexibility or changing one's mind are allowed. :)
are you getting much fruit from them?
i thought this year was going to be another poor harvest, but it turned around and has gone ok considering the number of plants i've gotten rid of (or the deer have eaten).
the crawlies also seem to really like the fernleaf dill we grow.
cucumbers should be showing up soon here too. i know we have some small ones on the vines already so a few more days and i'll start having some to pick to start the pickle processing line going.
do the grasshoppers get nolo resistant?
ours are blooming pretty well now.
how can you keep oregano from taking over a container? root barrier? seems like they're pretty aggressive plants.
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Lots of those on sunny rainy days. DW located the first of the garden beds in an area in which rainbow ends frequently manifest. We've wondered which would step off of it first, Dorothy or that damned dog. Actually, the closest I've come to meeting or even seeing Dorothy was a thoroughly toasted tranny princess in Ybor City about 30 years ago.
Well, they bear continuously but, although I'm prejudiced, they're not very good. As you know, I personally am indifferent to fruit, including strawberries, and don't eat it but to me they're bland (good color and texture; no flavor) and not very sweet. Sweet Charlie was grown commercially a generation ago but has been displaced by further "improved" varieties. The "improvement", of course, is that fewer berries fill a colloquial "pint";-) At least, that's the rumor. These berries produce well, though, and something grazes on them almost nightly. You know my view: Everything has to eat and as long as I can tolerate the "loss", well... If necessary, I can rationalize that the strawberries keep the beasts from the remaining beds. Besides, when their time comes, I suspect the strawberries will compost as well as anything else green. At the present time, strawberries nearly fill their 3'x8' bed after consolidation in 2016. So far, they've co-existed well with onions, okra, eggplant.
Large animals left these parts 30 years ago, replaced in large part by Northerners. Raccoons dig in the garden from time to time and eat the strawberries. Cats (7) are all in by midnight, after which beasts (mostly rabbits) have free rein. Raccoons damage the garden by digging from time to time and they eat the strawberries but that's about it. The cats eat a baby squirrel or baby rabbit very occasionally but nothing near to the surprising number eaten by raccoons, which raid nests and consume the entire contents: Not a pretty sight. Maybe, once per year, never in the garden, I'll find a mole that has been dug up and killed but not eaten. "Never in the garden" because I use nematoes to exterminate the mole bait.
Not likely, if it's properly applied. I can't find any references, though. My last application was in March, 2012, and this is the first year that I've noticed a major increase in 'hopper population. IME, that tale about the ants and the grasshopper is Pure BS but I _am_ in Florida: Grasshoppers emerge year 'round down here but the nymph population increases big-time in the spring, starting in February, and man can they eat. Fortunately, they eat each other as readily as they do the garden, which increases the "nolo" effectiveness.
I don't. Some of it shares a bathtub with thyme and whatever else I stick in there (parsley and sage, right now). I remove plugs to make space in which to plant or transplant but otherwise just let them have at it.... The sage grows as a perennial down here and has been in that container three or four years.
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yes, and pretty much why i like them as a ground cover here too. the fact that i get some berries from them is a bonus. that i love strawberries (good, home-grown ones) means i've yet to have enough here. even when i have more than i can pick and use i can usually find other people who want them.
the last few seasons without the two larger patches being in production i've not had enough even for our own uses.
i don't buy plastic strawberries and the local berries aren't often at the stores at prices i'd want to pay. if the choice is plastic strawberries or none i'd rather go buy a jar of strawberry jam and have that instead.
as for flavor, i'd try a different variety because bland strawberries aren't worth it. we have Honoye(sp?) and Ozark and both of those are good. only time flavor is an issue is when it gets too much rain and not enough sunshine. that happened here for the first few days of picking. they were red, but not much flavor or sweetness to them (luckily it wasn't that many and i just ate them anyways - the small ones i fed to the worms - they love any soft fruits).
for a shade crop, ground cover and for producing green stuff for later turning into compost they're great. that i get to eat berries from them is even better. i also don't mind sharing as long as i can get enough to make freezer jam and some shortcakes and eat a few fresh i'm good.
the raccoons up here do not seem to make any impact upon the rabbit population. i've never seen a nest raided by them though so i wouldn't know if it happens off in the fields or hedge to the north or not. we don't have rabbit nests in the gardens or yard if i can help it. same with Mom... i know they try to dig some here or there, but we fill them back in as soon as we notice them.
you need some mourning doves and other birdies to get them. we have a healthy population of grasshoppers here by the end of the summer but the birds are always around and they eat a lot of bugs. but then, we also don't feed the birds other than providing bird baths for them - so they forage around.
we have many many square feet of thymes. neither of us use it for cooking. just like it as an easy ground cover and the bees love it.
ok, gotta get some watering done before it gets too hot out there...
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