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 weatherat least, summer rainscame
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
seedlingssynchronizing 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
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.
Peninsular FL, USA
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