I live about 1.5 hours away from the garden. Although the garden isn’t that far away it is generally about 18 degrees cooler than my house. This past week as I looked at the forecasts for the garden and my house that normal temperature disparity broke down and the garden was only supposed to be a few degrees cooler. This might not have been so worrying except that we were projected to have near record temperatures at both locations and I was not sure many of the plants would happily survive. My house was projected to reach 120 degrees (it only got up to 119) and, more worrisome, the garden was projected to be 108. Luckily the garden only got up to 99 over the weekend and I think the real hot weather has passed, for now.
When I arrive up by the garden the first thing to do is check out the growth over the past week, or in this case, two weeks. I was happy to see most plants doing well and that most had gone through a growth spurt. Although a bit weary from the heat and maybe from not quite enough water, the ghost pepper decided to start setting fruit – two that I noticed. Jake and Ava are already anxiously awaiting the little peppers, even if their intended use is to trick their dad. I am sure nothing in the garden has set fruit this week because of the heat, but things are supposed to cool off by Thursday and hopefully that will change.
A few years ago we planted blackberries. Now that they have been in the same location for two years they are really coming on. Last weekend was our first useable harvest. Not a huge amount, but enough to put on top of a homemade rhubarb-strawberry crisp with rhubarb from the garden. A nice little treat. Based on the number of unripe berries on the plants I think we should have modest amounts for a few weeks.
Some of the smaller tomatoes have been producing a small number of fruit. The one above is larger than a cherry but smaller than a regular tomato, a Flamme. The other tomato plants mostly continue to grow and blossom, so it is just a matter of time before we are overwhelmed with tomatoes.
This year we made a concerted effort to add flowers to the garden. Many of them are in containers and move south in the winter. This is the first year that they have actually grown. Now that they are, we have a great burst of color as we walk around. We have two huge hollyhocks, one a paper white and one burgundy. The white one has multiple layers of petals (top row, second in from the left above) whereas the burgundy one has only one layer of petals (top, right side). Every summer they get taller and wider and are in the process of dominating the area where they are.
Not all of the flowers are planted by us. A couple of years ago a sunflower sprouted in the middle of the garden. Not knowing how large it would eventually become we just let it grow. At the end of the season we tossed most of it, and apparently a few seeds, on the compost pile. I have since moved the compost pile. I also added water to the area for asparagus. Apparently the seeds survived the last couple of summers and this year they decided to grow. And grow they are doing. We have a patch of sunflowers that are now 9 – 10 feet tall with multiple stems. They should be a huge burst of color in a couple of weeks. The sunflowers are not the only ghosts of previous plants this year. Avamatoes are again popping up in random places as are a couple of tomatillos. As each gets big enough we are moving them somewhere better suited.
Have a good Holiday everyone.