Monday, August 2, 2010

it's august already? really?

Wow, how did that happen? Seems like one day you're welcoming the end of school and summer's start and then you blink your eyes and the school clothes & supplies are nearly sold out.

My kids actually have about a month of freedom left. Summer school is finished and we have a couple of weeks "to kill" until the end of August when we will enjoy two weeks of very welcome R&R.  So until those vacation weeks creep up on us, we'll busy ourselves with school shopping and then trying to soak in some fun from the lazy hours when we're not.

Fun at a family bbq
We had notice from Southern California Edison that tomorrow is finally "the day" - they will be coming into the neighborhood to replace old equipment and the power may be out as long as 10 hours. Sure hope that is a "worse case scenario" time frame and that it doesn't really take all day.

Formerly a garden path, now zucchini extension
I'm also hoping the contractors don't trample the garden too much. When I placed it way back in the corner by the phone/power pole I thought that I was leaving plenty of room for access to the pole. But being the newbie gardener that I am, I didn't anticipate how much the plants would overflow their beds and how much bulging they would do into the walkways. The zucchini in particular has completely overtaken one of the paths (the one, in fact, that is the direct route to the pole). Hopefully the workers will tread lightly, or navigate up the other (open) path. But I'm not counting on it. Sigh. Well, at least the zucchini was already showing signs of slowing down. That makes me feel less bad about it taken a possible beating.

Speaking of the garden (I don't need much invitation to launch into that topic), July was an awesome month. Finally after weeks of carefully tending and waiting on my plants, they were finally rewarding me with goodness to cook & eat. I haven't had to buy tomatoes in a full month. And my tomatoes are oh so yummy - often (tho not always) better than what I can buy at the market. I've had beans and cucumbers and eggplant and peppers and herbs. I couldn't be happier.

Slim pickings!
I'm wiser this side of my gardening venture, too. I learned that for the joy of a wider variety of plants, I sacrificed volume. So, my little harvests are actually a little funny if you see them on a daily basis. They might consist of a couple of tomatoes, a handful green beans, and a cucumber or two. Never enough to be considered a "bounty". That's also due in part to my small beds. I've got two 4' x 4' beds and one 18" x 6' bed. After I finished setting up my garden I read that a small garden should include about one 4' x 4' bed per person in the family. So, mine is actually less than "small" I guess. It was a good way to find out what was manageable for me, however.

An exciting garden development in the past week include the blooming of all my sunflower plants. I find it so amazing that these towering giants started as small seeds a relatively few weeks ago. Wow.

Cornstalk tassels!

I'm also excited to see tassels on my corn stalks. Corn was an afterthought and I planted it kind of late in the season. The oh-so-sunny spot I picked in spring has become very shady as the surrounding plants have filled out (especially the heirloom tomatoes and the adjacent orange tree). Perhaps the corn is suffering from lack of sun. Some stalks are stunted and overall the corn has been very slow to grow. At this point I'm not too hopeful for abundance and will settle for a sweet delicious ear or two.

The sound of the gal working on the chain gang
My summer garden has at any rate given me the confidence (despite my war with the aphids and the battle against powdery mildew) to expand it a little bit. I'm working on clearing a very nasty patch of thatchy weeds posing as grass near my trashcan and compost service area near my garage. I posted on Facebook that I feel like I'm on a chain gang or working for a quarry because this patch is  embedded with large stones that seem to be everywhere! Just when I think I've removed the last one, I find more. They're not too easy to get out of the ground. Years of sitting there untouched has allowed them to sink very stubbornly into the clay like soil and the thatchy weedy grass growing over them hasn't helped either. I'm not sure how many hours of hard physical labor I'll have to put into this patch before it is suitable for planting. Hopefully, my little squash seedlings can stay alive until I'm done.

Mystery bulbs
The last to post about is mystery bulbs. I just planted lots of them into pots after finding several different types in the oddest places in our yard. I think I know what most of them are (paperwhites and lilies), but not 100% sure. So now they're in pots and I'm hoping I can keep them in good shape until it is time for them to bloom. Once I'm sure of what is what, I can put them into permanent homes around the yard. I like what one of my friends posted on my Facebook wall: "Mysteries are often the best thing! Once I found a bulb in my yard, in a house we bought that only bloomed now and then. What a treat when it did!" I'm looking forward to my mystery bulb treat.

1 comment:

Peasy said...

It's neat to read someone else having similar experiences :) I really underestimated the size of all of my tomato plants. I think they have finally grown so big that they just laid onto themselves and seem to have settled that way. I need much bigger cages next year. I love the small daily harvests! They are perfect for a smaller family.