Monday, June 13, 2011

Joplin Missouri Trip
To read about the trip to Joplin Missouri click here. This will take you to my adventure blog. More to come about the extremely traumatic event.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Dog Days of Summer are Here

We have had several hot days here with the culmination being 100 degrees yesterday. Most years it take until the middle of July to even think about getting a 100 degree day but this year has just been a very weird year. Two days from now the weather prediction is for a high of 68 degrees. What is up with this weather? The whole weather pattern has gone wacky.

My first harvest of the year was the lettuce that grew from seeds that I flung on the ground and hoped they would grow. It was pretty spotty but what did grow was great. I cut the lettuce off with scissors to try to get a second crop but the hot weather has pretty much ended the lettuce season. It looks very wilted and probably will be pulled out soon. I thoroughly enjoyed the tender young lettuce salad and will try to grow more in the cool fall season. This is my first attempt ever at growing lettuce. I think it turned out really well. I have to laugh that since I've taken the netting cover off the lettuce, not a single rabbit has tried to eat any of it. Before with the netting on I could definitely see where they were trying to get at it. I guess once they know that they can't get in they just quit trying.

Here's the cucumber bed. The cucumbers are up about an inch or two. Well, that was a couple days ago and it seems with the hot weather they are literally growing by leaps and bounds. I'm going start watering twice a day during the hot days.

The tube you see going down the middle of the bed up on the concrete blocks is the final distribution tank for the automatic watering system. There is a small drip water hose that goes to each plant. When the timer turns on at 6am for 15 minutes the large hose from the bigger tank fills up the tube and waters the plants. I bought the straw bale to cover the bed with about an inch or two of mulch for now. This bed will be mulched a little deeper when the plants get bigger to help with keeping the ground from drying out and to keep the weeds down.

You can see some foliage under the tube that are potatoes that I had left over from planting the potato bed. I'm not sure about how they will turn out under the cucumbers but I just planted them there to use the unused space. So we will see how that turns out.

I like to sit in the garden in the cool of the morning and read, hence the garden chair. There's just nothing like sitting in the midst of plants and enjoying their quiet company as the bird and rabbit wild life scurry around looking for their breakfast.

Here's my wilted lettuce patch and the empty area where the radishes were. The radishes evidently had too much nitrogen from the rich composted soil and turned out all tops and no radishes. I just pulled them all up and threw them into the compost pile. As I said earlier the lettuce is doomed so it will be gone shortly. I might be able scrounge another small salad from the remnants of what's left. Even a small salad from the garden is better than the largest salad from the store. Don't you think?

The firepit patio is coming along slowly. It's either too wet or too hot to be digging in the dirt. The foundation blocks are a little better than half way completed. Then the back and side walls will be erected which should go faster than the foundation blocks. That will be the hardest and most time consuming part of the project. The laying of the bricks will be the final stage before getting the firepit. At the rate I'm going it will be a while before that happens but I'm happy with how it is progressing. I'm hoping to be using it by the end of the summer when the cool fall weather hits. It should be a great addition to the backyard.

Here's a look at the way the garden looks now. The bush on the right will eventually be taken out and another garden bed will be installed there. It seems that what ever project I do in the back yard it involves dealing with roots. You can see the bigger blue rain barrel that has replaced the smaller black barrel. This barrel holds much more water but it sets lower to the ground which might require me to have to lower the tubes over two of the garden beds to get the proper water flow. I like to do an over all arial watering of about 1 inch every week. By watering the roots of all the plants the rest of the bed will get hard as a rock if it doesn't get watered. Besides the potatoes need watering once a week. They don't get special automatic watering every day. It would be too much water for potatoes.

I harvested another lettuce salad from the small patch of lettuce. It was just as yummy as the first salad was. The cut lettuce seems to still be growing and I just might get another salad before the hot weather gets to it. I most definitely will have to grow more lettuce this fall.

Happy gardening everyone.