I continue to be amazed at how well some of the things in the garden are doing, considering the heat we're experiencing. While most of the country seems to be getting rain, rain, and MORE rain, we continue to be hot and dry. Did I mention hot?! Yes, hot. And dry. Hot and dry. We do have a 30% chance of rain for the next two days, but 30% isn't too favorable for our area. We don't get too excited unless we see 60% chance or greater. But, cross your fingers for us. We sure could use the rain. My zinnias are finally blooming!
I'm finding it an ongoing challenge with the veggies. Some are fighting to survive the heat, and others seem to be enjoying it. The two pickling cucumber plants I have are doing really well, so I planted a few more.
The new beans I planted are coming in nicely. A row of bush, and a row of pole beans. I also planted some Cow Peas, which I've never grown before. Grow beans, grow! We've got room in the freezer for you!
This is the area of beans and cucumbers that I planted most recently, and it's the area I'm having issues with the armadillo. Every night the armadillo turns over 6-12" of soil (thankfully, always in about the same location), and every morning I put the soil back in place. So far, he's only turned over two small plants, but a few others haven't come up ... I'm wondering if he swiped the seed!
I planted several kinds of pumpkins. So far, the mini pumpkins and the Big Max plants are doing the best. The others are up and growing, just not as quickly as the Big Max. The tomatoes aren't putting on a lot of fruit, and I think it's due to the heat. They flower, but only a few tomatoes form. The fruit we are getting is good, but there's just not much of it. I think I'm going to have to start hand pollinating a few of the zucchini plants. There don't seem to be many pollinators around, and either fruits are showing signs of poor pollination, or aren't forming at all. The plants have a huge canopy of leaves, so I cut back some of the oldest, largest leaves tonight hoping that if the few pollinators that are around can SEE the flowers blooming, they'll be more likely to VISIT them! If I still don't see results within the next week, I'll be out there with a Q-tip tickling the flowers.
Not everything is doing as well, though. The peppers are sad, and I'm struggling with one of my cucumber plants. The new growth on the plant is good, but the lower leaves on the plant are yellowing, a sign of too much water... so, now I water it less. But it wilts in the heat. So, I moved it to a location that gets a bit more shade. It's still looking a bit sorry, but hopefully it picks up a bit. Maybe it needs more nitrogen... hmm.
The oodles of grasshoppers hanging out in the garden are doing a large amount of damage to the plants. Over the past few days, I've been "hand picking" the little buggers from the sunflowers, zinnias, and tomato plants and feeding them to the chickens. Not the most enjoyable thing to do, but it's the best way I know to lighten the swarm without using chemicals. And the chickens LOVE grasshoppers!
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