Post # 144 Garden Update

July 22, 2013 at 3:35 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Post # 144 Garden Update

Well, there’s good news and bad news in the garden.  The good news is that those plants that are still producing after facing the summer in the Arizona are still producing like gang busters.  The two tiny little sweet basil plants are huge and ready to spit out blossoms.  Once that happens, I’ll harvest them, strip all the leaves and either dry them in my dehydrator, or freeze them in ice cube trays.  When that’s done, I’ll pull up the other basil plant.  It turned into a bush and is taking over one corner of the garden.

The tomatoes are still putting out tons of fruit when everyone else’s plants have stopped.  The problem is one of the plants (there are two) grew so large, and got so top heavy with fruit that it broke!  I’ve never seen a tomato plant break before.  We even had them in tomato cages.  So that poor little plant is dying slowing, but it’s still valiantly trying to put out good tomatoes.  The other goliath is still hale and hearty and I’ve got more tomatoes than I know what to do with.  I never thought that I could ever have too many fresh tomatoes, but I’ve got too many fresh tomatoes.  I’m giving them away by the dozens.  Last night, my sister asked if she could have some and of course I told her all she wanted.  She started harvesting the cherry tomatoes which are her personal favorite but I’ve been ignoring because the plants have been hidden by the goliaths.  When she was done, she had about 4 dozen little cherry tomatoes gathered in her shirt, and she told them there plenty more.  I only planted four of those guys.  Also, to my surprise, my plum tomato plant (only have the one) suddenly started putting out tomatoes at an almost alarming rate.  At any moment, I can walk out there and snag six ripe plum tomatoes with no trouble whatever.

The beans never really did well.  As I said before, I’m going to try them again in the fall.  The cantaloupe has gone nuts!  I’ve got a dozen huge melons ripening, and a couple of dozen more starting life as tiny little bulges that were once flowers.  Luckily, I have all kinds of volunteers for those.  I’m not sure when to pick them, so it’s going to be guesswork.  From what I’ve read on the ‘net, harvesting any melon is largely guesswork.

My mint, though, were the real stars of this season.  I like growing mint of various types because it’s hard not to do it right.  As long as you give them plenty of water, they’ll do great.   And they’re very obvious about when they need water.  The peppermint plant which I’ve had for years did as well as it’s always done.  The lemon balm is still going great and has found its way in many salads, salsas, and sauces.  The rest are just hanging out looking and smelling pretty.  The chocolate mint (which really smells like chocolate) is in a hanging basket made out of the coconut fibers.  It burst through the planter and sent runners out which have nearly reached the ground.  It’s fun to watch.

All the other plants are doing amazingly well, too.  The spreading thyme has nearly completely filled it’s basket.  The morning glories have climbed onto the top of the porch and have been flowering every morning.  The coral fountain has not lost any of its blossoms even during the worst wind storms.  Even the carnations are still putting out one or two blossoms at a time.  They love the monsoon season here.  It’s slightly cooler (gee, only 95 degrees!), humid, and mostly sunny with intermittent rain that the plants all seem to like.  So, whether by design or mistake, we made all the right choices for our flowers and veggies and kept things looking pretty.

I’ve learned a few lessons which I’ll take into the garden next year.  I’m going to start earlier.  I want to give the plants an opportunity to be well established by the time the heat hits us.  I’m going to move the garden to a more protected spot where shade rules.  I’m going to go with the raised bed style rather than straight into the ground.  I’m not going to mix my tomato plants next year.  I’m going to trim the bottoms of the tomato stalks so there’s fewer tomatoes so close to the ground.  I’m going to separate the herbs from the veggies.  And I’m going to come up with a more efficient watering system.  And definitely mulch.

The garden still has several more weeks ahead of it, and I’ll likely have a couple more posts about it so it’s still a viable working concern.  Farmer Joe is still farming!



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