Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Garden Update--June 6

  • Who can find a virtuous woman? her price is far above rubies

  • ...with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard
Here in southwest Louisiana, we are experiencing record-breaking drought and unseasonable (even for us!) heat, including several days of triple digit temperatures already. Even when the actual temperature is in the 90's, the heat index hits the 100's, so we're cooking, not growing!

Thankfully, the heat doesn't make this New Zealand spinach bolt, and since it's in a container, I can position it to get some shade for at least part of the day. I need to find or make a trellis, these are just about ready to start running.

I thought I'd lost my basil last week--on my day for container watering, I came home to NO water--our rural water system had a leaky pipe, so they cut us off (with no warning, might I add) for about 18 hours. Thankfully it perked right back up when I was finally able to water the next day. The rosemary right above it just sort of sits there, and the smaller New Zealand spinach is recovering nicely from the day I stepped on it while I was dead-heading my petunias.

These are some marigolds I started from seed--I was late with these, but they usually do pretty well in the heat, so I'm hoping these will give me some color when everything else is drooping. They are surrounded by a monkey vine...

...that wants to wrap around everything except the post that I want it to wrap.

Another hot-weather favorite of mine, periwinkles. They should fill this bowl nicely, and can recover from the worst heat--just a little drink seems to perk them right up, even in the oven-like temperatures we usually don't experience until later in the summer.

Can you tell the temperature? It was already 80 degrees, and this was about 8:00 a.m. Right now (4:00p.m.) it's around 98.

Hostas and paint plants are doing well, I have them on the eastern side of the house where they get morning light, but afternoon and evening shade...

...right down from the morning glory/periwinkle combo pot. The periwinkles should spread out a little more and shade the tender bare lower vines of the morning glories. So far no blooms on the morning glory--I'm thinking they need a feeding. One year I had a planter full of these with glorious foliage but no blooms, but as soon as I dosed it good with plant food, they bloomed practically over night.

As far as the actual garden--the cucumbers have about had it. One day they were full and covered with blooms, the next they started drooping. Every day in the heat they wilt down, and they do still perk back up (mostly) in the evenings, but several of the vines have wilted down and died...

...and this is as close to a cucumber as I've seen so far. (edited to add: we found an actual, full-sized cucumber this morning (6/7) while out watering--it was hiding on the far side of the fence, hanging from a vine that was wrapped around the side--so with our lunch we will have a cucumber, along with our lone ripe cherry tomato)

Watermelon vines have finally started growing, and I have a couple of blooms, plus one that looks as though it is trying to make a melon. I hope they will keep going long enough to actually bear fruit.

Some of the blueberries look like they're dying, too...

...and although the blackberries are growing, I've yet to see a single bloom on this bunch. The wilder ones that are in the side yard have bloomed and even made a few berries, but they dried up before they ripened.

I have one hope for a decent harvest--the cherry tomatoes look great so far...

they are loaded with blooms and fruit...

...including this one lone tomato that's actually started to turn!

Petunia are alive--leggy but hanging in there--this is what they usually look like in the middle of the summer--I usually have pretty petunias only in the spring and fall, they fade quickly in the real heat of the summer.

This is my (so far) vain attempt to catch the creature of the night that keeps rooting up the yard. He's move to the "fairy ring" of green I have in the middle of the back yard that catches the sprinkler.

I think the rest of yard is unappetizing, even to the bugs that the armadillo roots around to find.

We've been praying for rain, not just for us, but for the farmers and ranchers who are really beginning to hurt. The news reports widespread crop and pasture failures--while those parishes on the eastern side of the state are still facing floods! As much as I wish my little patch was doing better, I'm thankful that I'm not really dependent on it my for food, or to make a living. It could be a wonderful supplement, but I will still be able to feed my family without it. Others are not so blessed.

I never did try the powdered milk for fertilizer, thing, but my mother did, and her plants have done about as well on reconstituted powdered milk as they have with a light fertilizer. I did read again that it works well for tomatoes, so maybe I'll give my tomato plants a drink of milk this week. It's the calcium that does it, I know, but it does seem to me that if you have a plant or some dirt that you know needs calcium, this would be a safe and "green" way to take care of it.

This post is linked to:

Tuesday Garden Party at An Oregon Cottage

Outdoor Wednesday at A Southern Daydreamer

Frugal Gardening 101 at Cents to Get Debt Free, Amy's Finer Things, and Smockity Frocks

Until next time...


  1. You're making me feel much better about our unseasonably rainy and cool weather! I know our turn with the triple digits will come and I should enjoy what I've got now--but darn it, I want some summer!


  2. Keep your chin up Charlene! The weather has been very strange this year that's for sure. I too, worry about what it means for the farmers and what the cost of food will be for the poor. One year our blueberries looked like that and the deer ate them down to the nubs, but we just left them alone and the next year they came back. That's a good tip about the powdered milk. I might have to give it a try. Thanks!

  3. loved touring your garden! oh its so hot there!
    imagine having armadillos in your yard!
    ohh i like the pd milk idea, gona go try it!

  4. I love your potted plants! Great job! Everything looks wonderful! And all those tomatoes...I'm jealous! :-)

  5. It may not be the best year for gardening. Well, it is definitely going to be a challenge. We are hot here also, setting record highs.
    Your tomatoes look wonderful. My plants are stunted due to the heat. But I'm not ready to give up yet!


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