Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be, The last of life, for which the first was made: Our times are in His hand Who saith "A whole I planned, Youth shows but half; trust God: see all, nor be afraid!" - From "Rabbi Ben Ezra" by Robert Browning

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Mixed Blessings

The rain has been falling almost continuous for weeks. Considering, however, the fact that I live in a state that has been experiencing severe drought for some years now, I can't complain. But I will say that the blessing of rain brings with it a fair share of problems as well. Take, for instance, the following problems:
  • It won't stay dry long enough for us to mow the grass.
  • There isn't enough time for me to work in the yard or garden between rains and other obligations.
  • We've got slugs for the first time ever!
  • The humidity is uncomfortably high.

But, as I said, there are blessings:
  • Everything is growing at high speed right now!
  • I don't have to be standing out there with a hose trying to figure out how much water to give everything.
  • The bird baths are staying full
  • The car is staying washed!
There was a brief, non-raining (but still wet) period yesterday, but the sun was too intense and the humidity too high to be out in it for very long. Although the weather report called for more thunderstorms today and through the rest of the week, it was actually dry and comfortable enough to get outside and work on my container garden for a little while today.

I had to do some major rearranging of containers to move old plants out and new ones in.

By tomorrow I will have harvested all the remaining lettuce, though some roots are resprouting and I might leave them out to see what they produce. I do have 3 trays of young leaf lettuce, endive, and head lettuce, and a tray of spinach that I never transplanted. I like clipping the tender young leaves and adding them to the salads I prepare each night. It seems to me to be decadent to have baby lettuce leaves in our salads.

I've planted 3 bush cucumbers in large pots, and put them in the best sunny spot on the deck.

I've also planted 6 sweet potatoes in 2 very large pots, and put them in a sunny spot as well. I really hope we get some sweet potatoes from them, even if they are small.

I've got 2 Sweet 100s tomato plants on the deck, as well as 3 patio varieties of tomato.

I've got 2 banana pepper plants that are 3 feet tall now and filling up with large peppers. They both need to be staked to stay upright. John's working on that for me. There are 2 banana pepper plants John brought me back in March. They wintered over in the greenhouse, and John wanted to see if they'd do anything. I didn't think they would, but to my surprise, they are loaded with small to medium sized banana peppers.

I'm going to give up on the radishes. I planted about 100 in two shoe boxes, and they've never bulbed. I couldn't get bulbs last fall or the spring or fall before that either. I'm learning from other gardeners that this is a common problem. I understand from one gardening friend that this never happens with French Breakfast radishes, so I'm going to try some of those in the fall if I can find them. My radishes aren't a total loss. I've learned that the young tops are delicious in a salad.

I have a large tray with 6 strawberry plants that are now flourishing. There are nice sized strawberries everywhere, still green, but one has turned a beautiful deep red, and I'm waiting for just the right moment of ripeness to pick it and give it to my husband.

This is the first year I have grown Swiss Chard, and I wanted it in containers on the deck where I could watch it. I transplanted 2 in the early spring, and they're tall and beautiful now. I've learned that they will do fine all summer, and I can harvest them a few leaves at a time for meals here and there. They will do well until the very cold weather in winter.

That's it for the veggies in the container garden. Everything else is flowers. I've never tried growing them before, and it's nice to see them flourishing without much assistance from me.
I can't remember all their names, but they are lovely, and I am enjoying them. I often forget they are on the deck, and when I step out the door and see them there in all their color, I am always surprised and pleased.

I've got more than 20herbs now. Most of them are on a table near the deck. It can't hold all of them, so I'll be trying to find a place on the deck for as many as will fit. Some still need to be transplanted into pots. The rain has delayed that project too.

I like having a garden bed out in the back yard, but I also love having a few veggies, flowers, and herbs on the front deck where I can get to them quickly for a small, needed harvest, or a brief visit with nature.

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