Sunday, June 28, 2009

Sunday Morning in the Garden

Due to a flare up of my back problem, I've not been able to get out in the garden the past several days. DH's been doing a bang-up job tending the crops, harvesting, and watering when needed. He has managed to break the moisture meter, overlook the inception of two (yes TWO) muskmelons, declare the Straight Eight cucumber plant "retarded", and left several pods of okra on the plant for too long, though. Nothing's died (yet) under his care, so all is well and I haven't killed him yet.

This morning, I really needed to be out in the garden, though. It's been hard for me to stay inside away from all that's going on. It brings me such pleasure to be out among the growing things, watching their development. There's also something so very peaceful about being outside in the morning or late evening. The smell of the air and the dirt, feeling the warm (hot) sunshine on my face, and hearing all the sounds of the outside world invigorate me and lower my stress level. We went out well before 9 o'clock this morning, and it was already oppressive out. The thermometer read 86 degrees with absolutely NO breeze or hint of a breeze. It was very icky-sticky out there. Perfect for a swim in the pool, if we had one!

The cantaloupes I planted are really muskmelons, but we call them cantaloupes because that's what they're called here in the states. I planted 2 varieties, Hale's Best which has a normal orangey/salmony flesh of cantaloupes, and Israeli cantaloupe which has a pale green flesh. It'll be interesting to taste that Israeli melon! Here are the vines taking over the space between the back of their bed and the storage shed.
We discovered two new muskmelon babies this morning during our stroll, one of each variety. This one's a Hale's Best, poking out on the backside of the bed, resting on the frame of the bed.This one is another Israeli melon, hiding in plain sight on the top of the bed near the front. I don't know how either of us missed it!
The bush beans that didn't get taken out when the pole bean trellis fell on them during the last rain & wind storm we had are finally producing like they should. These beans are really quite tasty.
The pole beans that survived the fungal infection, overwatering by me, and the sunburn from being watered at the wrong time of day are looking quite lush and really taking off on the trellis DH engineered for them.These two okra plants have finally taken off! They were plagued incessantly by aphids during the spring; I thought they were going to bite the dust! Even after taking this pic, I had to spray some soap water on the okra to kill the aphids. Sheesh!! Anyway, there's two more pods of okra on these two plants that are ready for harvest. All of my okra's doing great during this heat.
I can see these red peppers from my bedroom window and it's been fun to watch them start to ripen. They are really putting on their red color and will be ready to harvest soon. The plant on the far right in this pic was the one tormented by the hornworm, so the peppers are sunburned on the other side. I'm happy to report that the plants are putting on new leaves and I even saw some baby buds on them, too!

We also set out the plants for the new flower bed DH dug for me. These poor plants have been waiting for 2 months to go in the ground! Under my direction, DH placed all the plants in their soon-to-be permanent homes. Maybe early in the morning (like at 5- or 6 o'clock), he can get out there and actually plant them without suffering from heat stroke. Of course, they'll definitely need to be babied until they're established, but thankfully this spot gets the early morning to early afternoon sun and then they're totally shaded by the late afternoon sun.

I was almost to the point where I needed to go back inside and sit down, but I had to see the flowers in the front bed. I so enjoy the blooms from these plants and seeing them grow and flower. I wasn't disappointed as the bed was alive with little butterflies and bees! I love the honey bees that come to feast on the pollen of my plants. Here's a bee on the Monarda (aka Horsemint, Lemon Mint, Bee Balm).
A Zexmenia bloom tangled in the Cigar Plant (Cuphea ignea).The delightful and cheerful California Poppies, white Sweet Alyssum, and the pink Scabiosa Daisy are doing well in the heat. I winter sowed a package of a low-growing mix and was delighted to discover the California poppies made the cut. I thought this Katie's Blue Ruellia had been destroyed by the slugs earlier this spring, so I'm so excited to finally see some blooms. These are the same color as the Tall Mexican Ruellia that bloom along side the garage. Lastly, the Blanket Flower (gaillardia aristata) has really taken off and bloomed like crazy over the past couple of weeks. I'm so happy with this plant!

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