Boy, it’s been a warm one this year. We’ve had off and on mini-heat waves since June. It gets hot and sticky and then nice and cool. I’m not one for the heat, but I make do. Last week, in between the humidity, the temperature dropped to 53 degrees overnight. Laura and I had the window in the bedroom wide open and let me tell you, it was glorious. I had to stop myself from running around outside like a crazy man. I do love crisp air and the best part is that more of it is just around the corner. October will be here before we know it and we’ll be back in the car traveling towards New Hampshire for some nice hiking. I’ve already got our spot picked out.
Anyway, I thought I’d update you on my backyard garden. The last time I mentioned this garden was back in May and then June and not a lot was going on. I first put down the weed barrier and then planted some veggies a bit later on. The growing was slow going just about all the way through June, but it’s much better now. I think the plants wanted some real good heat and some watering. I’m so lazy when it comes to gardening these days that I don’t get out there nearly as much as I should to water. But since it’s been raining on and off, I luckily haven’t had to do much of that at all. At this point though, I’d say everything is just about the way I want it. For the past few weeks, we’ve been enjoying wonderful kale and chard salads and our cucumbers, zucchini, and herbs are doing very well. Not to mention my grapes. They’re spectacular as well. I am looking forward to making some more grape juice.
Before I begin, let me tell you about a new rule I’ve laid down around here. I will never again plant any type of garden without a weed barrier. I’ve concluded that I must have been crazy to not use one in the past. By this point in the season, if I hadn’t put a barrier down, I’d be inundated with crabgrass, clover, and just about any other type of weed you can think of, growing right next to my beloved tomato plants, among others. Can you imagine? I can. Year after year, I’d have to go out there to pull these weeds out. I’d eventually give up because the job was just terrible (and really not worth it after a certain point). I’d tell myself that I’d simply grab as much in the way of vegetables that I could and leave it at that. Well, no more. This year, I’ve got just about zero weeds. I can’t believe it. So weed barrier yes, exposed dirt no.
I’ll start off with a photo of our cucumber plants in some buckets along with one part of a grape vine clung to the fence. I’ve got lots of big buckets in which to plant. We went out and bought a few bags of garden soil and I filled the bottom half of the buckets with regular dirt from the woods and then the top half with the good stuff. I’m so thrifty.
These are beets and kale growing in buckets. I really like the idea of growing in these types of containers. There’s a lot of control this way. I can move them around if I want and there aren’t any weeds to speak of.
This is some baby lettuce that I’ve got growing in buckets as well. I have some more mature lettuce in the regular garden, but since this grows in waves, I like to have a few different areas at the ready. The trick with lettuce is to plant the seeds in shallow holes, water it often, and to keep the slugs away when it starts growing. Slugs are insidious little creatures.
This is half of the regular garden. Lots of beautiful kale in there.
Here’s the entire garden. I just pruned the tomato plants yesterday and now they look like little palm trees.
These plants should be twice this size by now, but they got a very late start.
When it comes to pruning tomato plants, I say the more the better. I really butcher mine and I get tons of tomatoes every year. If you don’t prune them heavily, they’ll grow out of control.
Here are some nice photos of some kale, chard, baby tomatoes, tomato flowers, and a little zucchini.
These are three of Laura’s zucchini plants. They also got a late start because they just didn’t want to grow. But when they finally did, boy did they ever. They’re just beginning to produce.
And finally as a special treat, here’s a glimpse of the bird feeder contraption that I made for Laura. We used to have this closer to the house, but the seed was making a mess. The squirrels would also climb the siding and jump onto the feeder. I made it so no squirrels can make it up to the top anymore. We’ve been living in paradise without having to deal with those stupid squirrels eating the bird food. And if you’ll notice, I put a roof on it so the feeders can hang from it. It’s pretty awesome.
So tell me, how is your garden going? Do you have one? What’s the season been like for you?