Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Goodbye July... Hello August. Garden Update!

A rare sight but we did get one day of
nice rain!
Source: Lanie Ricketts
Today is the last day of July and what a crazy month it has been!  I had to let some things go in the garden.  Like my precious non-GMO corn, the beans have went to hell in a hand basket and the tree rats have practically destroyed almost off the the mammoth sunflowers and the watermelon.  The corn tassled too short because it was stressed by the heat and lack of rain so it's trash.  The beans are suffering from the lack of rain and the watermelon just isn't happy.

I still say that rain water is different than city water and that has a lot to do with how successful organic gardening is.  If I bought my plants at Walmart where they were doused in Miracle Grow and other stuff, they would probably be doing quite well with the chemicals, like chlorine, in city water.  That's the reason why the chickens drink water that was poured the day before.  The chlorine will evaporate out of the water if it's left to sit for a while.

Not all hope is lost yet.  Some of the plants are still doing very well.

My Cherry Tomatoes.
Source: Lanie Ricketts
My tomatoes are doing awesome.  The cherry tomato plant is just fantastic and is producing like you wouldn't believe.  I'm hoping to get seed from this plant for next year and I'll grow multiples of this kind so I can take some to the flea market.  I'm pulling a good 1/2 pound of cherry tomatoes off of that one plant every day.

The other tomato plants are doing very well.  They all have nice green tomatoes on them and the Lemon Boy has already given me 4 beautifully ripened yellow tomatoes.  The Charlie Chaplin has hung in there after being slaughtered by the meaties but it too has beautiful green tomatoes on it.  A couple of the plants are almost as tall as I am.

Green Peppers in My Garden.
Source: Lanie Ricketts
The wind from the storm that rolled through last week knocked my caged tomato plants completely over.  I ended up having to stake the cages upright because they wouldn't stay up with the dirt as wet as it was when I tried to upright them.  There weren't any losses from the storm and I think that if the plants would have been used to wind and rain like that, they would have been stronger at the roots and main stem and would not have toppled over like that. It's crazy how nature works sometimes!

The green peppers have restored my faith in them.  I thought for sure that they were done for when i didn't see any action after the first couple appeared.  The first ones didn't get very big at all and only one was even edible.  Now there are multiple blooms on three of the plants and one has a trio of really nice size, beautiful green peppers.  I'm leaving them on for a few more days but they will be ready soon.

My Beautiful Sage Plant in the Herb Garden.
Source: Lanie Ricketts
Herbs must be my thing because they are doing very well too.  My rosemary plants are getting big.  Big enough that I'm a little concerned about their move into the indoors this fall.  I sure hope I get the whole root system when I lift them!  Basil and sage are doing fantastic too.  These plants will be HUGE next year!

I bagged the black oil sunflower heads to keep the damn birds off of them.  They were treating the sunflowers like they were part of a birdie buffet.  I closed that down pretty quickly because it was starting to piss me off.  The chickens have already enjoyed a few of the sunflower heads and ate the whole things.

Chicken Eggs Laid by my Girls!
Source: Lanie Ricketts
The two pumpkin plants that are in the eco roof on top of the coop are hanging on!  I'm not sure if there will be pumpkins this year but am keeping my fingers crossed that they come through.  I'd love to be able to make one pie for Sweets and have a few for the girls to enjoy.  When chickens eat pumpkins, it makes their eggs even better and the yolks darker and richer.

Speaking of the chickens, they have been good girls!  We are getting an average of six beautiful brown eggs a day.  The shells are nice and thick like they should be and the yokes are fantastic and creamy.  Probably because they aren't eating just chicken feed.  They are given things out of the garden on a regular basis.  I'll be getting more hay for them soon because it seems to be working out great for them and they really like it.  There's a nice compost brewing in that chicken coop and I'll want it for fall/winter planting next month so I'll have to replace it!
Poor Zeus passed out in my lap while
I was cleaning his injured waddle.
Source: Lanie Ricketts

Zeus has recovered nicely and will go back into the coop this evening a few hours before it's time for them to roost for the night.  His waddle has completely healed up, although it is noticeably smaller now that it was before they attacked him.  I was really worried about my Zeusie for a couple of days but he pulled through like a trooper.  If you don't know about what happened to him, read this previous blog entry and it explains it all.

It's time to plan for fall/winter plantings.  I didn't even use the raised beds that I built so I will be moving those  closer to the house so they can be used for turnips, beets, lettuce, sugar snap peas and other beautiful things that grow in the fall.

The fall meat birds will be here around the third week of August so you'll be seeing photos and posts about little greasy chicks again for the eight weeks that follow their arrival.  I'll have to finish the meatie pen and chip up all that brush that's back there next to it and that's on the to do list for the third week of August.  I'm actually excited about buying a wood chipper to make mulch!  That thing will come in handy.

As usual, there's a lot to do around here.  Hopefully the weather will not be quite as brutal so I can spend more time outside.  Being indoors all the time because of the heat is for the birds and I hate it.

Happy Tuesday!



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