Sunday, August 7, 2011

Mama Bean is KinderGARDENing (14)

I think I'm in the summer doldrums, folks. Is it the (unending, insufferable, relentless) heat? Oh probably. When I think of gardening these days, all I seem able to focus on is failure, and I feel like maybe this happens every year (in my soooooo grand total of three years gardening) around this time. Things have been growing long enough that I've forgotten the miracle of sprouts (oh those green specks against all that dark dark earth are so incredible!) and enough summer has passed (the days are shortening ack!) that I become convinced we'll have nothing to harvest.
This picture was taken after a brief rainfall one morning. Squash blossoms are beautiful, but almost none of mine are turning into fruit. That little green globe at the bottom left has already yellowed and shriveled from lack of pollination. Despite tonnes of bees around! Despite this particular plant growing next to a bush of lambs' ears that attracts swarms of bees every day! Ugh. The cucurbits at the big garden are not growing, not flowering, not fruiting. They need water, and I have no time to provide it. I love cukes, squash, and melon, all of it, I love them, and I was so excited for the haul this year. Last year, it was the unending, insufferable, relentless rain that got me down - this year, the lack thereof. If every year I'm to suffer beneath the tyranny of weather, I may simply be unsuited to this level of melodrama.

Those evil looper butterflies are going MAD this week, they are every. where. Can you see the tiny eggs on the leaves in that upper picture? All over my cabbages! I wiped those off with glee, GLEE I tell you! mwahaha The lower picture was taken after that same brief (why why so brief) rainfall. If we can all ignore the holes in the leaves, can we all agree that's one beautiful cabbage right there? /sigh. We've been treating them with BT (I'm telling myself it's almost natural...) so I think maybe there's no new damage to the heads, and the holes in the outer leaves are just from before we started treating. I'm trusting the inner parts of these cabbages will not be mush and worm poop by summer's end. And I'm daydreaming what to make with them, to lift my spirits - I think some coleslaw, and some cabbage rolls, and some corned beef and cabbage, and maybe some "spring rolls" with cabbage skins instead.
This is one of my edamame - they seem too flat to me, but I'm hoping they plump up, and I'm not at all sure when to pick them. Cute little fuzzy thing, though. The legumes at the big garden suffer from the dryness - the beans were flowering, but I haven't even been out again to see if that's turned into beans yet, and they're so overcome with weeds, who knows if I could see the beans to pick them at this point. The peas flowered briefly and made flat little snow peas. Except I didn't plant snow peas. So I assume the lack of water is to blame for that, also. Maybe this evening, I can pop out for a picking.
This is one of several (like, twenty or so) funnel webs on my lawn - the spiders love the dry weather, and it has driven the ants back underground (during last year's wet conditions, all the ant hills emerged above ground, making infuriating mounds in the grass). It's amazing how gardening makes you so much more aware of insect life in your yard - I've been enjoying the other KinderGARDENers photos of their buggies. My remaining update is this: we'll have no corn this year, and the plants didn't grow high enough to be the wind break they were intended to be. Our potatoes were not hilled, which will compromise our yield, and they'll be small from lack of water, but potatoes we will get, and at least one row of them was grown to be donated. Our beans remain to be seen lol. Our onions I think are okay, and we have some at home doing fairly well; a row of them will also be donated. Our carrots are patchy and I have no idea if the lack of water is making for small roots, but we'll see. My cucurbits, as mentioned, do nothing. I have tiny kohlrabis, I have some basil, I have lots of chard, actually. What should I do with chard? And the peas also remain to be seen.
Here's one of the (always) bright spots, my sweet boy. Even when we turn our backs for a minute and he uncaps his breakfast smoothie and proudly pours it all over himself (all the better to lick off himself, of course) he is a bright spot :)
And here's the other (always) bright spot, my sweet girl with her sweet pursed lips and tiny button nose. I get lost in those eyes, and I forget about weeds and rain, and just smile at her smiles.
If my tomatoes grow like this every year, I can almost forgive the rest of the garden for being stupid. These plants have been amazing, the branches are bending to the ground from the weight of the fruit. They're all cherry plants, so they mature early, and I eat a cup or so every evening. But I think that's about to explode, because there are an awful lot of green ones all at the same stage of ripening, so I'll be drowning in sweet 100's soon enough. This is a good problem to have :) Thank goodness for the tomatoes, or I'd be giving up on gardening for sure (no not really. I'm addicted. It's a sickness, perhaps you're afflicted, too?) And, because my little monkey man must monkey-see-monkey-do, I had to teach him to only pick the yellow or red ones, and surprisingly, he has listened. Won't eat them, though haha. His dad is to blame for that.
This was a salve for my gardening ego, as well. I went searching back through my photos for the first few pics of the volunteers that sprouted where the compost bins used to be. From L to R, that's June, July, and August. They probably won't make fruit, but it is amazing just to see what has grown - a miracle! Gardening is humbling in so so (so so so) many ways, and maybe these August doldrums are precisely meant by God to remind us of that. At least that's what I'll tell myself!
(Did you even know chickens and hens flower?! This stalk is over a foot tall. Apparently the blooms can be red, but ours were not, unless the heat/dryness somehow shocked this one out of its normal progression. It's been very fun waiting for it to bloom. Also, I got a new camera. All of this week's pics were taken with a Nikon 3100. I don't suppose it's a very obvious difference in the pics from our Canon point-and-shoot, but it has been a pleasure to use, and that's really why I bought it.)

Please head to Kim's for the other Kinder posts! Also, over forty pounds of food have already been donated!


  1. we are having cucurbit woes as well. i feel your pain. and despite the holes, your cabbages look great!

    congrats on the new is a great one!

  2. First - don't get discouraged!
    I didn't garden AT ALL when my children were that young.
    And how can you resist those eyes?! So sweet!
    Second - you might try planting cabbage again for a late fall harvest. Cabbages do well in cool/cold weather and you might be able to squeeze in another try. also the pest cycle is almost over so the next batch won't fill with eggs! Just a thought...