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The Garden in August

The garden is not what I expected but lovely nonetheless. The only seeds that came up were the carrots. The rabbits mowed them down once but they look like they might do ok. The plants I put in struggled early because of all the rain. My tomatoes have only produced a small amount and my peppers struggled as well. I did get a couple of black bell peppers and the hot banana peppers have done OK. It looks like I’ll get some habaneras as well but they’re not ready yet.


My saving grace was putting in the flat of strawberries by the house. Not only have they done well but I got some great volunteer tomatoes and squash out of my compost. Those tomatoes have produced way more than the ones I planted. I got a couple of really nice pink ones that seem like an heirloom variety but the big producer has been a beefsteak looking tomato. The squash vines have been huge and spilled across large chunks of yard. They’ve produced some small butternuts and one good looking pumpkin. More are developing and I think I should do all right on the butternut front. In the heart of summer the vines were growing a foot a day and they were putting up all these great looking huge yellow flowers. I think with all the rain there were a lot that didn’t get fertilized and I had some kind of cutworm thing going that cut off a lot of blooms. They would have been worth it had they not produced anything though the flowers are so pretty in the morning.


Yesterday I made compost tea and fed my struggling starts. My compost continues to do well. I’ve got my 2nd batch ready to go and it looks really good. I also started cultivating the swiss chard. It is pretty heat tolerant so I put it in in July and it is doing well. Well lo and behold I came across this really great looking praying mantis. I had seen a little one in the spring down the bed on a volunteer tomato and I like to think this one had grown up in my garden. I took some pictures, don’t know if they came out.


So the beds by the house did great. I also tried a bed up by the privacy fence on the high part. Instead of too much water like the low beds I have too little water. I may get a sun flower or two to bloom, but no summer squash, and even the native plants are struggling up there. The soil is weird very light and airy but dries like cement. I tried mulching which I think helped but was too little too late.


I planted a lot of native stuff with decidedly mixed results. Deer came and ate my Paw Paw trees. I put in two on the shady side of the house in front of the fence. They came back post-deer until I had a brain fart and mowed them down. One came back and Harry mowed it down the first time he mowed. So no paw paws. On the plus side my persimmon that got bug eaten down to stems and then mauled down to a stump by dogs shot a branch that is growing straight up and might survive after all. So who knows maybe the paw paw is of the lazarus variety as well.


I planted black berries and one black raspberry along the back fence. One plant got buggy, bad aphids maybe. I squirted it off real hard with the hose and that took care of it. I also spruced up the shady garden bed but a lot of that stuff just got overrun or lost. The brown eyed suzans did great this year, plus some lilies that were here before me, and some other stuff bloomed. From the stuff I planted the spiderworts did ok for awhile but just kind of got tangly and droopy.

I planted some coreopsis by my mail box which did just great. Very pretty much of the summer. I have some asters there, I thought they weren’t doing anything but a crossword puzzle clue said asters bloom late so maybe they’ll do something.


The sickly dilapidated mums I got at the hardware store came back in two places. One is huge with pretty yellow flowers. My pink rose bush from last year has done nice this year and the hostas boomed, until the deer ate ‘em. I fertilized, with chemicals (I dumpstered them years ago, what are you gonna do?). I added 2 discount rose bushes late, one put out a pretty rose, I should have clipped it and forced it to grow plant but couldn’t make myself until the bloom started to fade. One rose bush died, I delayed planting them a week because I got busy and weather got spotty. Plant murderer. I also planted a native rose, its itty bitty. Just below the roses I transplanted the lilies an old client in Michigan gave me. She told me to move them every year and they struggle when they’re in the same spot for years. I figure I’ll move them somewhere else and then add more rose bushes where the lilies were.


Henry, my neighbor gave me some forsythia. I put some under the overhang up front and on the shady side. Some I put in the back as part of a row of bushes kind of mirroring my clothesline. I anchored that with a witch hazel, which seems to be doing pretty good. So writing all this makes me feel like I’ve done something. I also pulled a couple of rose of Sharon out of the lilacs I planted below my bedroom window (where they get way to much sun). I planted those by my hidden back gate in the shade of the bush honeysuckle. I confirmed that one is a dangerous nuisance and am going to cut it out this winter. I hope the Rose of Sharon is not the same, but my mom liked them and they hold some nostalgia for me.

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