Friday, August 31, 2018

Garden Friday

Welcome to Garden Friday on this final day of August!
We are still working on the new design of the garden.
There is always a project to do!

This bush on the Southeastern corner of the house had to go.
Not only did it block the light into the bathroom,
it was so massive that it was impossible to trim.
Plans for this area include our rain barrels
and a garden work station for me.

Before 7 a.m. on Sunday, I had tackled most of it.
Big K was still sleeping and had no idea I was out there.
I think he was a bit startled to see most of it gone by the time he rolled out of bed.
He later helped with some of the upper branches,
and a chainsaw will take care of the rest this weekend.

It does bother me a bit to remove a potential home for the birds,
but we do have an abundance of trees on the property,
with more to be planted over the next few years.
These branches will be stripped of leaves
and used in a multitude of ways in the garden.
One idea I'm toying with is creating a perimeter wattle fence.

We hit pay dirt, folks!
This week we were able to borrow a trailer
(thank you, friends),
and pick up a fresh load of organic compost.
It always feels like Christmas watching that luscious loam
filling the bed.
This load will be used to fill in our newest raised bed,
along with a pollinator bed we will be planting near the veggie garden.

Speakin' of which...
Here is our hugelkultur bed almost topped off.
It needs just a bit more soil added
so that when it settles after a rainfall,
it will be the exact height for planting.
We're getting closer to sowing our fall crops.
(Everything has been late this year,
as we have been getting the garden established.)

 This was a sandbox that was left on the property when we took possession.
C helped me move it to the corner of the veggie garden,
and it will be used to sow pollinator plants.
Since I am not sure about the origin of the wood,
it seemed like a good idea to keep veg out of it.

The legs will be cut off so that it is closer to the ground,
and then we will fill it with brush, twigs and leaves
before adding soil for planting.

While working on our rain barrel project,
(which we hope to finish up this century),
we pilfered these long 2 X 4's and decided 
to use them as a frame around the veggie garden.
We will keep an eye out for anyone giving wood away
on Craig's List or Next Door to complete the border.

 In the veggie bed,
this is the state of most of the tomatoes.
Gorgeous globes of goodness,
just waiting to ripen and be enjoyed.
I've read that optimal temperatures for ripening are between 70-75 degrees,
and it has consistently been hotter than that,
so I'm thinking that it's slowing down their progress.

We have gotten a few morsels so far.
Patience is indeed a virtue.

The okra is still flowering
and kicking out pods.
It felt good to be able to share a bagload with our neighbor,
who is a native North Carolinian and avid okra consumer.

This crop of okra has performed well
with no disease or pest problems.
Some of the leaves have holes in them,
but they just keep right on producing.
Next year, I believe I'll be planting more,
so I have plenty to pickle.

The sweet potatoes are performing double duty.
Not only are they growing some tasty tubers to harvest,
right now they are providing shade 

for the broccoli starts.
These were sown a while back and became leggy.
They had been on the back deck, where it is even more shaded,
so this should give them a bit more sun, 
but still protect them from the scorching summer sun.

 The pumpkin is flowering,
teasing us with the promise of fruit.

 Unfortunately, the first female flower that I spotted dropped.
We have a number of male flowers,
and I'm hoping the gals show up soon
so that we will be able to have pumpkins for autumn.

Some of the Tithonia (Mexican sunflower) are coming up in the okra bed.

Over in the butterfly garden,
the first berries of the beautyberry are sunning themselves.

 This gorgeous Euphorbia was on my wish list for a long time.
It hasn't disappointed.
With very little care, it has continued to flower through the hot, dry summer.
The photo really doesn't do it justice.

The lantana adores the heat.
It flowers nonstop and attracts so many beneficials to the garden.
I'm curious to know if it will come back in the spring.

 Aside from providing nectar and host plants for butterflies,
we contribute scraps such as the rinds from melons
so that they can get nourishment and moisture from them.
Placing rocks in shallow receptacles filled with water 
is another easy way to support wildlife in the garden.

Another week of summer has ended,
bringing the promise of cooler days 
and new crops on the horizon.

May you find the blessings in every season.

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