Beau August 8th, 2009
We’re in for a few very hot days this week, which is more like our typical August weather. And what better flowers to herald late summer than crepe myrtle? I transplanted this bush a couple of years ago and this is the first bloom after settling in to its new home. I have to admit that I almost ripped it out of the ground in early spring this year! The bark was exfoliating and it just appeared so dead. Go figure- the branch or two I tried were indeed dead, but not the bush itself. Thankfully I figured it out and we have beautiful flowers to enjoy.
The garden is finally coming along and perhaps the warming weather has helped. We’ve got just a few muskmelons growing… or canteloupe if you prefer! The young boy loves canteloupe so this is his plant. Think he needs to pull a few more weeds (me too!). This one looks pretty good at about 6 inches, but easily has a month or more to go.
And we’re finally getting decent cucumbers. I think in my exuberance I planted them too close together and too abundantly. My guess is that the resulting mass of cucumber plants inhibited flower pollination- and the leaf cover was too dense. I noted the bees had been having a tough time getting to the flowers last month. With poor pollination and crowded conditions… we got puny and malformed cucumbers. So I thinned many of the plants and increased the moisture available- now they seem to be happier to produce a decent looking cucumber!
But the tomatoes are another issue. We’ve got some kind of tomato leaf wilt going on. All season the lower leaves on the plant eventually become spotted and yellow, and slowly die back- any ideas? The plants are producing tomatoes now, but the leaves keep dying up the vines. This is an Orange Oxheart heirloom tomato- the leaves are dying back about 3 feet off the ground now, but there’s 15 large tomatoes growing on this one plant!
I thought perhaps it was the cool weather and rain early on this summer, but now it seems to be a fungus or virus of some kind- its even affecting the hybrid Champion and Big Boy plants. They were all purchased as starts from the same company- maybe they came with the problem? Otherwise they’ve had plenty of fertilizer and water so I don’t know what’s going on. We didn’t have the problem in previous years. I think the other plants would be producing a lot more if they didn’t have the problem, but we’ll see how they do this month.
Otherwise the banana peppers and squash are doing pretty well, and the beans have just sprouted. If I keep up with the weeds we’ll be doing pretty well. We didn’t put mulch anwhere this year and are dealing with the result. By the way- I was watching the bees yesterday and today, and it seems that we have a few raiders attacking them. I watched, amazed, as a Bald-faced hornet flew up and grabbed a honeybee! They wrestled to the ground, and then the hornet flew off with the bee in its grasp- poor thing. Hornets and wasps eat other insects and these guys found a ready supply it seems.
The days are growing shorter, but this morning was awesome. I got up before the sun and really enjoyed the sounds of the night as the dawn came. A few frogs from the pond, crickets in the bushes and owls hooting through the forest. Quiet and peaceful otherwise, as I watched the moon drift down toward the trees. A satellite tracked quickly across the sky full of stars, a reminder of our presence in space. Slowly the darkness gave way to light, and the birds and insects came alive. A good cup of coffee with a cool morning breeze is a nice way to start the day.