Behind the Fence

Monday, August 22, 2011

How is the Garden

How is the garden?” A question I often hear this time of year. Actually it is in better shape in August than in previous years even with several weeks of 100° plus heat index. The rainfall in our area, while not as much as the garden would like, has been more frequent than in the past few summers. Having cut my work hours to one day a week and not going out of town during the summer has allowed me to give the garden consistent, daily attention.

Friends, neighbors and co-workers have been the beneficiary of the abundant tomato crop (especially the Sun Sugars) and the hot peppers.

Lemon Fig
 A bumper crop of Lemon Figs is just about finished fruiting. They have paired nicely with the Malabar spinach, topped with goat cheese and lime olive oil vinaigrette. The Malabar spinach was a wonderful surprise given to me by a friend. It came up as a volunteer in her garden. I am so looking forward to saving seeds to plant next summer. The Alma fig tree is loaded with little figs but they seem to be stagnant. They look healthy but not getting larger. The Alma fig wintered over, covered with leaves behind the greenhouse while the Lemon fig was cozy inside the greenhouse. Perhaps Alma just got off to a later star.

Malabar Spinach
The carrots and beets are small, but tasty. The basil has been very nice. Since we eat so much basil I have started some plants for a fall crop.

Due to lack of space, the melons were planted late. The vines look healthy so if we have a late fall and the raccoons don’t find them we should have Sugar Baby and Charentais melons. Both are short maturation.

The cutting garden has been a playground for butterflies, hummingbirds, robins, cardinals and a cute little black and white bird I haven’t identified. As my husband and I look toward retirement in a few years I think the potager will change, perhaps it will be more of a habitat for the birds and butterflies.

Although the summer garden is near finished, the fall garden is just getting started. Shelves in the “propagation station” are loaded with pansy and ornamental cabbages. Cuttings of mums have rooted and are waiting for their “home pots” to be vacated by the petunias and verbena.

Cuttings from roses, verbena and lavender are in moist soil under plastic. Cuttings from lantana, geraniums, rosemary and the Peggy Martin rose will be taken in the next week.

So, “how is the garden?” It is very much alive and full of activity.

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