Thursday, August 27, 2009

Gardening on the Cheap by Late Bloomer

This has been a strange year for this veggie and fruit gardener. First, frozen apple blossoms, followed by cool wet weather, lasting long after its time. Then two hail storms. It's very rare to have hail here, let alone such damaging storms. I've seen many violent winds and heavy rains in my day, but not in such ferocious combinations.

The results have not been pretty or productive. Last year at this time my daughter-in-law was coming over to pick an over-abundance of chile peppers and eggplant. This year, zilch. Nada. Now, with August half gone, and the peppers are just setting on and the eggplants beginning to bloom. I am hoping for a very long Indian summer.

As can be seen in the before and after images, four weeks after the first bad storm, the eggplants that were hail-shredded twice are taller and putting on new leaves and flowers. What troupers! Several pepper plants were uprooted with the last storm's swirling winds and driving rain, but the hail did little damage to them. The cosmos that adorn the garden were very unceremoniously thrown down, but they didn't seem to mind the bare roots; they just pointed their branches to the sun. Salvia and marigolds are un-phazed. All roots have been reburied and the plants propped up, so the garden keeps on keeping on...

I do have lots of green tomatoes and a plethora of yellow summer squash. The winter squashes—which I consider to be the jewel of the garden and kitchen—are making huge leaves and long vines—maybe too big and long. One acorn type is putting on fast-growing fruits, but the crown jewel, an heirloom called Hopi Orange, is only just blooming. I doubt there will be any 15 pounders this year!

Sadly, the apple tree will not have its usual every-other-year bounty. A late freeze look the blossoms before they opened. There are few apples, and those are hail-pocked and small. The good news, all the time usually spent putting up the bounty can be used for other purposes, like putting up my feet.