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Re: The August garden report (loooong)

Well, Cyndi, nobody can say your've been goofing off! I only plant a few garden items in pots, so I can keep up with them. Just about everything else is either covered by every noxious weed native to this area or dead or both. The drought here has taken a major toll on everything. Just heard this morning that the governor of Arkansas has requested the feds declare his state an agricultural disaster, and I understand the Mississippi Delta is doing no better.
zone 7
West TN
----- Original Message ----- From: "Johnson Cyndi D Civ 95 CG/SCSR" <cyndi.johnson@edwards.af.mil>
To: <gardenchat@hort.net>
Sent: Wednesday, August 24, 2005 1:19 PM
Subject: [CHAT] The August garden report (loooong)

I'd like to be able to write about how great my ornamental garden is doing,
but unfortunately the vegetables took almost all my time this year. The
teahouse garden is doing okay, I just dug up and gave away hundreds of
bearded iris out of there, thanks to whoever mentioned Freecycle on this
list. The iris were there before the teahouse garden and I thought I could
work them in, but in the end they just didn't look right. My husband was
able to weed in there for me, it's the one place he can't really mistake a
weed for something I planted.
My dry garden is also doing okay although it's in need of a little weeding.
My desert willow (Chilopsis) are really growing and blooming, and the
spineless Opuntia cactus has actually been blooming on and off since spring.
Penstemon bloomed great and some of the salvia are still blooming as well. I
found penstemon seedlings there earlier this year which was fun.
The cottage garden...well, it's pretty weedy so I won't talk about it, other
than to say that the third Chrysler Imperial rose (I've killed two) is
growing and blooming, with the perfume exactly what I wanted.
In the vegetable garden, I planted way more than I needed of just about
everything. And it has been a weird year, which I guess is due to the
incredibly wet winter. I had powdery mildew on my summer squash. At least, I
think that's what it was, never seen it before but they were covered. I
ended up spraying with a mix of baking soda and light horticultural oil,
which didn't remove it from the older leaves but it is no longer spreading.
And I don't have whiteflies or leafhoppers this year, usually they are a
real pest. That's nice.
I planted four different beds with six tomato plants each. That was nuts, I
never would have had time to deal with that many tomatoes if they had all
produced. However, they didn't. I had blossom end rot so bad in two of the
beds - they had Big Mama and Viva Italias - that not one of those plants has
produced a useful fruit. I know all about the causes and tried all sorts of
things but to no avail. I think I'm going to spring for a soil analysis and
see if anything jumps out to be done. The other two beds did okay. I planted
Classica and Super San Marzano paste tomatoes in one, they did quite well
with big crops from each. The other area was my fresh-eating tomatoes. I put
in Black Plum, Rose, Heatwave, Sunmaster, and Red Pear. The Black Plum
started off well but something did it in; I haven't looked through my books
for the exact disease but there were huge chunks of just dead shriveled
leaves on it, and it didn't grow fast enough to outpace that, although it
isn't quite dead yet. It also had a little problem with BER. Otherwise I
liked the fruit, maybe ping-pong ball size, good flavor. The Red Pear is
very interesting looking, pear-shaped and fluted, but didn't set many fruit
and they are rather wet and flavorless to me. Huge plant though. Rose is
quite nice, a dark pink medium size, more fruit than Red Pear, and a strong
grower. I liked its flavor too. Sunmaster and Heatwave are always good
performers with strong growth, medium size red fruit, and they set well
except in the most extreme heat. They both tend to crack somewhat.
A little disappointed in the melons. I usually grow Ambrosia canteloupes and
Galia, a green melon. This year the Ambrosia all rotted on the vine about
when they were getting ripe. Don't know what caused that except maybe the
temps right then were hitting over 100 consistently. There are more melons
setting now.
My herb bed could have done better. Last year I direct-seeded basil,
cilantro, parsley and dill, then left on a 3 week vacation. When I came back
there were so many weeds! The basil outgrew it all and I made gallons of
pesto for the freezer. This year did the same thing except for the vacation.
The weeds also returned but I had trouble separating them from the herb
seedlings. The basil didn't sprout. Never saw the cilantro. The parsley was
overcome. But the dill triumphed and I picked and froze a zillion dill heads
for making pickles later. Which brings me to the cucumbers...still
attempting to take over my kitchen in the sheer volume of fruit produced...I
will never plant six cucumber plants again. Never. On the plus side, I will
not run short of pickles ever, and people at work seem to appreciate cukes
more than zucchini. Go figure.
Lastly the peppers, I doubled up the number I usually plant and they are
almost all thriving. I can freeze those. I shouldn't jinx it by saying so
but I rarely have problems with peppers. The jalapenos, Anaheims, anchos are
great. The bells have a little bit of BER but not like the tomatoes. The
Italians (giant Marconi) had a little trouble - a couple appear stunted -
but there are plenty of good sized peppers. Roasted red pepper sauce,
grilled red peppers, sauteed peppers and onions, chile rellenos, mmmm. I
love peppers.
And that's about it. Next year the vegs will be cut way back and I will
attempt to devote myself to the cottage garden, which sorely needs


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