It's really hot here, and the humidity the past few days has been brutal. After getting very heavy rain about 4 days ago, everything green is just loving it though. The grass is growing so fast, our normal every-10-days schedule is now every 7 days. By noon, it's too hot for me to work outside but I have been getting a lot done early in the mornings.
I'm finally out from under the crushing work deadlines so now I can get out in the garden and not feel guilty about it. Yesterday and today I concentrated again on the veg because that's where the weeds are always worst. I need to get up to the recycling center and see if I can get a few bags of grass clippings to use as mulch on my tomatoes, peppers, sweet potatoes. They really seem to like the extra nitrogen too.
I'm trying also to get a few other things done as they present themselves. For instance, this morning, after weeding and tidying in the veg, I did a little work on the brick/concrete pad outside the veg garden gate. One corner was a bit low and the flower bed beside it was a bit higher and the hens have been kicking mud and mulch onto the pad since last fall. What a mess. And naturally, the dirt gets into the crevices between and weeds sprout. So I pried up the corner, reset it higher, put in a couple of boards along the edge to act as "edger" to the bed and keep the dirt from spilling out. Then weeded and swept the entire pad. Looks much better. Once it's cleaner, from rain or from repeated sweeping, I want to get out the cheap stain and color the concrete brick red. That was a pretty good idea...the concrete pad in front of the garden shed really looks like it's made of laid brick. The stain held up pretty well through the winter, but I noticed that the later sections that I did, where I did not mix in any oil-based stain, seem to have faded/worn away a bit more. Next batch I'll add in the oil-based stain to the latex stain. It doesn't exactly mix in, but I guess it's enough that it sort of helps the pigment penetrate and stick better.
Lots of dead heading and tidying up...the peonies really didn't get to shine this year. I had loads of bloom, but the sudden heat just melted most of them within a few days. I'm glad that my very early blooming white tree peony had a long stretch of cool/cold weather, those blooms lasted for weeks!
I'm utterly disgusted with my asparagus. I started plants from seed about 3-4 years ago (I've lost track) and put them into a spot where I thought they would do very well. Apparently I was wrong. Skinny, spindly things, I was able to get a tiny handful of stalks to eat this spring. I've been coddling and feeding and watering, mulching that patch....and this morning, it's devastated by Asparagus beetle. That's it. I'm cutting it to the ground. I'll start again next year. I decided that since Im taking out the black raspberry patch in the veg and moving it over one bed, I'll renew the soil in that bed, add lots of sand, and make that the asparagus bed. And try again. It just makes me so depressed because I used to have an excellent asparagus patch in the veg and stupidly tried to move it when I expanded the veg. I can't remember where the good original patch was, but I suspect it might have been where the black raspberries are now. I'm tired of fighting asparagus.
Having fried chicken and cauliflower for supper tonight, the last of the heads from the veg. I'm trying to get in as much of the romaine and iceberg lettuce as possible because it wants to bolt. The romaine did pretty well; the iceberg, as usual, did only mediocre and I lost half the heads before they developed. Loose leaf lettuce always does much better for me, it seems to take the heat a bit better than the head varieties.
Peas are suddenly covered in aphids/whitefly. I sprayed the entire row with soapy water and hope that will solve the problem. Never again. I hate growing peas. Almost every year , I get cajoled into growing them and when I do, I always end up thinking it is not worth the effort. Some veg, you just can't beat it fresh out of the garden: sweet corn, lettuce, tomatoes, potatoes... But peas? Frozen peas are every bit as good (in my opinion) as fresh and when I factor in the labor of growing, harvesting, shelling, etc. it is just not worth it. And now aphids. Bah. *hack, spit* Never a'gin.
My broad beans are setting pods. This is only the second time I've grown them and last year I did not know what to do with them and the entire (very small) crop went to waste because I dithered around and waited for E (who talked me into planting) to tell me what to do with them and she din't. *HA* This year, I'm picking them young and cooking them like you would green beans, which is, according to the British cooking show I watched, an acceptable way of preparing them. WHen they get bigger, you shell them out and cook the beans like you would limas.
Today was the big bad day for the two "foster" kittens. I had to turn them over to the animal shelter so they could take them all the way to Gettysburg to be spayed/neutered and microchipped. Fortunately, they were done and back by 1 p.m. so I got them home. They are now officially MY cats: I paid the adoption fee, signed the papers and got them the hell outta there. Poor things are exhausted and finally sleeping quietly. the boy was hyperactive for a couple of hours after we got home; I suspect the vet used buphinorphren as a pain killer and it's been my experience that some cats have what is known as a paradoxical reaction to it: instead of sedating them, it makes them excited and hyperactive. My own vet knows never to use it with my cats; it's permanently in their records, but this unknown vet must have used it on Bart. He finally collapsed and will probably sleep for a few more hours. I'm really not happy about all this; I think that the little girl (Goldie) is way too small for surgery like this and she looks very poorly, very droopy and sad. I gave her some warm kitten milk and boiled chicken, got her tucked up in her bed and she's also sleeping quietly. Hopefully by this time tomorrow we'll be back to normal.
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