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Monday, July 25, 2016

Getting free basil plants from cuttings and hot weather gardening schedules

This is a week of 90 and 100 plus degree weather, so early morning and early evening gardening is in order.

I was in the garden at 7:30 this morning transplanting a couple of young lettuce seedlings, harvesting broccoli and strawberries, doing some weeding, trimming leaves from some of the tomatoes, feeding some of the veggies and doing some spot hand watering.

After that I had to set rat and mouse traps in the barn, garage and basement, because I think those guys are the ones who ate my newly sprouted pole beans and ravaged my fava bean crop. And all my figs are disappearing from my lovely new tree before they ripen, It's now human and vermin war at my house! Then I came in the house and put a couple of dozen Roc D'or yellow bush beans on well dampened hand towel paper and into a sandwich bag to sprout. That usually takes about 3 days, and then I'll plant them. It's so hot, that if I planted them outside, they'd probably cook before they sprout!

I'll try to get back in the garden a little before dusk. The basil cuttings I started in a short, wide glass of filtered water are well rooted and I'd like to get those planted tonight. The trick I found is to change the water daily. I have a lot of basil already planted, but I believe you can never have enough basil and I want a lot of pesto for freezer to last me through the winter.

It's too hot to spend any large amount of time outside right now but I have gone out a couple of times for about ten minutes at a time to pull up some dill plants from two of my back porch window box planters and re-water those planters, and pull a few weeds. Even though those planters are on a 15 minute morning drip, in this weather it isn't enough. I also had to spot water a couple of things in the back yard flower bed where I recently had to plant some squash plant starts because I had run out of room in my raised bed veggie garden.

This split early morning and early evening garden work is going to continue all week. We're expecting mid and high 90's and even two of three 100 plus degree days this week. My serrano chiles will love it!

Time to check my Farmers almanac and double check when I can plant some late veggies and make notes of those dates in my garden calendar.

The good and bad garden news of artichokes fava beans etc etc

Well, it's been 3 1/2 months since my car accident and surgery to repair the tibia fracture in my right leg. It's healing but it's a lot slower process than with my two hip replacement surgeries. I'm still sitting down while gardening, and am grateful for my faithful, strong, short, ladies shovel.

Fortunately I got a lot of early planting in before the early April accident, but after not being home for about 6 weeks, the garden was filled with weeds and lettuce and arugula  that was bitter and going to seed. The first week home I was still not able to work in the garden, but the following week my friend Kay came over and the two of us did a great job in pulling out those spent plants and weeds in the veggie garden, and I planted a lot of basil and some beans.

Before the accident I was getting ready to plant a bunch of perennials and other things and fortunately Bill, who cuts my lawn was able to just plant them wherever there was space. So I have a lot of things that are not where they will be permanently and at some point I will have to be moving them, but that will be a job for the fall or early spring.

One of the grape vines I planted this spring already has grapes on it, which is a nice surprise, and an old grape vine that has never had grapes, now has some after we cleared and pruned a lot of things to let in more sun. I have no idea what kind of grapes those are, but since the house is 100 years old, I imagine they may be concord grapes.

That last two weeks I've been harvesting my early potatoes, fava beans and broccoli, some strawberries. My early beets and radishes were woody and past their time by the time I got home, and the spinach was gone. I harvested my garlic, shallots, and bulb onions about a week or two ago and they're curing on the front porch which is shady and get a lovely breeze throughout the day.

There are evidently a lot of critters visiting the garden and helping themselves to the strawberries and other things. I planted pole beans against the back of the barn and they sprouted and a day or two later they were all gone, I'm dealing with a rat problem who I suspect are responsible for that. They or a raccoon also ate a lot of my fava beans. I also have squirrels, and a visiting skunk, and lots of birds, so it's difficult to pinpoint exactly who the guilty culprit or culprits are. Meantime I'm working on the rat problem and have caught a lot in traps. They're in the barn and in the back walls of the barn area which facea the veggie garden and have done a huge amount of damage in to the paper goods and food I had stored in there. They even broke through all my bags of organic fertilizers and were eating them! They also ate into plastic jars of organic insecticides, large plastic jars of soap, olive oil, ketchup, etc. The damage they did and the mess they made while I was healing away from home was unbelievable!

But there is good news, my two year old artichoke produced a lot and the ones I bought and those I started from seed are doing well. The leeks are looking great and the broccoli is still producing so many side shoots that I'm getting a bit tired of eating broccoli. I planted a good amount of basil and it has taken off in this heat. Bill my gardener planted the tomatoes and they're planted too close, and weren't planted the way I'd plant them with lots of compost worked in; but at least there are tomatoes on my  plants.

The cherry tomatoes have started to produce but I'm not getting a lot so I think the critters are keeping those down. I picked my first heirloom but it's really small; but I'm happy with it small or not. The newly planted blueberries were productive considering their size and the same with the first year raspberries. And I have peppers on my bell pepper plants and the serrano chiles have a lot of small peppers on them now. So with all the time lost, and plants maybe not being planted in the right spot, or too close together, I'm grateful for what I am getting from the garden.

So far, the pole beans I planted late in another area, against a pole bean tower are so far untouched by critters.

I have late planted Italian Corno de Toro peppers that I started from seed, but the plants are so small that I doubt if I will get fruit this year but I'm hoping for the best.  I planted a few Roc Dor yellow bush beans, which are my favorite and they're flowering now. And the new fig tree has a few figs on it, but I haven't had one yet because some critter is getting to them as they near ripening.

This week I transplanted a few volunteer arugulas, and I think I'll pull out the fava beans and plant more Roc D'or beans in that spot.  Some I planted were eaten by a critter and only one plant survives so far; but I'm hoping for the best since I've already culled a lot of the rats and am keeping the traps baited and hoping for the best. I think this time I'll put some remay over the newly planted seed bed and leave it there till they get  bigger. I've never had this type of rodent problem so I'm learning as I go.

It's time for me to get some early garden work done, We are going to be in the 90's today so 8 am garden time for spot hand watering and harvesting is on the agenda today. Breakfast will have to wait.