Sunday, July 28, 2013

Big Slacker

It's July and my interest in the garden is at it's annual low.  It's too hot to care; so the best I can do is be the best slacker that I can.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Air Conditioning - Best Invention Ever!

Mid July is about the time of summer that I have had my share of swamp pants and am ready for the coolnees of fall; but that ain't happening.  So I am thankful that we are not barbarians here in Bakersfield, California, and know precisely how to operate an air conditioner - thus reducing the much dreaded "swamp pants" incidences to a minimum.

Not many enjoy July heat; but some in the garden are flourishing:

O'Henry peach
The peach tree is really doing well this summer.  Several summers back it was scalded by the sun.  I thought it would need to be replaced; but wrapping the trunk last summer helped.  (The apple tree continues to need summer wrap.)  Now with no wrap, the peach tree is making a nice canopy of shade and some lovely peaches.
With the house in an upheaval due to remodeling in the kitchen, I have lost my notes on what variety of cantaloupes were planted in early May.  Three hills were planted.  Only a few seeds sprouted.  Those sprouts remained stunted at only 1 - 1.5 inches tall until the serious heat hit in July.  Then...BLAMO!  I suspect planting so early for whatever variety this is does not work best.  I need to remember to plant around Memorial Day in the future.

Gold Currant Tomato Volunteer
Gold Currant grape-sized tomatoes thrive in the garden.  Volunteers sprout everywhere and are constantly eliminated.  A few survive to provide bite sized snacks that my mother devours like candy.  These also make excellent fresh salsa.  I have a few lame peppers and onions in the garden that I may experiment to try to create a small amount of salsa on my kitchen table/ desk/catchall.

But for now, I'm inside running the air conditioner.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Summer Flowers

Mandevilla - Apocynaceae
Typically I do not purchase nursery stock from the big box stores; but last summer I picked up a Mandevilla at Lowe's.  It caught my eye, the price was right, and I took a gamble.  It has done alright.  Last summer it did well and made it through the winter.  The current streak of blazing hot weather really brought on the blooms.  I have it in a ceramic pot with bamboo stakes for it to climb; but it's pretty much stuck as a short, squatty vine. The pot is under the wisteria pergola so it receives sun and shade throughout the day.  It's only watered once a day.  Mandevilla seems to be suited to zone 8-9.

Bougainvillas - Scarlett O'Hara & San Diego Red

I once had a garden wall draped with loads of bougainvillea (Scarlet O'Hara and San Diego Red).  It was a beautiful, thorny deterrent to anyone contemplating scaling my old garden wall.  These varieties look the same to me.  The names were probably the result of legal junk with different nurseries.  These plants were all zapped during a freeze one winter.  They were cut down and discarded except for one.  I still have a Scarlett O'Hara hanging on in a pot - fiddle-de-dee.  The old wall is long gone and has been replaced with a much taller wall to protect the garden from encroaching suburbia.

Bougainvilla - Nyctaginaceae
  Over the 4th of July holiday, while on another hardware run with Farmer MacGregor, I picked up the smallest bougainvillea I have ever seen. The purpose was to plant this Barbara Karst variety in a hanging basket on the shed.  It was put out on the pergola table that day with hopes of planting in the evening.  The poor little plant was fried.  Any flowers that it had dropped and lots of leaves were scorched.  I brought it into the shade of the patio for a week and am now giving it smaller doses of sun until it builds up its tolerance.  It has already started to sprout some fresh growth.  This tender gal may not be a very good candidate for full sun.  With time, however, she may prove to be just as determined as good old Scarlett O'Hara.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

No Salsa in 2013

During this time of year, I should be harvesting the salsa garden and preserving some of my favorite stuff while I having growing.  This year, The peppers are puny and my back still is not allowed to get into gardening.  Dang it.  Farmer MacGregor's tomatoes are coming along nicely though.  His zucchini is getting away from him.  Those suckers have moved on to watermelon size and the squash bugs look like they will win the war again this summer.

 However, there is an even bigger reason I am unable to can. 

Kitchen Update:

The kitchen remodel leaves me with only a refrigerator.  No sink.  No stove.  No counter.  No nothing.

The drywall covers the new plumbing and electrical.  The only thing left from the original kitchen is the window and the door to the garage.  Even those were an upgrade years ago. 

So, it seems there is absolutely nothing left of the original 1968 kitchen.  We will suffer through the ordeal of the process of construction and not being able to have a kitchen so that a new, highly functional kitchen will be available for next salsa season.