Friday, June 3, 2011

Garden Update June 3

This is what a patch of well watered corn and beans looks like.
It rained about 1/2 inch on March 27, 1/4 inch on April 27 and another 1/4 on May 14.  Nothing since.  It's dry.  Compounding the misery is the fact that so far this year we have had 21 days of temps over 90 degrees (99 when I ran out for lunch earlier.)  At this point last year we had 7.  A wise man once told me though, "we can control a lot of things, but the weather ain't one."  I no longer water grass.  I have given up.  All focus is on the garden.  I was thinking about the grass about a month ago.  I hated to let it go, but I thought about what actually makes a lawn look good.  I concluded that it is an even color and an even height when cut.  From that I concluded that brown and dead is an even color and an even height.  I'm done with watering grass.  (EDIT:  As of 10:00PM EST on 6/3 its raining and raining hard!  Thank you Lord!)

The garden is getting roughly 3 hours or watering time each night.  It's doing okay, but only okay.  We're up to about 35 quarts of snap beans that have been put away.  The consistent performer of my garden is getting it done again this year.  The squash are still hanging in there.  The watermelons are struggling.  Even though I doubled the size of the patch, I will be lucky to get half as many melons this year.  The corn looks healthy but the ears don't quite look as fat as they should.  I'm hopeful that the sprinkler water will at least allow them to make something.  Our sweet potatoes are running like mad.  They happen to be in the largest fall path of the water.  That's been really good to them.  The cucumbers finally took off!  I was beginning to wonder, but I've gotten 11 so far.  There are more in the vine too, so it looks like I will indeed be able to enjoy my favorite vegetable through the summer.  Of course I have a bumper crop of sand spurs too.  Anyone know how we might burn those little suckers for fuel or something?  Geez.  What a pain!  Literally.

So that leaves the tomatoes.  I was hopeful for a great crop.  We went in furrow with horse manure, put bone meal in as we planted and even watered them in as we planted too.  They looked great for quite some time.

Most of the tomato plants look like this......
...but many look like this.
Then it hit.  Tomato Wilt Virus.  I started with 72 plants and I'm now down to 40 something.  What a bummer.  It seems like I'm yanking one or two more every day lately.  As far as I have read there is nothing I can do for it except try to keep the thrips out and yank the infected plants as soon as I see the symptoms.  If anyone happens to read this and you have some remedy, please share it!  I would like to at least figure out how to prevent it next year.

It's not all bad though.  I try to find the positive in most everything.  Here are some good pictures:

Very healthy squash.  Squash could grow in a bed of glass.
One of the few watermelons that are going to make it.
At least we'll have one for the beach
Sweet potatoes.  Kids love them and they're easy to store.
Let's hope they make.
I planted one cucumber plant in a 1/2 55 gallon drum as an experiment.
It took off!  Lots of blooms but not a lot of cukes yet.
Amongst the snap beans we had a volunteer pepper plant pop up.
Funny how nature works sometimes.  Wondering if it's a bell pepper or jalapeƱo.
We'll know soon enough.
Still plugging along.  We are losing tomatoes, but if those that are left make we'll still have plenty to enjoy, can, freeze and share.  The hard work is just beginning.  Even though the potatoes are behind us, we're picking beans every few days.  The corn is coming soon too.  That will be a solid two days of picking and processing.  Looking forward to it though.

Y'all take it easy,



  1. We are on the Southeast side of Houston, near the bay and we've had such a LONG drought that our backyard garden is limping along, trying to make it. I can't believe the rains keep skirting us completely; the ground has huge open, gaping cracks and I'm so concerned that once it DOES rain that we'll be flooded due to the earth going water-proof. I can't hardly exist without my daily fresh tomatoes!


  2. Thanks for taking a moment to read Lana! We're not ground-cracking dry yet, but it sure feels like it. Didn't ever think I would hope for a tropical storm, but I sure would like to see a weak one move through....