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June 2018, Week 2: Have You Ever Seen The Rain

Here we are, Oklahoma gardeners, starting the second full week of June. Since some of us had rain a couple of days ago, and some did not, and some folks had too much and some folks had too little or none at all, I've got rain on the brain, so this week's theme song is Have You Ever Seen The Rain by Credence Clearwater Revival.

Have You Ever Seen The Rain

So, what do you think you'll be harvesting this week? In my garden it still is just the same old, same old early summer things---onions, perhaps potatoes if I feel energetic enough to tackle them, summer squash, and tomatoes (especially SunGolds and Galina's Yellow). I harvested all the big tomatoes Friday that were at breaker stage or beyond, and harvested the last of the bush beans and took out the spider mite-infested plants. While the pole beans are blooming, I'm not sure they're setting beans. It is so hot that we might be getting nothing but blossom drop from them. The okra plants are about the size that I'd expect them to start blooming, but they took a hit from herbicide when neighbors sprayed either last week or the week before last, so they've mostly just been sitting there stalled. The watermelon plants are small but looking good. I didn't plant them until I took out all the brassicas so it will be a while before we are harvesting melons.

Right now the garden is pretty stable. It is mostly mulched and I know I need to add more mulch, but I'm just not in the mood to work that hard in this heat, so mostly I weed every morning in an effort to at least keep up with the weeding even if I'm not adding more mulch.

Diseases aren't too bad yet, likely because there hasn't been much rain. Pests are moderate in our garden. About the only ones I see that worry me are the gazillions of tiny little grasshoppers and crickets, stink bugs (both brown and green) and spider mites. I did find and kill a couple dozen little stink bugs last week that had just hatched (they were on a zinnia flower). I've been on a stink bug killing binge because I hate the damage they do to tomatoes. Sometimes when we have both the stink bugs and leaf-footed bugs in great profusion, the tomatoes aren't even worth harvesting and eating, so I hope to keep eradicating both those types of pests when I see them. We do have immature wheel bugs and assassin bugs in the garden and they are constantly on the prowl looking for prey. We also have lady bugs, and I'm actually seeing more of the native ones right now than the Asian ones. There's no squash bugs or squash vine borers yet, but every time I say that I fear I am jinxing myself and that the garden will be full of them the next time I walk through the garden gate.

The garden is full of bees and other pollinators, butterflies and birds. There's a ton of things in bloom, with cool-season flowers (dianthus, pansies, violas and calendula) mixing in with hot-season flowers: lilies, dahlias, daylilies, verbena bonariensis, Purple Homestead verbena, lavender, red yucca, Black & Bloom salvia, meadow sage, autumn sage (including Hot Lips), Laura Bush petunias (I just cut them back by 75% because they were so unruly), celosia cristata, portulaca, balsam, salvia farinacea, malva sylvestris 'Zebrina', orange and yellow marigolds, crinum lilies, daylilies, lantana, globe amaranth, batfaced cuphea 'Diablo', datura, and zinnias in a plethora of colors and sizes: with the colors being green, pink, coral pink, cherry red, scarlet red, lemon yellow, yellow, purple, orange, coral and white. I'm spending more time dead-heading flowers now than harvesting veggies, but that is okay. The four o'clocks have just begin to bloom right outside the garden gate. I try to keep them out of the fenced garden, but am not always successful at that.

There's a lot of blue jays and mockingbirds visiting the garden. I hope they're eating grasshoppers and caterpillars. There's hummingbirds too, although they are just as happy to visit the blooms of the trumpet creeper vines (Madam Galens and Flava) growing outside the garden and coral honeysuckle 'Pink Lemonade' which grows both inside and outside the garden since it is on the entry arbor.

The rain we got last week was nice, but not flooding rains like some of y'all had, and not enough to keep us from continuing to slip into drought. The roadsides and pastures are starting to look pretty bad as more and more green turns brown. It is too early for that, but we get what we get....and we are dry enough here that lightning started a grass fire last week. That's always an ominous sign when a fire starts during a thunderstorm.

That's my weekly report. What's new with the rest of you?


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