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June 2018, Week 4, Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head

This week's title song is for all the gardens and gardeners who are receiving rain these last few days. Hopefully the rain is falling gently and kindly and without unwelcome tagalongs like strong damaging winds and hail.


Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head (B J Thomas)


If you can remember when this song was a big hit and when the movie was one as well, then you're at least as old as I am. (grin)


As we begin the last full week in June, your heat-loving crops should be coming into their own now. In our garden, the daily harvest continues to be the same old things---tomatoes, peppers (sweet and hot), yellow summer squash and zucchini. There's no sweet corn or cucumbers here as I opted out of planting the back garden due to the early heat/dry conditions at this end of the state, but I imagine those of you who planted corn and cucumbers are close to harvesting them if you haven't started harvesting them already. The okra is very close to producing, but just seems slow to bloom. My okra did get hit by herbicide drift, so for the plants that survived it, the slowness possibly is related to that. The southern peas are very close to their first harvest---possibly today or tomorrow. Melons won't be ready for a while yet since they followed the brassicas and went in later than usual (another problem resulting from not planting the back garden). The last onions, the long daylength Copras, are still standing but have the look of onions approaching maturity. I'm just waiting for their necks to soften and fall over so I can harvest and cure them. These are the onions that will last for many months after curing, whereas the short-day and intermediate-day length types do not last nearly as long in storage. Pole bean and lima bean plants continue to suffer from blossom drop because of the heat and are not likely to produce anything this summer. I'll probably remove these plants and replace them with something else if I don't find any beans on them by the end of the week. The sand plums are through producing, the cultivated plums are producing ripe fruit now, and the peaches are nearing maturity. Of course, we'll have to fight the squirrels for every peach we get.


What's everyone else harvesting?


As the heat cranks up, watch for the summer pests whose populations crank up in the heat. This includes stink bugs (green and brown), harlequin bugs, asparagus beetles, leaf-footed bugs, squash bugs, squash vine borers, spider mites, grasshoppers, crickets, katydids, cucumber beetles (striped and spotted), many kinds of caterpillars, blister beetles and possibly aphids if your garden has them. My garden rarely has aphids so it is hard for me to keep up on when they're showing up or not showing up somewhere else.


If you've been receiving rainfall, keep an eye out for the fungal diseases that tend to pop up in vegetable gardens following summer rainfall.


It's hard to believe that we'll be talking about July just a week from now, but I'm ready for it. The sooner July comes and goes, the closer we get to autumn and (hopefully) kinder gardening conditions.


Have a great week everyone.


And, if anyone else here is like me and not receiving rain, here's our own slightly modified theme song for the week:


It Never Rains in Southern California


I just substitute Oklahoma for California and there's the theme song for my summer.


Dawn




Comments (89)

  • hazelinok
    5 years ago

    Megan. I can only imagine how frustrated you must be. Don't give up, though! Maybe find another hobby, but don't give up on gardening either.

    Maybe as you're fixing your soil and such...do a container garden. Just to keep you gardening. It may not be the dream of a garden that you want, but you will get there.

    And your compost is doing well. That's really encouraging. And who doesn't love peppers?!

    My garden is a mess too. It's really been a strange year for most people if it makes you feel better.

    Hugs!


  • hazelinok
    5 years ago

    Oh, and I'm not ignoring anyone else. I'll be back tomorrow.

    Also, Megan, have you ever watched CaliKim's youtube channel? She has a series on container gardening that is interesting. you'll have to look through her videos to find that ones that are specific to containers. Here is one.


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Today I'm going to work on cleaning out the closet in that room so they'll have some closet space too. By the time they come to visit next weekend, they'll have their own room decorated and furnished just for them. It isn't gardening work, and y'all know I'd rather be out in the garden, but at this time of year with the heat and the snakes, I have to sort of give up on gardening and just wait for conditions to improve. Dawn
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  • Nancy RW (zone 7)
    5 years ago

    Pretty sure I can say with confidence, Megan will not give up gardening. LOL!!!!!!

  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7
    Original Author
    5 years ago

    Today's temperatures were ridiculous and the heat indices were even worse. At our house, the high temp was 104 but it was only 102 at our Mesonet station, where the max heat index was a mere 111. I could have sworn it only felt like 108....and there were plenty of folks with a heat index equal to or higher than ours.

    VIrtually everything in my garden starts wilting around 9 a.m. and looks near death by noon. After sunset, most things start perking up. There's just no residual moisture to speak of in the soil, at least not in the plants' root zones. I water, but you can't tell it by looking at my plants.

    So, if I am trying to look on the bright side of things....at least there is this. When our weather went from too cold to too hot in April, I correctly interpreted what was happening in my area, and changed my planting plans as much as I could, considering so much of the front garden was planted already. Just imagine how stupid I would feel if I'd dropped the idea of planting corn and the entire back garden only to have the weather cool down and to have copious amounts of rain start falling. Of course, then I could have just started planting again, figuring better late than never. Instead, I am glad I did what I had to do instead of plunging ahead with a previously constructed planting plan which would have been a disaster in this heat and drought that we're having down here. The calendar may say June is slipping away and we are heading into July, but the weather says it is August already. I hate August weather, especially when we're having it in June.

    Nancy, I agree with you that Megan will not give up gardening.

    Jennifer, It has been strange for everyone....and, yet, each of us has different issues. Some of you are facing all the problems that come with receiving two much rain. The waterlogged plants, rotting stems, BER and yellowing leaves are starting to fill up our FB feeds.

    Megan, I wish I had words to say that would comfort you, but I know I don't. What has happened to you and your plants is just patently unfair and you didn't deserve it. However, you're a fighter, and gardening isn't just something you do---it is a part of who you are. So, I know you will survive this and overcome it. If having a pity party helps you cope right now, then go ahead and do it. I'd be having a big pity party if this had happened to me. Hang in there. Better times lie ahead.

    Jacob, Those learn-by-doing lessons are the ones that teach us the most, and they are the lessons we never forget.

    We aren't cooling off at night. When I go to bed, the temperature is in the upper 80s and the heat index is in the 90s. When I wake up, the temperature is in the low to mid 80s and the heat index is in the upper 80s. I usually go outdoors around 6:30 a.m. and our overnight low then drops to its lowest point (usually 77-79 lately) after I'm already out there facing the new day. I feel sorry for all the wild animals and livestock who do not get to come indoors and sleep in an air-conditioned house at night.

    Jacob, The way that American retailers push the seasons annoys me to no end. We were in Hobby Lobby in early June and they already had the first aisle of Christmas decor in. In June! I will never, ever, ever encourage the retail madness by buying stuff that they put on the shelves months and months too early. Here where I live, if you want a bathing suit, the best time to get one is in January when they hit the stores. Need a new winter coat? In order to get the style and size you want, you'd better get it in August when the coats hit the stores. Never mind that no one here will need a coat until Thanksgiving....and sometimes not until December.

    Even the garden stuff arrives too early. For several years, the tomato plants arrived at all the big box stores down here in January...and then we had freezes and snow and stuff, and the stupid store employees didn't move the plants indoors, so they all froze. Now, what is the point of having tender plants in the stores in January if you aren't going to take the necessary steps to keep them alive? The last time I checked, no one is buying dead tomato plants---not in January or in any other month.

    Nancy, Well, I'm not quitting tomatoes---they and the weather are combining to quit me. I used to try to keep them going all summer long, but when it is as hot and as dry as we are now, there's just no point in doing that. You can water them and baby them through the heat and the pests, but then the poor things are so tired by autumn. I just prefer to take out each one as it finishes producing and to start with fresh plants for autumn.

    I'm likely the only person in Oklahoma who uses the KDBI in gardening. Because I have to watch it like a hawk for our VFD, I've learned over the years just what KBDI number correlates to what sort of weather-related gardening conditions I have to deal with. It varies, depending on when we hit a certain number. For example, having a KBDI in the 200-400 range during the summer is pretty normal. Having a KBDI in the 500s in June or July is bad. If it is in the 600s in July, that is awful and that's usually the point where I just stop watering because watering after that point achieves nothing. We rarely even make it into the 700s, but we did during the summer of 2011. I've been watching the Texas counties near us...keeping an eye on their KBDIs and drought conditions because the drought is coming at us from Texas. I feel the drought's hot breath on the back of our necks. It will be here all too soon.

    Jennifer, Our poultry definitely was heat-stressed today. Our heat index got dangerously close to the sort of heat that kills them. I turned on the soaker hoses around the foundation of the house so the chickens could lie down in the shade on the wet soil to stay cool. I made them big puddles in Augustus' favorite shady spot. I ran the sprinkler for them for a while (even the wild birds come to bath in the water from the sprinkler). Tomorrow I'll put ice in the poultry waterers. I also give them some sort of cold fruit or veggie daily, usually in mid-afternoon. If the night was hot, I give them cold veggies or fruits in the morning, first thing after I let them out to free-range, and then give them more in the afternoon.

    When I was a kid, the old folks in our family told us that the dog days of summer got their name from early August being so hot that the dogs just laid around panting and miserable......I wanted to believe them, but we'd already learned about Sirius in school, so I kept my mouth shut, nodded my head and acted like I believed their explanation. You know, because mama always said if you cannot say anything nice, don't say anything at all.

    Today I processed 5 gallons of squash, all the jalapenos, shelled the southern peas and used up as many tomatoes in meals as I could. It is laughable, really, to think that by now we are getting tired of tomatoes after waiting so long to have them. We've been getting them for 2 months, though, and too much of a good thing is still too much. Still, I'm glad to have them and would rather have them than to not have them. I love chocolate too, but I don't eat it every single day.

    Our cats and dogs are so used to living indoors in air conditioned comfort that now they argue with me about going out in the morning. Oh, they go out while looking at me with sad eyes that say I am betraying them by sending them out into the early morning heat and humidity, but then they are back at the door in 5 minutes wanting to come in. Then they mope because I leave them indoors and go back to the garden. Well, if they wanted to be outdoors, they should have stayed out when I let them out. When I come up from the garden to the house, there's dogs and/or cats sitting at the door wanting out. I let them out. When I go back outdoors 5 or 10 minutes later, then run back in......honestly, it is the silliest thing. They remind me of Texas kids wanting to go out and play in the snow during the 1 year out of 10 that they have decent snow. By the time the moms get the kids all bundled up and out the door, the kids instantly get chilled and want to come back in 5 minutes later. My mom used to tell us explicitly that when we came back in, we were staying in because she wasn't going to have us going in and out every few minutes.

    You know how everyone always has that one friend who's always too cold even when everyone else is burning up? Well, horses and cows have that friend too. It never fails that you'll see all the horses or cows clustered under the shade of the few trees left in/near their pastures trying to stay as cool as possible, but then there is that 1 cow or that 1 horse that is standing out there alone in full sun, looking content. I always wonder if that is the "cold friend" or if it is just the animal that doesn't have any sense? I also wonder if people think that about me when they drive by and see me out in the garden in ridiculous heat? They probably do.

    I am thinking about not even going out to the garden tomorrow. I have a ton of short day and intermediate day onions that I want to chop up and freeze. I might stay indoors tomorrow and do that, since tomorrow's weather is expected to be about the same as today's.

    The garden is yielding great harvests considering the heat, but it is going to fade fast now that the mid-summer heat is worsening.

    Dawn

  • Rebecca (7a)
    5 years ago

    I have nothing to add. I’m just awake with a ridiculous hot flash at 1am.


    At 10pm we were still 90 degrees with a heat index of 100. Wednesday mornings low was 82, a record warm low. Same predicted for Thursday. I won’t water until I fertilize this weekend.


    I’d like for my morning glories to bloom someday. And my tithonia finally decided to get with the program. PEPH are finally up, but have no tendrils to climb with. Some of my zinnias have flowers the size of my palm I almost can’t get into the flower beds sometimes because the buzzers chase me out


    Saturday i I have a pastry class with a friend. We are making cream puffs and eclairs. Because that’s what you do when it feels like 110 out, stand over a hot oven.

  • jacoblockcuff (z5b/6a CNTRL Missouri
    5 years ago

    Our highs have been only hovering in the low 90's the last few days, but today it's decided to get up to 97. Luckily there's less humidity now that this moisture dried out. We aren't getting the warm lows you all are though, still around 70ish, and it's cooling off to the low 80's by sundown with a cool breeze, which isn't bad at all.

    Rebecca, at least the pastries will taste good, even though you'll have to stand in the heat!

    Does anybody know if the weather lore for cicadas holds true in any way? According to the Old Farmer's Almanac, cicadas emerge 6 weeks before the first frost. This doesn't make sense for me being that I'm hearing them in June...? Maybe it applies to up north....Am I actually hearing cicadas?

  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7
    Original Author
    5 years ago

    Jacob, Oh yes, we are hearing them, seeing them, listening to their incessant nighttime droning all night long and seeing their shed skins after they molt. They began emerging here in southern OK about 10 days ago, or at least that is when I first started finding them in my garden.....it is hard to miss a big cicada sitting on your chair. I had to make it move so I could sit down. Now they are so loud at night that I just find myself wishing they'd shut up and go away.

    With the Old Farmer's Almanac, I find a lot of what they say is less than accurate for our part of the country. Perhaps what they say about cicadas emerging 6 weeks before the first frost is true for the northeast or New England as they seem more oriented towards that part of the country.

    Rebecca, Hot flashes are the worst! I miss the cooler nights and cool early morning temperatures. When I went to bed at midnight, it still was 85 here and when I woke up at 5 am, it was 80 degrees. It might have dropped a degree or two cooler than that after I got up and got busy. I didn't even check. Usually we don't get nights quite this warm until closer to August. I'm afraid July is going to be an absolutely horrendous month in terms of heat, and then we still have to get through August after that.

    All I did this morning was a quick garden walk-through, watered the fall tomatoes in their containers, harvested a few tomatoes and headed back indoors. Oh, and I refilled the hummingbird feeders, which are feeding not only hummingbirds, but also bees, butterflies and moths.

    The doe who waits for me to put out breakfast every morning was out there waiting for her cracked corn this morning. I surprised her with sliced zucchini and yellow squash, which pleased her greatly. She brings her fawn to eat in the evenings, but comes alone in the mornings. The cottontails also were waiting for some hen scratch. It sort of cracks me up---when I get up in the morning, of course the dogs and cats are waiting for their breakfast. Then I go outdoors to feed the chickens, and find all sorts of wild birds, a few rabbits and the occasional deer waiting too. I don't eat breakfast myself until I've put out food and fresh water for all the critters. I hope they appreciate that I postpone my own breakfast because they are waiting for theirs.

    The heat is why canning is falling lower and lower on my priority list each summer. I am just tired of spending the hot, steamy summer in an even hotter, steamier kitchen. I don't bake much in the summertime either because our kitchen faces the west.

    I'm hoping for a nice, quiet day indoors today. I guess the garden and I both are in summer survival mode. For me, that means the less time spent outside the better, and only in the very early morning or very late evening. For the poor old garden, it just means enduring the heat because it has no other options.

    Remember y'all, there's another Heat Advisory in effect today.


    Dawn



  • Megan Huntley
    5 years ago

    Jacob - I'm hearing cicadas too and there is no way that 6 weeks thing is true because I hear cicadas in the heat of summer often and we don't have freezes until Oct at the earliest. However, cicadas in the Midwest and Northeast are different than ours. They don't have cicadas every year, they have 7- and 14-year cicadas, so it could be true for them, but I remember a 14 year cicada season when I lived in St Louis and they came out in May, so it wasn't true there either. Someone at the Farmer's Almanac must be smoking some of what Dawn isn't growing. I'm still catching up on posts and was reading that yesterday which was interesting to have been reading the day after the medicinal use law passed in Oklahoma.

    BTW, thanks for calling my bluff Nancy! No, I won't give up gardening completely, but I'm definitely regrouping and may not go to the scale I was planning to build before getting the wind knocked out of me. What I was planning is difficult to scale back, so I have no idea what I'll do.

    HJ - I'll have to check out the youtube videos. Most of my gardening is container gardening already and if my compost keeps producing at the rate it's going by next season I might have a reasonable amount to work on some additional containers to make up for what I won't be able to put in the ground next year.

    Regardless of what next year holds in the garden, I am moving ahead with the plan to start shutting things down for this year. My 1 Cherokee Purple produced about a 1/2 dozen fruit all about the same time, and has virtually not grown since. Those have all started breaking color this week, and the plant will come out when the last one does. I need to evaluate some of the other tomato plants they're further behind the cherokee, but they're coming out soon. I will pull everything in the south bed and lasagne garden to control the weeds I've let get out of control. I'll focus on my peppers and sweet potatoes after that.

    As for the harlequin beetles - well they picked the wrong crazy person. As I got all worked up about it last night, I thought. What the hell? At this point, I could use anything short of nuclear waste on them and not be in any worse shape than I already am. Poor buggers are going to get the full brunt of all my frustration. Yipee-ki-yay....

    As for my pity party, it ends this weekend. It's justified, but at some point, it's time to put on the big girl panties and go back to kicking asses. I recognized last week that the anniversary of my brother's death was bringing me down, topped with the bad garden news it got worse. Went to the cemetery Friday after work and my daughter had the audacity to say "geez mom, don't start with the water works." I'm not sure how many times last week I could have gotten away with murder on an insanity plea, but add that one to the list. She got real sympathetic when sent to the car which meant she would have to walk across a big part of the cemetery by herself (it wasn't even dark yet) and tried to apologize but it was taking everything I had not to slap the taste out of her mouth so off she went. Then she didn't bother to start the car so she just sat there in the heat to make me feel guilty. SMH Also last week, a friend was killed in a car accident leaving behind 3 kids around my daughter's age - including one with very special needs. When I went plant shopping to cheer myself up, instead I was seeing things and mentally asking myself, who was it just asking about those? Well, it was her. Sunday I couldn't even get out of bed, I was just done. So DH fed LO lunch. Somewhere in the fridge he found tuna patties... at least 2-week-old tuna patties... and for some reason only gave them to her and didn't eat one himself. He "didn't know" they where that old, but he also didn't want to eat one, so why feed it to her??? [deep breath, Megan] So, I spent Sunday night cleaning up vomit and up all night with her not able to keep down even water. Once every drop of everything was out of her system she continued heaving and I know how awful that is. She and I got to sleep around 4:30 a.m. At 7, I heard the dog so I took him out and Ben got up too. I told him I was going in to work late so I could try to get a couple more hours sleep since I only had slightly more than 2 hours sleep at that point. Ben proceeded to check on us every 15 minutes - ie: every time I fell into good deep sleep. I finally got up, resisted the urge to punch him in the throat, and went to work. Oh, and did I mention that he'd trimmed some tree limbs and left them laying under the trees for several days, so I pulled them into a pile to expand on a huglekultur and the very next day he chopped them up and threw them in the garbage. He "didn't know" I wanted them. Yeah, that's why they were neatly stacked on top of cardboard, a-hole. And that's not even all the crap I'm mad at him about right now. His brother is in the middle of a nasty divorce and the last thing my MIL needs is me sending her other son to stay in her guest room while I cool off, otherwise, he'd be there right now. He did finally sell his grandmother's 25-year-old Lincoln that's been rusting in my driveway - 2 years after he promised to do it. So I guess there's that.

  • slowpoke_gardener
    5 years ago

    Megan, I am sorry for your frustration. I try to look a pain and ffrustration sort of like the instrument panel on a car, they are to tell you when something is wrong. Life really gets better when you learn to read those warning signs.

    I have had frustrations all my life, like everyone else. I think there is always something good to come out of them in time.

    Dawn, I got to see a Doe yesterday evening when I was checking my wildlife area. My neighbor has a produce farm and stand says that the wildlife area helps protect his produce, and that I have a lot more critters living there than I am aware of. I have 3 very large brush piles, and he tells my that there is a pair of ground hogs living in one of the piles.

    Jacob, I love your tomatoes, and the Florida weave, I have tried the weave 3 times in my life and just wound up with a mess. I can see from looking at yours that my end post were to weak and maybe the string also.

    No way can I spend 10 minutes a week and keep my tomatoes tied up.

    This picture shows damage of some kind on my tomatoes. It may from my wife spraying. I can spray within 2 feet of the garden and do fine, my wife needs to be a half mile away if she sprays.

    This is my new garden across the highway. Sofa this garden is doing pretty good, but I have to haul water for it.

  • okoutdrsman
    5 years ago

    I'm having trouble getting started on the canning this year. It's usually my excuse for not working in the garden while it's hot. After inventorying all the canned goods, we figured out we really don't need or use as much as I was putting up. Besides having to find a place to store it all, I hate going through the old stuff and throwing it out.

    The temperatures we are having are normally pretty easy to get acclimated to, but I'm not sure I'll ever get used to the high humidity. I know it will get truly hot before long!

    Dawn I noticed you mentioned your Copras started laying over. Mine have been for a couple of weeks, but it's been 3 or 4 a day most of the time and around 6-8 for the last few days. I've been pulling them as soon as I see them because of the high moisture. A little less than half are still standing and the rest are drying in the crates.

    I haven't weighed or measured, but I think one of them is the largest onion I've ever grown! I'd see surprised if the larger ones keep as well, so I may chop and freeze them to use this winter. I love having them on hand when it comes to cooking chili and stew. Or whatever recipes call for chopped onions for that matter.

    We don't use a lot of frozen summer squash, so I'm thinking more in terms of preparing and freezing some of our favorite casseroles that don't seem to alter the flavor as much as just blanching and freezing. I like being able to pop one in the oven and having a quick addition to a meal that reminds me of summer!

    Have I mentioned I'm about ready for fall/winter weather? Well, I want to get the freezers stocked up on fish, since the soon to be ex-daughter in law decided to empty my son's freezer and throw away a small fortune in frozen fish. Yeah, he was storing a lot of the fish the wife and I caught last summer plus a bunch of tuna from our last trip off-shore.

  • jacoblockcuff (z5b/6a CNTRL Missouri
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Thanks for the tomato compliments everyone.

    Dawn, I'm not hearing cicadas that bad yet!! I'm only hearing 1 or 2 occasionally in the evening on a super hot day. I've always associated them, at least down here, as coming out 6 weeks before cooler weather, but not frost, as that seems to hold true most years. For example, they normally come out in early to mid July here, at least very loudly, which just happens to normally be 6 weeks away from when the weather begins to cool, most years. Now, what's more interesting is that last year they came out in early June (I think), and our weather began to cool a little over 6 weeks later in early August. That was not a normal year at all, but it did cool at that time with loads of rain. Maybe they know these things in advance? An interesting thought.

    Im curious to see this year, as they are calling for an El Niño come August, which could potentially make August cooler than normal. Could the cicadas be correct this year? Who knows, but I guess we'll see.

  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7
    Original Author
    5 years ago

    Jacob, Ha ha ha ha ha. I have zero faith in any cooler weather arriving in August. The El Nino Watch shows only a 50% chance of El Nino developing this fall (since they say fall, I assume that means after August) and a 65% of it developing this winter. We don't always get an El Nino when they issue a watch for it. Sometimes the early changes in SSTs change or sort of peter out and it just never happens. Our local TV mets have said repeatedly over the last week that the high pressure/hot weather pattern we're in now will carry through mid-September at the very least, and they're never wrong about that. It is not at all unusual for us to have high temperatures in the 100s through the end of September (thankfully not every day).

    I looked at the climate outlooks on the U S Drought Monitor page and they show the odds are high for continued above-average temperatures throughout the summer and autumn.

    Cicadas are notorious for not behaving as expected. The scientists name the major broods by number, but some of each brood can come out as much as 4 years earlier than expected sometimes, so apparently the cicadas really aren't all that predictable. Or, not all of them are. Just last year, Brood X emerged 4 years early. Scientists aren't sure why this happens. For all that they think they know about cicada behavior, the cicadas still throw them a lot of curveballs.

    Bruce, You know, you can give away the excess produce and give yourself a break from all the canning. I have done that this year and find I do not miss the canning at all (this should scare Tim because he doesn't believe that I wouldn't miss it at all).

    It is 104 degrees at our house for the second day in a row. I believe we already are truly hot here. The heat index numbers are not nearly as bad down here as they were yesterday----111 yesterday and lower than that by quite a bit so far today.

    I'm beyond ready for fall and winter weather, especially since summer temperatures arrived here in late April. I doubt fall will arrive early though because we just don't get that lucky here. If anything, these hot, dry summers feed on themselves and generally carry very far into fall.

    I cannot believe the soon to be ex-DIL threw away the fish! I'd be so mad that I couldn't see straight.

    There was a big grass fire in the NW corner of our county this afternoon. Thankfully it was too far away for us to be paged out to it.

    My chickens are spoiled. They were squawking about the heat, so I went out and set up the sprinkler on the lawn for them a couple of minutes ago so they can cool off in the water. Next thing you know they'll be demanding a Slip N Slide of their own.

    It is so hot that the idea of lunch was not appealing, so I ate a big plate of sliced up tomatoes, liberally salted. I know I had a Brandywine, a Cherokee Carbon and a Spudakee Purple. All were very yummy.

    Larry, Your garden looks lovely as always. I do hate that you have to haul the water to it. The damage to the tomatoes doesn't look too severe. I hope they recover from it well and quickly.

    This particular doe knows me pretty well. She stands on the edge of our neighbor's woodland and watches for me. As soon as I put the food there and get halfway back to the house, she's out there eating. If I forget to put the food out, she comes and stands near the garden and stares at me. We call that stare "the look of death" because she definitely doesn't look happy. As long as mama doe gets what she wants, everything is fine. As long as I'm getting extra squash and extra zucchini and can share it with her, she's a happy camper. She's used to checking the compost pile for all the peelings and discarded fruit and veggie parts I throw out there after canning, and I think she'd frustrated that there is none of that stuff this year in my year off from canning. She's survive it.

    On this week's drought monitor, a very tiny area of Moderate Drought crept across the river from Texas into portions of our county---Thackerville and points west and an area that looks like it is roughly the Leon area in western Love County. I wasn't really expecting that to happen until next week. The Thackerville portion of the Moderate Drought is about 4 or 5 miles south of us, so I still feel the drought creeping our way only now it is creeping on Oklahoma soil. The part where drought crept into our county is so tiny that I really didn't notice it at first---I had to enlarge the map 400% to see it clearly because at first I thought that Moderate Drought stopped at the river, but then Gary McManus showed the change map and I could see where it had changed on that one.

    Everything is so dry and just looks worse and worse daily. There is no good chance of rain over the next week here. The guy on TV said today there's a 10% chance one day next week---oh goody, a whole 10% chance. I won't be holding my breath and waiting for that to happen.

    Dawn


  • jacoblockcuff (z5b/6a CNTRL Missouri
    5 years ago

    Dawn, one can hope for a cool August LOL. I don't think we'll be getting rain for a while unless we get a freak thunderstorm. Our forecast is quite dry. It's 97 at the moment, with a feels like of 106, but looks as if we'll cool off to our more normal 90ish by the weekend, maybe 80's next week. According to the drought monitor here we're in a moderate drought up in the northwestern corner of AR, which sounds about right. The wind has been horrible lately, and it just sucks any moisture we get out of the ground, like the rain we had a few days ago. My beans aren't taking too well to it- between deer pruning, disease, etc., they're kicking the bucket. My replanted pole beans are coming in strong and should produce in Sept. though.

  • Rebecca (7a)
    5 years ago

    I guess if it’s going to be warm through autumn, I’ll put in a couple new tomatoes for fall. That’ll be a good way to get it to cool down, if we all plant big fall gardens.

  • jacoblockcuff (z5b/6a CNTRL Missouri
    5 years ago

    We have to plant all warm season crop fall gardens Rebecca. If we do cool season stuff it'll just heat up more!

  • p_mac
    5 years ago

    Funny you should mention fall tomatoes Rebecca! I just toured the garden and counted all the places that we can put some. I'm pulling about 6 tomato plants this weekend due to what looks like a virus. I've pulled a squash plant already. I'm being ruthless. And probably sowing cowpeas in all other places. I have found a ton of several varieties that sure aren't going to grow in the envelopes.

    We had a total of 7" from last Friday to last Monday and can you believe I'm having to water the raised beds tonight? Key word - raised. Yes, I know not good to water at night but right now, mornings are an issue.

    Megan - I know the funk you're in because I've been through it. Take heart and look at this as maybe an opportunity to design a garden that will "grow" with you and your family! I'm truly grateful for my BIL. His business here in Norman does mine and his guy will not go near the garden or several other beds. Helps that he gardens also!

  • Megan Huntley
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Haha, Paula. It helps to have someone who knows what it means to be a crazy gardener. Ben also has weed treatment done in the grassy areas and I know they don’t do my gardens. I even have a random pile of dirt that I know is untreated - just in case. But by coincidence, the guy who does that service we went to high school with so he knows I’m all around crazy and doesn’t treat anything he thinks might, maybe, possibly be mine.

  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7
    Original Author
    5 years ago

    Y'all might be tempting fate by planting fall gardens. The weather might stay insanely hot to defy you all. I hope it doesn't.

    Paula, I'm sorry to hear about the viruses. Sometimes you do have to be ruthless in order to move on instead of nursing along some sick plants.

    Jacob, Well of course one can hope. I just happen to be a realist and this is not my first rodeo with an insanely hot, dry summer. I don't like keeping false hope alive. There's nothing worse, in my book, than for me to keep watering and watering and watering for all of July and part of August in the face of insane weather, and then have to give up and stop watering anyway....then I feel like I wasted all the time, effort and money spent watering. Usually for me, once we're in moderate drought it is almost impossible to keep the garden producing. I can keep it alive, but everything stalls and just doesn't produce. I think we'll go to Moderate Drought on the Drought Monitor next week or the week after. Since next week is a holiday week, I don't know if the Monitor will be on the usual schedule and if they'll have time to do a real update.

    Tonight our local TV met said that in our area we have had normal (average or below-average temperatures) exactly one time since the heat wave began back in May. One time. That is pitiful. There won't be any normal or average temperatures any time soon either. We aren't as hot as we were in 2011, so at least June is better in that respect than May was, because May 2018 was much hotter here than May 2011.

    Tonight I found a baby purple martin standing in one of the puddles I made for the wild things. It wasn't drinking, just sitting, but it didn't fly away when I got within a foot of it, so I think it cannot fly yet. We waited about a half hour and went back out to check on it. By then, it had hopped back over to the purple martin house's pole and was just sitting there at the base of it. We put it back in the purple martin house, but had to remove another baby purple martin that had died in the house. We suspect it was the heat yesterday and today. I hope this little one makes it because obviously it is too small to fly still. The older purple martins just swooped around us in the air until we were done and then one of them came and sat on top of the house, as if to guard the young bird inside. Usually they've raised their young and moved to the woods before the real heat sets in, but this year the real heat arrived too early. Poor birds.

    I broke down and watered the bermuda grass on the south and east sides of the house today. These are the directions from which a grass fire/wild fire most likely would approach us. The bermuda was browning out and I don't want brown grass close to the house, so as much as I hate the bermuda grass, I watered it to green it up again.

    Some friends of ours (they were a couple of years behind Chris in school and are just a wonderful young couple with two precious children) lost their bulldog last night. He disappeared and they went searching. It appears a rattlesnake got him in the neck. This is just so, so sad. I just hate that this happened to their furbaby. It is that time of the year, but you just hope that all the dogs and cats (and people too, of course) will manage to avoid the snakes.

    When Tim got home, a wild turkey hen was feeding on hen scratch near my garden. She freaked out when she saw Tim coming up the driveway and flew away like a bat out of hell. He said it was the highest/fastest he'd ever seen a wild turkey go.

    Anyone have a favorite heat wave/hot weather/hotter than hell song they want to nominate to be next week's theme song? It isn't that I'm out of ideas---I just figured y'all might have something you think is appropriate and would like to see used. I admit that no matter what song it is in a given week, I get it stuck in my head and walk around singing it, humming it, etc. all week long. It gets on Tim's nerves a bit, I think, because once that song is in my head, I cannot get rid of it.

    I got some things accomplished indoors today but don't think I was as productive as I'd hoped to be. The heat just sucks the life and energy right out of me. I'm hoping to be up and out of the house early tomorrow morning. That first hour of the day, from around 6:30 to 7::30 a.m. feels really good here, likely because the sun doesn't get high enough in the sky for its light to really hit the garden that early.

    Most gardens here are just burning up in this heat. It is very unfortunate, but it is what it is and we just have to deal with it.

    I was thinking that since the 4" Plant Available Map is so discouraging, maybe I should be thinking about the trees and watching the 16" Plant Available Water map on the internet instead. So, I went and read about it, and what I read changed my mind. Our 16" PAW is 14% and I learned on one of the fire weather pages that amounts equal to or less than 20% are associated with large wildfires. So, that didn't cheer me up any. I had wondered yesterday what was wrong with the oak trees because a lot of them were flipping their leaves over, with the backs showing. I know it is a water conservation thing, but it is hard for me to see it happening in a year when we've had decent enough rainfall (though not lately), at least on paper. The reality is that most of our rain fell in Feb and early March, too long ago to be useful now, and the trees recognized that before I did.

    On the bright side, in some native pasture areas with no irrigation, the Johnson grass is yellowing and turning to brown. That's a nice thing to see. Of course, it won't die. I am convinced that no Johnson grass ever actually dies.


    Dawn


  • jlhart76
    5 years ago

    Got home today and gave everything a good watering, though the only ones that needed it badly were the containers. And I have several fist sized tomatoes now. The one I've been staring at for a month, willing it to break color, is still green though it grew considerably. Everything needs weeded desperately, but the grass has to get mowed and some housework needs done first.

  • Nancy RW (zone 7)
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Hahahaha. I have a lot, but the dilemma is, "How much hotter will it get?" Gotta save the hotter than hell one. And some of the others. And now I'm forgetting some we've used. And I'm still stuck on "The Heat is On"! Yesterday I was up and on the deck most of the day despite the eventual 110 index. Today we had to go to town and were gone most of the morning, so were in air conditioning. And when we got home, I could NOT be out on the deck. And the heat index was a couple degrees cooler. I seriously doubt, however, that any of you will hear me say I can hardly wait for winter!!!

    Can't imagine it will be much fun mowing the yard. Yikes. Guess I best wait for when it's cooler, 90 on Sunday. Yes, the heat also sucks the energy out of me. And what I accomplished today would reflect that.

    I don't hear any cicadas. That's because the tree frogs are deafening! The noise actually does get to me sometimes, but I have to say it is gratifying to know we have a zillion of them here, apparently! It kind of makes me laugh because I do love the tree frogs. AND, they are more musical than cicadas.

    I have nothing to say about gardening, really. Despite the heat, the plants are growing. And I won't be doing any heavy mulching perhaps for a while; I am so glad I got done what I DID get done just before this last wave of hotness. I'm not sure I'm brave enough to start a fall garden, to be honest, other than some cucumbers. Maybe just a couple tomatoes.

    This was making me think of what HJ was saying when our parents were raising gardens strictly to save money, and then didn't pass that knowledge along, and how we, coming behind them, just bought groceries. I always wanted to garden, just did not have the time with kids and job (and was a single parent for most of that time.) Now I have the time but it's HOT in Oklahoma. And I have no energy! There should be a song about that. I'm sure I'll feel much differently as soon as things aren't quite so hot, so maybe will start some seeds, knowing that. What pains me the absolute most is that it's almost too hot be be outdoors, and I HATE that, because outdoors is where I always want to be.

    Haha, Jacob, more warm season seeds on the way.

    Larry, thanks for the words on frustration (disappointments, bad or sad things.) There are such important life lessons that come from them--and THAT is a good good thing. And your tomatoes look beautiful.

    I'm thinking I'll go with Jacob's hope for a cooler August! ROTFL. Really. There HAVE to be a few days in the next 2 months that won't be this hot. Right? But just reading his words made me feel a little cooler.

    Titan is retired to the house in this weather. What a pansy. He didn't/wouldn't go out until about 7 pm. He just lies in the house and mopes. (Like me today.) In the coldest part of winters here, he tends to be in more, but is pretty hardy.

    The kitties, on the other hand, remind me of summers when I was a kid. They're up and out, after breakfast. Since I'm nearly always out there, too, they explore and chase lizards or whatever else they can chase, then come up on the deck to visit, maybe do some gardening or weeding with me, then back out, and so on. While I'm fixing dinner, I go out to the deck, and call, "Tom! Jerry! Do you want some dinner? Dinner time." And they come from wherever then are, racing to the door. (I'm sure if the neighbors hear me, they must get a laugh out of that.) As soon as they're done eating, they race right back outside until it gets dark. And then I don't have to call them, they want to be in. Perhaps their early experiences of being trapped outside at night (twice for Tom, once for Jerry) made them think that's not something they like. At any rate, I'm sure some of you remember my fright and paranoia about letting them outdoors when they were tiny. Gotta say, these guys are perfect. Perfect outdoors and perfect indoors. Two more affectionate kitties, I've never seen. Daff and Kitty were the best. So are these guys.

  • Nancy RW (zone 7)
    5 years ago

    Oh my gosh, Dawn. Just saw your post where you were talking about that one friend who was always freezing when everyone else was hot. I'm that friend. I laughed so hard. And isn't it just so weird that I would be that friend having lived in Wy and MN up until the last four years of my life!!

    GDW's having a rough time. . . . still haven't whipped his problems. . . going to a specialist on July 11--makes me crazy the appt is so far out. I hate this so much for him. Antibiotics are so hard on people. He's had a lot of pretty good days and some bad days.

  • hazelinok
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Y,all. This heat is no fun. I just keep saying, it's not as bad as 2011. But, it really is miserable. Poor animals and poor people who have to work outdoors. Poor Tom's office. Their AC went out. It was 97 degrees and no window to open. Dumb.

    Okay...going to backread now.

    Rebecca, sorry you didn't sleep well last night. Hope you are able to rest tonight.

    Dawn, I think it's sweet that you feed all the woodland animals. I am busy enough trying to feed all of our pets before dressing, fixing my protein shake, making my lunch. I honestly enjoy that time in the morning. I tend to dawdle too long, though. I am glad I don't have to be at work at an exact time most days.

    Jacob, your garden looks so tidy. I really like it. What sort of trellis to you use for southern peas? (If you grow them.)

    Paula, you got more rain than we did. We got just under 5 inches.

    Dawn, I'm so sorry about your friends' dog. Very sad.

    Hot in Herre? Highway to Hell? Cruel Summer?

    Jen, welcome home!

    So...in the garden. There is some disease/issue with the SunGolds. They are still producing but look like crap. I need to trim them up--get rid of the bad foliage. I was able to work on the pathway for the first time in a couple of weeks. About 3 feet worth. I didn't even go to the back garden. This baby chick thing is taking my extra time.

    It will be a happy day when I feel that the garden is mostly "built", so I can just do maintenance weeding and adding mulch/chips, etc. At one time, I thought I would expand the garden, but I do not think that I will do that. There is still room in the garden area to add more raised beds and I will do that...but not expand beyond. I do want to make some additional flower beds and such around my house. Add some trees and fruit plants. And some pretty areas. I think I have enough room to grow all the food we will need even when I start canning.

    I moved Stormy and Dolly to the chicken yard for a few minutes tonight. I felt Dolly needed to stretch her legs. She did a quick dust bath and seemed to enjoy her few minutes. The baby stayed right with her. It really is the cutest thing. But, good grief. She acts like a maniac when I pick up her or the baby. Not as bad as Rosa who left quite the mark on me tonight. However, I think she is sitting on 2 fertile eggs. One for sure. I saw the tiny baby move in the egg tonight. Why is this so exciting to me? I really need for this to be it for awhile. I'm only getting 2 to 4 eggs per day this week. Maybe 'cause it's so hot? I am keeping fans on them at night.

    Oooo...weather is on TV. Not too cheerful.

    Okay...I think that is all.

  • Megan Huntley
    5 years ago

    Dawn - It's not a "weather" or "heat" or "rain" song, but I think it's appropriate... Highway to Hell, since it's hot as h---! ;) Because next week is Independence Day, someone really needs to create a 4th of July weather song. I'll go practice the 2 cords I know on the guitar and get right on that. Ha!

    Nancy - I hope GDW finds some improvement soon. I just got a reminder call that I have an appointment with a doctor I've been waiting to see for several months. I knew it was coming up but it was the last thing on my mind. I hope the wait is worth it for both me and GDW.

  • Nancy RW (zone 7)
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Hahahaha, Megan--and it's okay you mentioned it, since it's not one of the ones I'm saving!!!

    I hope so, too, regarding the health issues, Sweetie. Blessings to you AND Garry. Hahaha, why did I read that as being from Paula!

  • Rebecca (7a)
    5 years ago

    Song - Cruel Summer by Bananarama.


    Hot Hot Hot - by whoever it is

  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7
    Original Author
    5 years ago

    Jen, If the fruit still aren't finished enlarging yet, then they aren't "mature green" yet and, therefore, cannot break color yet. Do I need to post the timeline of a tomato truss thing again to remind everyone how long the wait can be? Okay, I will. The tomato in the timeline is Big Beef, which has an estimated DTM of 73 days from transplanting. Note how long it takes a mature green tomato to finally break color. If it feels like we have to wait forever for that color break, it is because we do.


    Timeline Of A Tomato Truss---Big Beef

    Now that you're home from camp, don't wear yourself out catching up on all the household and garden chores!

    Nancy, I always was the freezing cold one, until I went through menopause. So, I guess it was the fault of my hormones all along---all those years that I was freezing, freezing, freezing. I'm not freezing cold any more though.

    I am sorry GDW is having such a hard time. Some of the antibiotics that they use nowadays are so very hard on a person's body. When my mom was in probably her late 60s or early 70s the doctor (and he had been her doctor for decades) put her on an antibiotic for a kidney infection that caused intense pain in her hips....and erosion of her hip bones! As soon as she mentioned the pain (she could hardly walk, suddenly and out of the blue, after never having any joint or pain issues) and told me what antibiotic she was on, I researched it and told her to call the doctor and ask for something else because that bone erosion was a known side effect and he never should have prescribed it for a postmenopausal woman. She called him and he told her to stop taking it immediately and prescribed something else. Still, the pain lingered for months and so did the bone erosion issues. It blows my mind that an antiobiotic that can help with an infection and even save a person's life also can have horrible and long-lasting side effects.

    Our medical system just plods along at its own pace. I've known several people with cancer who had their cancer surgery scheduled weeks and weeks after their diagnosis----when what they really wanted was immediate surgery to get as much of the cancer as possible removed from their body as quickly as possible. That's just not how our medical system works nowadays though. It seems there's an awful lot of waiting and waiting and waiting for everything every step of the way.

    Megan and Rebecca, Thanks for the song suggestions. There should be plenty of opportunities to use them since the summer seems stuck in its usual miserable pattern now.

    Some of y'all might get rain this weekend! Woo hoo! Let's hope that if it falls, it doesn't bring you even worse heat index values than what you've already had this week.

    Today feels so much better than the last two days here. We haven't even hit 100 degrees yet (and aren't even close). I have a feeling we won't hit 104 like we have the last two days at our house, and I'm excited about that.

    I harvested more southern peas today, because once they are in the groove and producing, they really produce, so I'll be shelling peas all afternoon. It is too bad they don't produce all summer long. I do have a succession planting that is about 4" tall now, so those will be producing by August, if not sooner. At least they do not mind the heat too much.


    Dawn





  • Nancy RW (zone 7)
    5 years ago

    Feels a lot better here, too, Dawn! It's only 91, heat index of 100. 100 much better than 108 or 110. (Funny how relative it all is, no?)

    Burning love. . . I feel my temperature rising. . .

    Eddie Cochran's Summertime Blues. . .




  • hazelinok
    5 years ago

    Megan, isn’t this pretty? It’s from you. Thank you!

  • Megan Huntley
    5 years ago

    Well, I just found out yesterday that I'll get to make an unexpected trip to Mississippi in early August. Not looking forward to THAT heat! Everyone talks about the 2011 heat wave, and that's the year I moved to Memphis/North Mississippi in August of all months, so I was somewhat oblivious to it due to the chaos of moving. I remember our internet installer, drenched in sweat, talking about how miserable it was. I asked him, "This is the South, isn't it supposed to be miserable in August?" He said it was excessive, but I had only his word to go on at that time. I assumed it was like here, where when it's hot you just can't imagine anything hotter, even if it wasn't hot comparatively. I guess I owe him an apology. At the time I was moving from St. Louis, so excessive or not, what I do remember about it felt stifling to me.

    Also dropping in to mention a tidbit I've learned in researching the neonics... it seems treated seeds will have a bigger impact on soil contamination than spraying due to UV degradation. Of course, most of this applies to commercial farming operations, but even seeds intended for home gardens are treated, or the plant they were harvested from were treated, making them contaminated as well. A lot of people on the Facebook groups worry about GMO seeds, which isn't really a risk to home gardeners, but turns out neonic treated seeds are. So, I wanted to put it on everyone's radar before I forget. If you're buying organic seeds this isn't an issue, but there are those who advocate for boycotting seeds from a certain distributor because they are owned by Monsanto. If you decide to get on that wagon the list of "no" seed sellers includes Johnnys. I don't know that it's necessary to go that far, but throwing it out as food for thought.

    As for buying plants - as much as I prefer to buy local - Home Depot might be the way to go for a while due to their position to eliminate neonics and label them in the meantime. I talked to TLC and they will use neonics as a last resort, and don't ask their suppliers if they do or don't. At the very least, it's worth asking anytime you go into TLC if they've used neonics that year and avoiding the plants brought in that are not indicated. Red Dirt Plants/Guthrie Greenhouses - my favorite plant distributor - has not responded to my inquiries about whether or not they use them... and you know what that probably means. :(

  • Megan Huntley
    5 years ago

    HJ - It's gorgeous and thank you for sharing. My sunflowers were among the neonic casualties.

  • hazelinok
    5 years ago

    Who brought anise to the SF? Thank you! It's flowering now and out of curiosity, I tasted it. Wow. It's sweet...sorta reminds me of licorice. I've ignored...or rather put off studying about it, but what a delight.

    Just thought I would share. And thanks to whoever brought it.

    Also, I was able to harvest some corn out of our community garden. So exciting. I brought home several ears. Yay! There are good things going on in the garden. There really are.



  • Nancy RW (zone 7)
    5 years ago

    HJ, I bet the came from here. I didn't realize anise hyssop and blue hyssop were the same thing nor that agastache foeniculum was the same thing! So I had a lot of it! LOL We learn as we grow, right?


    Well, I see the potatoes are finally giving up the ghost. Right on schedule for the late-planted rascals! Overnight. We'll dig them in the early hours Monday, probably. I may just work on soil amendments for one of those beds.


    Your mention of corn reminded me to get to the local farmers' market next week. I just put it on the calendar, Thank you!


    I appreciated the information on the neonics, Megan. Thanks for that. And, Dawn, I had read the timeline when you posted it before, and must admit it surprised me. So I've been watching them, marveling. Now more and more are beginning to turn.


    I'm glad everything looked good in the garden, Jen! But I'm sorry you'll have so much catch-up to do with this weather.


    With all the shade here, and the relief it gives, our yard is still very green. I am thankful for that. My favorite color, green.




  • hazelinok
    5 years ago

    Well, I wanted to catch up but for some dumb reason the power is out in our neighborhood. And myphone is without much charge

  • Nancy RW (zone 7)
    5 years ago


    Green green. Want the green but want more big Flowers! But it s what it is. Last of June, the yard. Dying potatoes, the veggie bed, the general yard and a few other pics. I want big blooming flowers--not there yet. But I do love green.




  • Nancy RW (zone 7)
    5 years ago

    second picture down, center, is the horseradish I couldn't find in the center bed. That's because it's in THIS bed. Who could miss the horseradish! LOL

  • hazelinok
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Looks good, Nancy! I see the horseradish!

    How's Garry feeling?

    We have friends coming for dinner tonight so I really should get up and get busy cooking and cleaning. I need to go out to the garden and get tomatoes and basil for a salad I'm making. I should share the recipe because it really is quite delicious. And a great way to use up SunGolds or other cherry type tomatoes and basil.

    We have chances for storms tonight. The neighbors to our east (where Stormy came from) is supposed to have their big firework show tonight. I hope they don't get stormed out. But...it's that time! Time for all the animals to be freaked out and scared. I should have gotten some Valium from the vet.

    Recipe

  • jacoblockcuff (z5b/6a CNTRL Missouri
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Hazel, I don't mind Independence Day (especially the MEANING of it), but can not stand the incessant fireworks. Last year they had them going until well past midnight around here, which is against the law. No sleep!!

    Nancy, I looked at that picture and though, "Boy, that looks like horseradish!!". Then I read the rest of your post and realized I was correct!! Haha

    I've been eating and picking both Cherokee Purple and Abraham Lincoln tomatoes daily. Delicious. Saving seed of course. Tomato seed is my biggest expense in terms of seed buying, due to the many different varieties there are to order, with only one click of a button (and a guilty conscience)!!!! I'm hoping if I save seed I won't go overboard with buying seed next year lol. Now, soon my bolted lettuce should give seed, but I've already been collecting spinach. Takes forever, but will be nice to save the money.

    My tomatoes are still setting fruit despite the heat, when we get spells in the low 90's and provided I keep up with fertilizer. So far the hottest we've gotten this year is 97 F, and the lowest -8 F. Crazy difference isn't it? I'm weird and keep track of that stuff.

  • Nancy RW (zone 7)
    5 years ago

    Jacob, knock on wood--I'm amazed and delighted we haven't heard fireworks yet. In the past, they began 2 weeks before the 4th and kept going a week after. . . as you said, well after midnight. What freaked ME out was the pollution. Skies hazy. Titan isn't bothered by them, but so many pets ARE. . . and some people. We have a former service member friend with PTSD, who buries himself under pillows about now.

    HJ, GDW feels pretty good today--shot of antibiotic two days ago on top of what he was already taking knocked him for a loop. He was so nauseous/followed by diarrhea. . . BP low at doc's office which alarmed doc, so got a lecture on hydrating. (My arm chair diagnosis is that BP goes low--not dangerously--because of the severe infection.) I'm praying the specialist we'll see--far overdue--will be good. Counting down for 11 more long days. The infection has been here since May 8. I'm not too reassured by medical care quality nowadays. Any time one doesn't have to see a doctor is a good day. This isn't about the medical care professionals, however, for the MOST part, more about the system. I am very grumpy about it. Loved St. Francis ER and hospital, for example. Key words--ER!!

    I'm mourning a little bit. The tomatoes look like they're done producing. There are still many out there, waiting to break color, but not setting more fruit. . . but I'm not ready for the end. :) So guess I'd better get in there and start some more, fast!

    As a pretty much beginner, I tested 14 varieties this year. The biggest winners to date are the Sungolds, Heidis, and Cherokee Carbons, and I am in love with the Cherokee Carbons. But one Sungold is plenty for me. . . my interest is more with slicers (especially for BLTs) and canning (Heidi.) Mortgage Lifters better than Big Beef, not as good as CCs--and not many yet. May not be any more with the heat. Big Beef, just not the same quality of taste, though there are several waiting to break color. Baker Family, which hasn't broken color yet, is the healthiest looking tomato plant out there, so we'll see what happens with it. Sophie's choice and New Girl, about the same in size and taste. Good, but not GREAT. Having said that, perhaps not everyone loves the sweetness that comes from, say, CC and Sungolds. So that's what makes me love those two.

    And regarding flowers, Dawn. . . I'm thinking of your words, as I'm choosing my winners for this year. I'm greedy. I don't want pretty blooms for a week or 3 weeks. I want bang for the flower buck--flowers that bloom pretty much from spring to fall, for the most part, though admit the iris, jonquils, daffodils, provide a delightful color burst first thing in the spring, followed by hydrangeas, clematis, peonies (in most years--the late frosts did a number on the peonies and hydrangeas--but the hydrangea mopheads did bloom well, though late, especially considering their old growths were obliterated. And they're still blooming.) SO. . . for this year, my winners are echinacea. The blooms just keep coming, and they last forever! Hollyhock zebrinas. AMMI! Laura Bush petunias. Celosia. Zinnias, marigolds. Lantana. Rose campion. Bachelor buttons, catmint. Tithonia. Four o'clocks in spades, because they smell good and are TOUGH. Almost passed out with delight when I walked past a large clump last evening. . . .the smell.......

    The heavenly blue morning glories and moonflower vines growing well despite their attacks from nasty bugs. . . will they EVER bloom?? Not used to this with morning glory--the purple ones start blooming when they're six inches tall. LOL Also still waiting for tithonia. Seems late this year. Sunflowers are fun. . . By the way, you might remember I planted a ton of different basils this year. Now the kicker is, I am not crazy about basil. LOL Do any of you have any great tips for cooking with it? I know tomatoes and basil. And I always add some to marinara sauce. But need more ideas. . . told GDW this morning maybe we'd grow nothing but herbs from now on since every single herb (except the lone little cumin, which I pray over daily, and baby--lol--well I read it loves heat, so look for it to be an eventual success this year) we grow is growing prolifically. He got a good laugh out of that.

    Well, those are my observations for today, so far. It's not as brutally hot as it was 2 and 3 days ago. More like yesterday. . . but then afternoon isn't here yet. Happy gardening and Happy Saturday, everyone.



  • hazelinok
    5 years ago

    Do you like pesto, Nancy?

    The pesto I normally make uses both basil and parsley. I’ve also made it with basil and baby spinach.

    To change up deviled eggs, put a dollop of pesto on boiled eggs sliced in half. Add toasted bread crumbs and bacon crumbles for the meat eaters.

    Of course it’s good with pasta and even on sandwiches. Oh, and hummus. A little goes a long way.

    I have thoughts:observations on health care but I’m posting from my phone which I dislike. So I’m wrapping it up for now.


  • jacoblockcuff (z5b/6a CNTRL Missouri
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Nancy, I bought braunsweiger from our butcher shop today. $6.99 a pound!!! WOW. But so delicious on bread and mustard.

    That's good that Garry is feeling better. I'm praying for you guys

  • Nancy RW (zone 7)
    5 years ago

    Thanks so much, Jacob.

    It just dawned on me, perhaps the reason I think Braunschweiger is cheap and you think it's expensive is because I slice mine 1/4" think. Maybe you slice yours 1/2 inch! LOLOL ??

  • jacoblockcuff (z5b/6a CNTRL Missouri
    5 years ago

    Nancy, its about 1/4" thick. I think I'm just a cheapskate LOL

  • Rebecca (7a)
    5 years ago

    Nancy, has GDW been tested for C-diff? It’s a nasty bug and really stubborn to get rid of. Sometimes requires months of IV antibiotic therapy. Causes pain, nausea, and the runs.


    My tithonia were really late too. They suddenly grew a foot and started blooming after last week’s rain. My morning glories and moonflowers aren’t blooming yet either, nor are the zebrinas and nicotiana. But the zinnias, strawflowers, cosmos, and sunflowers are glorious I have several tomatoes on the counter to use, and bunches set, so I’ll have a gap while the next bunch grows, Havent gotten a single cherry tomato yet. A few plants are going to get ripped out and replaced with TMD plants when she opens, as they are just too whiny and bored to produce. So far almost everything is coming from the 4 purchased Early Girls, not my own starts.


    Had pastry class today. My eclairs turned out right on the second try. Next month is French macarons.


    Does this look like sucking bug damage or virus?

  • AmyinOwasso/zone 6b
    5 years ago

    Not much to report. Trying to give the chickens cool water and puddles. Cool food also. Of course I have one who is broody and wants to stay in the coop all day. Had a Pink Bumblebee cherry tomato that is quite tasty. There are a lot of green tomatoes. I've thrown some with BER to the chickens. It was too hot yesterday for me to cope. DH is mowing and weed whacking and cussing today. At least I will be able to go out without fighting chiggers. I should put up shade for my tomatoes.


    DH thought he'd be smart and put wood ashes in the garden beds we were adding scraps to all winter (compost). I threw a fit, there were clumps of ashes. I dug a lot out, but now I'm wondering if that is the Arkansas Traveler's problem. Looks like a nitrogen deficiency, to the point I wondered if a random spritz of round up hit it (no, I don't spray). It's not in a position I would expect it to be bothered by drift.


    Dawn, I hope you can grow a shield around your garden. Maybe it will make it feel more private, and you can grow all the TX stars you want and no one will see. ;)


    H/J, I bought more Zinnia seeds. I need those like I need another hole in the head. More moss roses, some pansies and a coreopsis "roulette". I bought some spinach in case mine is too old. A few other things I've forgotten.


    DH brought me some...string? It is flat, and waxed, wider than dental floss and not quite the same texture. I tie my plants with it and I have never had it break. But I don't do the weave. I don't know where he got it, I've had the roll for years.


    Megan, I'm a little concerned about the treated seeds thing. I have seen notes when buying seeds that says something like "only available in ____treated seeds", no memory of what it was treated with and I thought it was more like a fungicide. Johnny's was put on that Monsanto list because when the uproar began there were varieties only Seminis had. They chose to continue to use Seminis until they could find other sources. I don't know if they still use them or not, but I am sure if they have treated seeds, they say so in the description.


    Read about this here.


    There are lists out there with varieties supposedly owned by Monsanto, but I couldn't find a list that was verified. I'm usually a pretty good researcher. Most of what comes up on google is either regurgitation of someone else's list or the condemnation of the seed companies selling Seminis seeds after Monsanto acquired Seminis. You can go to the Semenis site and see what they sell, which, presumably are patented. (They have a page discussing why they patent). You can find lists of patents assigned. Mostly they use numbers LikeTomato line FIRKL12-4121. I didn't find any named varieties. Maybe you have to go further back to find them. This of course has nothing, really, to do with TREATED seed, other than Bayer (who bought Monsanto and is retiring the Monsanto name) now markets neonics.

    Dawn, you have to keep in mind, Hobby Lobby is a different animal. Some people are trying to buy Christmas stuff to MAKE things with, so they start in Summer. Something organized people do, ha ha ha. My DIL buys all year long, in order to have gifts for everyone without breaking the bank in Dec. Wish I was that organized. It won't be long before the other retailers are there though.


    There are usually a few DAYS in August that are cooler. I remember one year Tulsa had a convention (I want to say they were mayors, but I don't remember.) It was getting national attention and we were like why schedule it in AUGUST? Well that was the week it cooled off. All those people thought Tulsa was wonderful. They left, the heat returned.


    I really haven't checked the weather, figured it was second verse, same as the first. Oh, speaking of, the song I thought of was Light My Fire by the Doors ...come on baby set the night on FIIIIRRRRE.


    I liked when you couldn't buy fireworks. There would be a show, in a park somewhere and you would sit on blankets with your family and it was special and all too short. I was so afraid when my kids were little that one of the neighborhood brats would hurt them with fire works. Throwing firecrackers at them, etc. The beagle is terrified of thunder and fireworks. She will get a good dose of Benadryl to sedate her some. My daughter's dog, who was shot, is naturally terrified, and the vet gave her something for him. I don't know what Honey will do. We will have the older grandson that day, so we have to find a place to watch the fireworks. My oldest has an apartment which is a good place for watching, but they won't be home. On the other hand, no one has ever asked us if we lived there, so maybe go there any way.


    Volunteer cosmos began blooming this week.


    I'm going to post this before I loose it. I've been having trouble with the behavior of this site, especially when I want to select something or link something. I haven't decided if it's me or Houzz. Can't remember if it started before or after Houzz's update.


  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7
    Original Author
    5 years ago

    Rebecca, Stink bug or leaf-footed bug damage on the tomato.

    I was wondering about C. diff too. My younger sister had it once a few years ago and had to be hospitalized for quite some time.

    Nancy, We've been hearing occasional fireworks for about a week already. I'm tired of them....and we aren't anywhere near the actual Fourth of July holiday yet. It makes the dogs crazy.

    Everyone is out mowing grass down short today. Between the heat, lack of rainfall and the fireworks craziness we always have out here in unincorporated parts of the county, people know the grass in the fields needs to be short in case fireworks set their fields on fire.

    Heavenly Blue is one of the latest MGs to bloom at our place, and they do better in full sun and poor soil than in part shade and good soil, so it helps if you choose them a 'bad' site to grow and don't baby them too much. Otherwise, they can just go on making new foliage forever and forever and forget to bloom for the longest time. Once they start blooming, though, they are so spectacular that you'll forget how aggravating it was to wait forever and forever for them to get their act together.

    Most of the basil I grow is for the beneficial insects. I ignore it and don't harvest it much, and just let it bloom for them.

    Our weather is awful again today. It was supposed to be around 97 degrees with a heat index of 103, which certainly sounded better than previous days. So, what have we had so far? An official high temp of 98 (so, very close to forecast so far) at our Mesonet station with a max heat index so far of 109 (oops, they were way off on the forecast for this). At our house is it 100 degrees right now. Our weather refuses to behave. Everything outdoors is just roasting. They had our Mesonet station (and Kenton's, I think it was) down for a while today, and when they brought them back online, both stations changed from a 16" soil moisture level of 0.14 to 0.40, so they either changed malfunctioning moisture sensors or they adjusted the data. Now I don't know what to think, but no matter what their data shows, the ground is miserably dry. The rain is bypassing us, moving from SW towards central OK, so some of you are likely to get rain. Hopefully, you won't get the hail.

    Jennifer, I hope the dinner is fun and that the animals do well without valium.

    Megan, There's so many neonics in use that I mostly just grow my own flower transplants from seed nowadays. I tried to buy some plants at HD this past spring, and they had Neonic tags in them (sort of hidden behind the standard plant tag, so if you weren't checking for them you might miss them) so I put them back on the plant racks. At least they are labeling theirs, which most places do not. I used to buy flats and flats of annual flowers in early to mid Spring for maximum impact, but don't buy many now. If I cannot grow them myself or find them at an organic nursery in the DFW metro, then I just live without them. It is hard for me to give flower seedlings the attention they need when I'm wrapped up in growing veggie transplants, especially during winter/spring wildfire season, but I'm getting better at giving them the appropriate amount of attention since buying them is less and less of an option because of the heavy reliance in the bedding plant industry on nionics. For me, growing transplants is easy if I'm not rushing off to fires every day, but almost impossible if we're having a bad fire season.

    We've been harvesting and eating tons of tomatoes for two months now, so you will not hear any whining coming from my lips. The fruit that set in March-April is mostly all harvested now. We had very little fruitset in May, but those are the ones that are still green now. With the heat cranking up, no rainfall in ages and tons of wind this week, the spider mites are flooding into the garden every time the wind blows and hitting the tomato plants hard. I'm now at the point where I look at the plants and think to myself that I'll be glad when each plant has ripened its last fruit and I can yank it out of the ground, thereby putting it out of its misery. I've been doing a pretty good job killing stink bugs and leaf footed bugs with citrus oil, but normally wouldn't spray it on the plants because it tends to burn the foliage. (Orange oil, at a high enough concentration will strip paint and varnish, so I have to be really careful to mix it up properly and to not spray it on any plant I don't want to risk losing.) It is just that with the plants declining so rapidly and drought officially in parts of our county now, I just do not care. I wouldn't spray it on the leftover tomato plants that I planted at the northern fenceline very late (to serve as host plants for tomato and tobacco hornworms found on the fruit-bearing plants in the main tomato rows) because they have not been hit by herbicide drift or spider mites yet, so they look ridiculously good and might survive until fall if the grasshoppers would leave them alone. I also wouldn't use it on the 8 new tomato plants for fall. They are in containers at the NW end of the garden, in as much shade as I can give them and still expect them to grow any at all. They can have more sun later after they grow and are established.

    I'm no longer dealing with tons of tiny grasshoppers in the garden. Now I have big huge ones flocking to the garden from the non-irrigated fields around us---thousands of non-irrigated acres. The differential grasshoppers are a huge issue as they really prefer forbs to grasses at this time of the year. I've started letting my Kong sunflowers wilt on purpose, which I'd rather not do, because the differential grasshoppers, which love sunflowers, will usually avoid wilting sunflowers. (Maybe the wilting impacts the leaves in some way the differential grasshoppers do not like?) So now, the dog's sunflowers that are self-sowing natives which border their dog yard are much more appealing to the differential grasshoppers than my garden sunflowers because I am not watering the garden sunflowers but am watering the dog yard sunflowers to turn them into an appealing plant for the differentials. Whatever it takes......

    Tim just came in from the Great Outdoors and informed me it is hot out there. Thanks, I told him, I hadn't noticed. I think being at work 5 days a week somewhat skews his perception of the heat here because by the time he arrives home near 7 pm, we usually are a lot cooler than we were just 2 to 4 hours earlier.

    Today, for the first time in ages, instead of working on something at home, we went to the fire station and worked on various projects. I cleaned the kitchen, filled up the fridges with additional bottled water and Gatorade, inventoried firefighter snacks, etc. I noticed that, in our neighborhood between the fire station and our house, areas that are heavily shaded or that get shade at least half the day still look half decent. Areas that are in full sun? They look pathetic.

    My garden needs trees in it to shade the plants in hot weather, but I don't want the trees there all the time.

    Dawn

  • hazelinok
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    It's blowing in here and spitting a bit. The wind is pretty bad. We ran out and put all the chairs, etc. on the shop porch, brought the dogs in. It's dark and cool. The cool temp is nice....feels good.

    Is anyone else getting anything?

    Edited to say that it is full-blown raining now.

  • Nancy RW (zone 7)
    5 years ago

    Thanks for info on heavenly blue MGs, Dawn. I grew them in Minnesota for several years. Just plunked em in the ground first of June and they were blooming about like the purple ones do down here, so I was bit perplexed. I did read previous Houzz discussions about them taking a while to bloom (and maybe you said it before, too), but REALLY. It is TIME. lol

    AND. I totally lied about the tomatoes. Forget everything I said about them nearing end of production. The one Sungold doesn't look great. But most of the others have flowers all over the tops and down a bit. I must have just been looking at the lower parts of the plants.

    Jacob--I'm the only one here who eats the Braunschweiger, so it lasts a while. Do you share with others? Maybe you could hide it. Hahaha, I remember you said your Dad likes it. Now you've got me craving it.

    Don't even breathe the c-diff words. I can hardly wait to get GDW to the urologist.

    Our neighbors to the north are here for the 4th. I went out to change the water, and here were the wife and little GD walking in our driveway, down to our garden area. I said hi to them (good people), and she explained to me that she couldn't find the bottoms to her swimsuit. She had her suit on the railing to dry. She said Rufus (Titan's other name given by them) was over earlier for treats, and she wondered if he'd taken off with it, so that's what she was doing, a walk-round to see if she spotted it. I checked on the deck, nothing. But she's on her own, otherwise. I told her to feel free to look anywhere she chose. LOLOL

    Oops; time for dinner. We're going into town.


  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7
    Original Author
    5 years ago

    Amy, If Hobby Lobby was putting out crafty type stuff, I'd tolerate it better. When we were there that day, they were putting out garland, Chrismas ornaments and the like, not the holiday craft supplies.....yet. Of course, it's been at least a week, so maybe they have the holiday craft supplies out by now. Heck, the possibly have the Christmas trees up by now. Meanwhile, 10 days before July 4th, they were consolidating the July 4th decor, marking it down and practically pushing it out the door. So, a person who waits until a week-10 days before a holiday to shop can pick up some good bargains. I just hate the way it makes it feel like the year is flying by faster and faster and faster.

    My sister always has done her Christmas shopping in the summer months for the most part---her way of buying it all without feeling rushed, or without feeling compelled to charge it, or without having to worry about things selling out. She bought and paid cash and had it all done well before the holiday madness even began. It always has worked for her. I was more like that when Chris and our nieces and nephews were young, but got away from that after they grew up and became harder to shop for. I'd be perfectly happy to have Christmas just as a time to be together and spend time with family and friends, with no gifts involved, partly because the huge emphasis on so much "stuff" has taken over the holidays and partly because retail pushes stuff at you relentlessly which makes me want to rebel and buy none of it. I suspect the grandkids all would be gravely disappointed, though, if suddenly there were no gifts and if the house wasn't decked out from top to bottom. I am wondering what everyone will say this year when there's no gifts of salsa, pickles, jams and jellies from the garden. (I haven't told them all that I've taken a year off from canning or that I'm possibly retiring from it.)

    Jennifer, We got the usual nothing. I hope the wind was not too hard on the garden, and it is hard to be unhappy about rain unless you get 6 or 8 or 10" all at once and your garden begins drowning. Well, we got a wreck on the interstate around dinner time, and some departments got a grass fire....but those aren't the things we were hoping for. Rain would be nice but our chances are very low (20%) and if anything were to fall, they aren't expecting it to be much of anything.

    Nancy, I'm glad to hear that Titan is not a thief.

    The forecast for next week has been all over the place, but increasingly it looks like July 4th might at least have more pleasant temperatures than we've had lately.

    We're going to have family here on the 4th, so it probably will rain in an effort to spoil our cookout and the girls' swimming pool time, because that's the way things happen around here. So, I won't hope for rain for Wed, but I wouldn't be unhappy if some fell either.

    I know that the NWS was warning of hail and really strong winds with some of these storms this afternoon. Let's hope nobody got that part of it.

    Dawn


  • Nancy RW (zone 7)
    5 years ago

    Well, actually, Dawn, we have not determined that Titan is not a thief. LOLOL

  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7
    Original Author
    5 years ago

    Nancy, I am giving Titan the benefit of the doubt! However, when things disappear in our house, the odds are that a dog has dragged them off somewhere. Princess likes to bury things in the recliner when no one is looking. Then when you sit down in it and recline, all her buried treasures (usually rawhide bones and dog toys but sometimes something like a kitchen towel or a stray sock) pop up out of the seat. When you move the recliner to sweep or mop the floor, missing things usually are under it and Princess is the number one suspect. Ace doesn't tend to hide things in or under the furniture. Nope, when he has something, he parades around the house proudly carrying it with him, so when he takes something, you know he has it because he is such a show-off.

    Dawn