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okiedawn1

July 2018, Week 4, Fun, Fun, Fun

5 years ago
last modified: 5 years ago

Since we just went through such a hard week for ourselves and our gardens, we all need a break. This week's gardening theme song reflects that and is just for fun....just a happy song to make us smile.

Fun, Fun, Fun by The Beach Boys

Last week definitely was not fun for our gardens or ourselves, but we get a little bit of a break for a few days before temperatures warm up again. I hope everybody and their gardens made it through the very tough weather week in good condition.

Our garden is struggling with the lack of rainfall and very high summer heat. Yesterday really was stunningly hot so early in the day that it was mind-blowing. We were 103 degrees with a heat index of 105 before noon even arrived. Really? What did we do to deserve that? lol. We peaked at a high of 111 and a heat index of 113, and I would love to believe that yesterday will be our worst day of the summer and that there won't be any more like that one. After a week of weather like that, parts of our yard and garden look as if somebody took a blow torch to them. I'm watering really heavily and really often, for me, in an effort to keep the flowers in the garden going for the pollinators because they need them. There's not many native flowers left in bloom for them as most of them are dried up and either going dormant or dying. At least the native sunflowers are hanging in there, so the pollinators have those. There's a couple of patches of frogfruit in bloom in areas where I have made puddles of water for the small wildlife. At this time of the year, every single wildflower counts.

The vegetable plants are not amused by the mid-summer heat. I have shade cloth over peppers and a few of the tomatoes and that is helping, but everything else including the fall tomatoes is sitting there roasting in the sun. Even the okra leaves wilted badly yesterday and their soil was plenty moist. The harvesting continues, albeit at a slower pace---okra, lima beans, peppers (hot and sweet), and tomatoes. The first planting of southern peas has finished up and the second planting isn't producing yet but the Lima beans are filling the gap nicely, although they are late. At least they're finally producing, which seems like a miracle of sorts in this heat.

Because butterflies love the heat, the garden is overflowing with them now. They are simply everywhere which is great. So are the grasshoppers, which is not so great. It is, however, typical of what happens when the weather gets hot and the fields dry up and the grasshoppers migrate in huge numbers to irrigated areas.

I hope everyone is seeing lots of hummingbirds. I think we have had more hummingbirds in the yard and garden this week than ever before. I suppose this is happening for various reasons---the heat and drought conditions may be driving them in out of the native woodlands and grasslands to homes with irrigated yards and gardens. It could be the abundant blooms in the garden for them---I selected so many flowers specifically in mind for them this year. It seems like they are visiting the feeders a lot more---just like they do as they migrate, though it is so early that I am not sure that they've begun migrating yet. Still, their southward migration will begin soon. I also set up a lawn sprinkler in the lawn in the midst of a bunch of trees and run it for them for a few minutes every hour, and they really seem to enjoy flying through the mist of the sprinkler. I'm not sure if they are bathing or playing, but they seem happy no matter what it is that they are doing. Maybe they just need some heat relief too.

The garden itself is full of birds searching for insects to eat. I hope they are devouring grasshoppers.

Are y'all planning fall gardens? Has anyone got anything going yet other than fall tomatoes?

Due to the prolonged lack of rainfall here, I don't have much of a garden plan for fall yet. I'm waiting to see what happens between now and mid-August. If some rain doesn't fall, I don't think I'll plant anything in August. It is just too dry. I feel like it is going to be challenging enough just to keep the current garden plants alive, including the fall tomatoes, from now through mid-August. Historically, our worst summer heat in my county occurs in the first half of August, although I'd be perfectly happy if this year is an exception to the rule.

The grass? Our bermuda grass looks pitiful and I don't really care, except that withered, dry grass becomes a fire hazard, so I guess I'll try harder to get it some water this week. It is so dry that its' green color is about gone, and it doesn't spring back after you walk on it....so footprints from the day before are still visible in the grass each morning.

Fire activity is picking up down here, not just in our county but in other counties on both sides of the river, and burn bans are starting to pop up---in some cases on the Texas side in the form of emergency burn bans implemented without notice because the weather situation suddenly seems so dire. It really isn't too bad in our county yet, but I feel like it has the potential to turn bad quickly.

So, what's new with everybody? How did your plants handle the extreme heat? Are you excited for fall gardening? Just hoping to survive the summer? Beyond caring?

Remember to stay hydrated if you're still having the heat. Our cool-down has begun but we aren't really cool yet---the nighttime was cooler. It was nice to wake up to temperatures in the 70s instead of the 80s, but our high still is expected to be 106 today with whatever heat index comes with it. I'm looking forward to Tuesday when we are not expected to hit the triple digits....but they'll be back by Thursday, so the weather reprieve is brief here.

The chickens were allowed to leave the mud room and free range around the yard late yesterday evening and spent the night in their coops. The mudroom has been cleaned up, swept and mopped but I haven't moved the furniture back into it. I'll do that today or tomorrow. Covering the entire thing in 4 mm plastic taped down to the floor so they couldn't get under it worked out really well and made clean up a breeze.

Have a great day everyone and a wonderful week as well.

Dawn

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