Friday, July 12, 2013

Weekend Gardening: July Update

    July in our southern garden means reflection and evaluation. Tender plants have long gone from the rows as many vines are following as well. Tomato leaves start to crisp next to cucumbers what wilt in the midday heat. Texas is tough on a garden; only the hot peppers thrive in this extreme heat and humidity.

     This month the last of our corn plots were harvested and put up for later. Their stalks dry in the noonday sun offering shade to the flock of hens grazing the plot. Soon those stalks will be tilled under to compost down before the next planting season. Cole crops and greens will replace the corn once soil has rested and amended.

      Our victory plot gets more bare every week; sun-baked vines suffer alongside withered kale plants. Tomatoes and peppers offer their fruits along with okra and eggplant..still hardy enough to survive. Late squash plants are just now blooming next to southern peas while gourds and pumpkins start to sprawl across empty rows. Cucumbers are succumbing to the heat offering very little to harvest, yet the basil nearby sports tiny blossoms as it goes to seed.

       In the herbal garden, mints run wild under bushy roses that stopped blooming last week. Hibiscus now offer their brilliance shading the tender lemon balms and thyme below. Fruit trees strive to get enough water next to freshly trimmed berry canes. We have been heavy mulching this plot, adding soaker lines to assist with the water demands.

       July's garden will find me canning plenty of sauces and salsas, pulling out crops that are finished, and plotting the rows for the next season's planting. Time to scavenge for compost, barter for mulch, and muck those stalls. Next week we look at amending the empty beds in preparation for the next plantings. Grow something beautiful!

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