Yeah, yeah... I've yammered before about what a lousy blogger I am. "Oh, well!"
Well, today I'm gonna *try* to make up for it by posting some Progress Pics on my garden for this year. ("It's about friggin' time!!!")
Two words: "Holy Cow!"
Okay, Finnyknits made me a believer! Testing and amending the soil prior to planting *does* make a difference! Read here and here for more info on that...
Ohhhh... Where to begin? Ehh. How about starting with Last Year's Upside Down Planters?
So last year I bought these upside-down planters and planted some tomatoes and peppers in 'em. I put 'em out on the [blazing hot] patio and *attempted* to water them at-least-somewhat-faithfully (Although - fair warning! - upside-down planters require a LOT of water!) (Even if you add Soil-Moisture Crystal Doohickeys to the mix!). Anyway, tomatoes didn't produce Squat! Peppers, I think I may have gotten a couple of peppers, but I'm not a big pepper-eater so it was nothing particularly memorable.
Also last year, I decided to plant my herb garden in a Strawberry Pot (one of those planters with all the mini-pot-holes on the sides). That was a miserable failure as well because I couldn't get enough water INTO it. The soil compacted, then all the water would simply run out all the side-pot-holes, taking the soil with it - without saturating the soil within :::sigh:::
So two Big Fat Failures last year!
To be fair, we were pretty-effectively robbed of a Summer last year (it didn't arrive 'til late October - and most of the "really-nice" days happened while we were in Hawaii - IN NOVEMBER!!!). It really was a suck-tastic year for veggies, in general.
I think I got, maybe, half-a-dozen cherry tomatoes - Total!
So Fast-Forward to February of this year. I was wandering around outside (for reasons I can't explain 'cuz February is friggin' COLD!) and I happened to find THIS growing out of the bottom of LAST SUMMER'S upside-down tomato planter!
Jeez? Are you confused???
I was all excited and ate it, of course. It was the mealiest, most tasteless thing you could ever imagine - BUT STILL!!!
I picked a *fresh* tomato in FEBRUARY! "Nah-nee-nah-nah-NAHHH!"
So *this* summer, I replaced some of the soil in the Upside-Down-Planters and decided to leave Mr. "I'm Confused" Tomato Plant alone - just to see what he'd do... And I also decided to plant my herbs in the tops of the U-S-D planters - easier to keep 'em watered that way, and they're still reasonably close to the Manly BBQ Grill.
Well... Findings so far: There are two identical planters, appx 15' apart, planted with similar plants and identical soil. Well, I think they are in distinctly different micro-climates.
The planter closer to the fence is shaded 'til well after noon - but after that, it reaches about 800-jillion degrees in that spot in the late afternoon (I know b/c that's where we go to dry off after swimming!). Herbs in this planter are doing "Okay." Peppers in the bottom? Eh. So-so..
I only experience Thermonuclear Meltdown Temps in the late afternoon.
And I *like* it!!!
The one, closer to the back-door, is in full-sun all day. I think that one stays at around 650-jillion degrees All. The. Time. Patio takes up a lot of sun and radiates the heat like nobody's business. Consequently, the one closer to the back-door needs a LOT more water. The Tomato seems to like it. The herbs? Not so much! They're pretty scraggly and they keep bolting!
All. Freaking. Day. Long.
Anyway, Mr. "I'm Confused" Tomato seems to be thriving and was the first plant to set fruit this year (No, I have NO idea what variety it is!). And Tazz, unfortunately, *discovered* said fruit and - thieving li'l bastard! - she STOLE one of my precious 'Mater Babies! Hmph!
"Tomato? What Tomato?! I don't see any Tomato!!!"
Extreme Measures were taken!
Flowers: Blissfully happy, as always! We get about a dozen new Hibiscus flowers every day...
And how's this for weird? It's a Two-Headed Bird of Paradise growing out of one stalk!
And, once again, the Morning Glories are threatening to gobble-up anyone who dares pass thru the Garden Gate!
"I will gobble you up!!!"
Unfortunately, the Morning Glories have also gobbled-up my new Dwarf Cherry Tree (methinks we'll be relocating next winter!). And the Dwarf Apricot Tree never did leaf-out, so I need to dig it up and take it back to the nursery :::sigh::: (at least they offer a one-year guarantee on their bare-rootstock).
Speaking of fruit... My GAWD have I got a lot of plums this year. These are Santa Rosa and not quite as purply as the Satsumas (Replacement Satsuma leafed-out nicely and, hopefully, will start producing next year). Consequently, I've been kinda forgetting to pick 'em in time and lots of them have hit the dirt (Oooops!). But there's plenty more where that came from (and I think I may be forced to make jam this week! Either that or dry them and make prunes!). Maybe I can pawn some off on the neighbors while I'm at it!
White peaches... Oh, they are TEASING me with their ohhh-soooo-slooooow ripening! I swear, they're only about a week away from ripeness and I can't friggin' wait! I *love* the flavor of the white peaches.
Yellow peaches... Comin' along, but they probably won't ripen 'til early August. Yep. I think there are Peach Pies in our future as well!
Next up: Straw Bale Bed. One word: "FAIL!"
The first time temps hit the 90's, everything in the Straw Bale Bed just kinda withered and died. There are still a couple of Tomato plants out there, barely-clinging to life, but everything else is fried. I think that Straw-Bale Beds would be useful in places that get actual RAIN in the summertime. We (typically) don't - although we did have a freak rain-storm at the end of June. Bottom Line: The straw-bales really don't hold enough moisture to sustain life in South San Jose. I did ask DH to bump-up the drip schedule - but it just seemed wasteful to keep pumping *that* much water into a bed where it was just gonna run straight through. It's not a complete loss, though. I'll break up the bales in Autumn and use them to top-dress my raised beds over-winter...
Okay, I've saved the best for last! "So how are your raised beds doing?"
Holy chit! My tomatoes are freaking HUGE! As is my Artichoke (well, one of 'em anyway - not sure if the other one ever took root). I've never successfully grown artichoke before so I have no clue when or if it's supposed to flower, but it's a damn big happy-lookin' plant! (but I can't take it's picture b/c the 'Maters are hogging the show!) Zucchinis - again, threatening to take over. Gawd only knows what else I planted out there (Note to Self: Write down what got planted where!), but it's ALL doing GREAT!
My very polite and well-behaved Bush Beans
It's a JUNGLE out there!!!
Annnnnd... Even though Mr. "I'm Confused" was the first tomato to set fruit, I think Mr. "I'm Gonna Eat Your House" is gonna have the first *ripe* fruit. Can't friggin' wait!
Maters comin' - taken less than a week ago!
I'm gonna eat YOU before you can eat my house!!
So that's the latest from QT's Li'l Slice o' Paradise... Veggies are comin' along!
Annnnd... Maybe in another week, I'll be able to post a Time-Lapse Video of the Raised Beds "In Action" 'cuz Hubbie bought me a Mondo-Cool Wingscapes Camera for my B-Day last month!