Saturday, August 22, 2009

Big Mulching Job Today.

I acquired about 17 bags of mostly dead grass from dethatching a lawn at our other house this week, and I finally had a chance to spread it today. It hasn't been a great year for gardening this year because of our wacky weather. I have written about my poor frostbitten tomatoes and their slow recovery here. They only really began to get as green as they should be after I used some organic tomato food, watered well, and added some mulch. But I didn't have enough good mulching material because there haven't been any grass cuttings to speak of. That's why we had to get rid of the thatch.

As soon as we brought the first batch of about ten bags home, I applied mulch immediately (after a good watering) to the raised beds on Thursday. Today was overcast, so I watered well again and added more mulch to the container plants, which hardly had any.

I just reread my blog from July of last year, and it's interesting to compare. Almost all my tomatoes have blossoms, but only two that had been set back by the frost have produced ripe fruit so far. We do have lots of peppers about the size of ping pong balls and smaller, and lots of blossoms but few fruits yet on the cucumbers. I'm hoping the lemon cukes will start bearing fruit soon. We had two very small cukes which resemble picking cucumbers, one of which was bitter. I can't remember what variety they are, but I think they were supposed to be bigger. The leaves have never looked healthy, and I don't expect I will get much from it. We have a large variety growing in one of the raised beds, but it isn't producing yet, either.

I have had to slip parts of old pantyhose over my green tomatoes because something -- probably a bird -- is eating them from the top before they start changing color. I'm hoping this will protect them somewhat so they can ripen. I'm not trying to grow anything else but the tomatoes, cucumbers and sweet bell peppers at the moment. The lettuce and radishes I planted in the spring never sprouted. When I bought some lettuce seedlings, we had a heat wave almost as soon as they were in the ground and they bolted. I did harvest some garlic that I planted last fall, and it is very good. As usual, the zucchini is only pretending to grow, so I'm not even counting it as a crop this year. Maybe someday I will learn to grow summer squash here, but not yet. The picture at top shows the attempt to grow summer squash (left pot) and the lemon cucumber as of last week (August 15). The lemon cucumber is about twice as big this week and full of blossoms. The summer squash is still sick, but it is a bit bigger than when this picture was taken. I'll be taking more pictures with the added mulch soon.
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