For most of my life I was a night owl. When I was a young child, I had a terrible time getting to sleep and it was even harder getting up to go to school. As a young adult I worked normal day time hours and it was hard getting up early for work. I usually stayed up late weekends and slept in late, which always made getting up on Mondays a real drag. But once we moved out to the country, things changed. I had to be at work at 7am, so I had to get up at 5am. A couple of years ago I changed my starting time to 6am, so that means now I have to get up at 4am. Plus we have dairy goats and during the summer it’s absolutely vital to be out there no later than 5am to milk due to the heat and at certain times of the year, the flies.
Now I love going to bed early and getting up early. The sunflower photo I took right around 5:30am when Big A, Mr. A and I were in the garden harvesting vegetables. It’s beautiful out that early in the morning, the lighting is gorgeous and the mornings have been very pleasant. We’d already finished the chores, and I’d milked the goats. Usually I harvest by myself, but yesterday morning the red tomatoes were just so beautiful that I knew Big A would enjoy helping pick them.
Mr. A has been watering for me throughout the week, but he always leaves the harvesting to me, he knows how happy it makes me to find the ripe vegetables.
I needed to water on Saturday, and I thought I’d gotten everything there was to find on Friday, but I started looking more closely. I was amazed to find another foot long zucchini squash hiding in the shadows! The lavender eggplant near the green ones are Pingtung Long. The fatter, more rounded eggplants lower in the photo are the Lavender Touch. They are so delicious! Two Lavendar Touch eggplants makes a nice lunch for one. The Swiss Chard is possibly my last harvest. Typically the plants go to seed, but every so often the plant seems to be able to withstand the heat.
I’m trying an experiment. I thought since these few Swiss Chard haven’t gone to seed, I’m going to try protecting them from direct sun at least for most of the day. I covered the ground around the plants with several inches of compost to begin with. Then I needed something to shade the plants. The only problem is the wind blows out here, sometimes unpredictably and very hard. I couldn’t just rig up shade screen and expect it to stay.
So I started looking around the yard, and I found these old lounge chairs that were sunburnt and damaged. People can no longer sit in them, but I could see that they will work PERFECTLY to offer shade to these few Swiss Chard plants!
I placed one chair on its side, folded in a “C”. I pounded rebar into the ground at each corner and wired the chair to the rebar to keep it in place. Then I took the other chair and laid it over the top. I placed a piece of cardboard on top under the chair legs (which fold down) and then positioned a piece of cardboard on the west side of the chair. The two pieces of cardboard will offer direct shade during the hottest times of the day. The Swiss Chard will get sunlight through the plastic in the early morning.
And here’s the Swiss Chard inside its new shady summer home.
It would be really awesome if I can keep these Swiss Chard alive during the summer. Only time will tell if it will last.