August 2009 Garden Update

Most of my garden is dead due to the heat this month. The average for August was 94°F. The highest temperature was 115.6°F and the low was 65.3°F. This desolate barren bed used to be the squash bed.

August 2009 Garden

I couldn’t use this bed throughout the summer.  I had a brainstorm last spring about using pallets with chicken wire stapled to the bottom as a way to keep out the gophers that had invaded.  It worked great during the cool weather, but once the hot weather started in, the soil in the pallets could not hold the moisture so everything died off very quickly in this bed. I may use it in the fall, or I might just remove it and create a bed like the others. This bed is similar to the raised beds Mel Bartholomew promotes. They do not work well in Arizona.

Garden August 2009 Pallet Bed

Here are my tomato plants. Can you see how they have grown up through the top of the garden?  Four of the tomato plants have died, but I think the rest will struggle through to fall. If they can, I’m going to trim the tops and the sides that are straggling out to the side.  I’m leaving the extraneous foliage in the meantime to provide protection and shade from the sun.

August 2009 Garden Tomatoes

And my eggplants… they are thriving and love the heat.  They haven’t produced any flowers because it’s too hot, but I know they will begin producing like crazy once it cools down a bit. Neither the tomatoes or the eggplant can tolerate cold so they will all die out during the winter if I don’t protect them.  One year Mr. A built a hothouse around the plants I wanted to keep alive but we probably won’t do that this year.

August 2009 Garden Eggplants

A couple of watermelon plants are still doing quite well. I wonder if I’ll ever get a watermelon larger than a softball? I definitely need to research and find out what is wrong with my soil. I think I have too much nitrogen, but I’m not sure how to counteract that. You can see how my handmade mesh (constructed from hay twine) has provided a good support for the vines to grow up.

Garden August 2009 Watermelon Plants

And the purslane is thriving without any attention at all from me. I have been watering the eggplants and tomatoes every 24-36 hours, but I don’t water the weeds.  Time to make Weed Soup.

August 2009 Garden Purslane

Here are some of the critters I’ve found in my garden of late. Big brown grasshoppers.

Large Brown Grasshoppers

Huge green praying mantis…

Big Green Praying Mantis

Here’s a photo with my hand for comparison of size for this girl. I just know she’s a momma mantis.

Big Green Praying Mantis with my hand for comparison of size

And last but not least… I found this teensy, tiny insect crawling on me one day when I’d come in from the garden and had laid down to rest for a while. I don’t even know how I managed to not kill him just by laying down on the bed. I felt something creepy-crawling on my arm and sat up. This guy is so tiny, I almost couldn’t see him. He’s the size of an ant!

Teensy, Tiny Praying Mantis

Teensy, Tiny Praying Mantis

Teensy, Tiny Praying Mantis

Teensy, Tiny Praying Mantis

Can you tell how tiny he is?  In the photo above, you can barely see anything on my finger, but that’s him.

It was the only time in my life I’ve fervently wished for a “good” camera with a macro lens.  My little Nikon usually does just fine for me, but it could not focus on this teensy Praying Mantis. Imagine how tiny his little heart is, and the blood coursing through his tiny little body. Wow. Do insects have hearts that pump blood?

September starts our best growing season again. Hopefully the weather will cooperate and cool down just a few degrees. If it does, I can plant:

  • Beans, Snap
  • Bok Choy
  • Broccoli
  • Brussel Sprouts TS
  • Cabbage
  • Cabbage, Chinese
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower TS
  • Celery
  • Collard Greens
  • Cucumbers
  • Endive
  • Kale
  • Kohlrabi
  • Lettuce, Head
  • Lettuce, Leaf
  • Leek
  • Mustard
  • Onions, Green
  • Peas
  • Radishes
  • Turnips

Isn’t that crazy? I won’t plant every single thing, but I need to get a plan together so I can figure out what I am planting. I should have enough seeds to plant just about anything on that list.

Okay, so how is your garden doing?

Yours Truly,

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6 thoughts on “August 2009 Garden Update

  1. I envy you your garden — even the stuff that died! At least it was once alive. When I finally am in the position to buy a house, it MUST have space to grow vegetables and maybe some dwarf fruit trees. I like to plant stuff I can eat.
    That grasshopper is enormous. Yikes.
    Good luck with the fall growing season.

    [Reply]

    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    Hi Donna, you know it is possible to have container gardens. 🙂 My suggestion is to start with Swiss Chard. It grows easily, is very prolific and once you start a few plants you’re pretty much set for the season since you only pick the outer leaves. Thanks for visiting and commenting!!

    [Reply]

  2. I’ve done container gardens before, but my current situation is not conducive to this. Some day. Just not today, and tomorrow’s not looking good, either. 😉

    [Reply]

    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    Well, drat!! I would sure hate it if I had no chance whatsoever to grow anything. I have gone for a year or two without gardening but always had the dirt out there to work with. I hope you get a chance to garden one day soon! Thanks for visiting, Donna!

    [Reply]

  3. I live in MA and have never seen tomato plants that big. What a difference there is between here and there!

    Thanks for sharing your garden.

    [Reply]

    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    Hi Andrea! I always choose indeterminate type tomatoes, and grow them in cages without any trimming of the branches. I feel that when they grow all together in the tomato cage, they help to shade themselves from the harsh sunlight. They just keep growing up and up and up! Other years the branches have dropped over the edge of the cage and continued on down the side. But this year I had to put up additional fencing on both sides of the cages so the branches couldn’t really droop out to the side. I also didn’t plan for enough space on all sides of this year’s tomato bed. I’m glad you stopped by and commented, thanks!

    [Reply]

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