update after the rains

Yes, finally had some rain.  two days of everything from major downpours with thunderboomers, to just mild drizzle.  The days previous had brought humidity and cloudiness. Even with the heat, the reduction of sun stress sent everything into overdrive! Tomato and squash plants shot up a couple of feet!   now that the sun is out again, that growth spurt should continue.

Had to cut back my comfrey so the water could get down to the roots.  Keep my comfrey in a super large grow bag to keep it contained.  has worked well now for a few years.  The leaves went into the composter.  The small barrel composter is almost full, so cracked open the large barrel to find the best dirt I’ve ever made!  Added the comfrey leaves to it.  When the small barrel is fully full, will empty out the compost for the big barrel and switch over to using it.  It takes so long to fill that big barrel, that may switch back to using the small one when that compost is done.  Can probably get two or three loads from the small one in the time it will take to get the big one full!  Used to collect from neighbors, but they continued to  put non-compostables in their bags to me and it just became such a pain to sort –  on either end.

Went to put on the second application of the calcium spray to stop blossom end rot.  This 24oz bottle cost $9. The sprayer itself stopped working in the middle of the first round of use.  Now, can hear stuff in the bottle, but between the shape of the bottle and the length of the sprayer straw, its just sloshing around down there.  Have had to mail order a variation of this product which is a concentrate.  Hopefully, it will be here soon.  The roma tomatoes are past where it will make a difference anyhow.  And if the heat lets up a bit, it probably won’t be an issue anymore with the zukes.

Planted 6 cocozelle seeds (a bush variety of zucchini), 4 came up.  The bush ones stop producing well at a certain point, so am ready with replacements when that happens.  Will probably keep one or two of these in the greenhouse for late season harvest, and let one or two of the fruits go for seeds.

Tomatoes in hanging bags ended up in the greenhouse all season, which was WAY to hot.  But the idea works, now just to make it a bit more convenient. Hang a five gallon plastic pail? that will probably last longer than these cheap bags the topsy turvy’s supply.  They are producing, but with the heat shock, not as much s those in the garden.

The 50% green sunshade made a HUGE difference.  Can see several reasons it was an improvement over the 35% white one that is on the main garden; from increased protection, to size.  So next year, may get a larger, dark, 50% that will cover both the main garden and extend out over the container area.  The two am using now will probably end up in the satellite gardens for next year. The squash garden is one of those areas and while they are doing fine, can tell by the leaves that the sun is beating up on the plants.

Yesterday’s chili ended up being about 6 quarts.  4 are in the canner right now, and the other two are sitting in a pot on the stove for tonights dinner, and left overs for a friend. Made it “skinny”, that is a little loose.  In the past have found that it seems to thicken in the canning process, and then have to add water to heat it up.

Mid July, and back East this is peak of season, and starting to decline from here.  Still have plenty of grow time here, even though first frost is mid-October.  Then we usually have another 30 days of Indian Summer.  That’s why I don’t usually do pole beans anymore.  They just start producing well when the frost comes.  Bush beans I can cover, or if in containers, move into the greenhouse.  Now that I’m expanding both my use of grow bags and growing area, will plant some bush beans earlier in the season for both dry beans as well as eating / freezing.

There is certainly some labor involved with a highly productive garden.  But not really a lot once its up and going.  planning is more of the issue than anything else.  Like remembering to get lettuce, chard, and brocalli seeds going next month for the fall harvest. But actual work? not so much!

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