May 2019, Week 5, More Rain in the Forecast For Most

Okiedawn OK Zone 7
May 25, 2019

Honestly, are there any words left to describe the flooding occurring in many portions of our state? Every day I think to myself 'maybe today it won't rain anywhere, especially in the flooded regions', and then I look at the forecast and see that rain is there yet again. If the NWS hasn't yet set a record for the most flash flooding watches and warnings, flood watches and warnings, and flood advisories issued here in Oklahoma in one month, then I think they certainly will before the end of the month. It has been non-stop. I looked at various outlooks today looking for a glimmer of hope---the 6 to 10 day, the 8 to 14 day, the one month, the three month, etc. and I just couldn't find any big bright shining ray of hope.

I hope the start of the final week of May finds everyone here still above water. I know that even those of us who aren't flooding still have a lot of soil moisture and rain-related issues. It is just one of those years.

I usually plant succession crops like crazy, which often then results in me spending hours and hours in the garden harvesting all those in the hot summer months. This year, I am dreading the heat/humidity and high heat indices that I know will plague us for months because our soils here can hold all that excess moisture for so long. I really don't want to succession plant. Nor do I want bare soil. So, I've started 80 gazillion little flower and herb seeds in little paper cups and plastic cups and, when I take out a crop at harvest time. I'm just going to succession plant flowers and herbs. Obviously I'll have to spend time plugging those little plants into the ground after harvesting a vegetable crop, but they'll be pretty easy to take care of after that. I've completely given up on planting the back garden. It is just mud and quicksand-like silty-sandy soil infested with weeds at this point, and I don't want to deal with it. By the time it dries out enough to plant, it probably won't be raining enough here and then I'd have to water it all the time, so I'm skipping it. I might use the string trimmer to cut all the weeds down to the ground and then tarp it and let it solarize this summer. I wonder how the voles back there would like that? I hope it makes them crazy, but I also hope it doesn't send them fleeing to the front garden.

The lettuce is bolting, and I am not surprised. We've been much warmer than it likes the last few days. The Swiss Chard looks a little heat stressed, but I have it at the west end of the garden in the shade of the pecan tree, so I imagine it will be fine. I think the problem it is having is that we were so cool and so wet until finally, all of a sudden, we were hot. It will adjust. The tomatoes are producing really well now and we are starting to get a lot of other varieties ripening, not just the SunSugars and Earl Girls. The short day onions are starting to fall over. I planted them extra late because our soil was so wet, and still have an occasional one just start rotting out of the blue, which means the soil still is too wet. Still, we'll get a reasonable harvest from them. They won't be big. It is a struggle to refer to them as medium sized. They're really on the small side, but they're a crop and are edible, so I am glad I planted them. Perhaps the intermediate day-length types will do better since they have a bit longer to grow in presumably better conditions. The sugar snap pea plants look pathetic. Obviously they have been too wet all along and now they are getting too hot, so I expect they'll start looking really bad soon. We'll just enjoy them as long as they last. The green beans have just begun blooming. The pepper plants are pretty happy and are doing well, so at least there's that. The potato plants look fine. I actually am surprised by how good they look (and I probably just jinxed them by saying that so tomorrow I'll probably walk out to the garden and find them covered in CPBs or disease or something).

Our lawn looks pathetic, and mowing is at the top of the list of things which must be done. We have a lot of tree pruning to do---the heavy foliage really is making limbs hang down low to the ground, so there's quite a few trees in the front yard and side yards that need to be limbed up a bit. The wildflowers in the fields look great, so there's that.

One of our neighbors was out spraying herbicide on Saturday morning and the wind was not in our favor, but he knows what he is doing and I'm not really worried about his herbicide drifting to our garden. Anyway, I have no control over whether or not it drifts. If it does, it does, and that's that.

There's a ton of stuff in bloom in the garden, perhaps the most we've ever had in bloom at one time in the month of May. I cannot take credit for that---it is just one of the benefits of heavy rainfall. I have deadheaded like crazy every time I'm out there---poppies really need to be deadheaded daily and I don't always stay that caught up on that task. I have a lot more deadheading that needs to be done. I have a lot of weeding to do too. No matter how much I weed at this time of the year (literally every single time I step foot in the garden, I weed), it never is enough and I feel like I never catch up on all the weeding that needs to be done. The daylilies have just begun to bloom. I wish I had more of them, but the mixed perennial/annual/herb border is so jam-packed that there really isn't room for more.

Getting the mowing done is hard--you have to mow around the big puddles and squishy spots (it is not funny when you get the riding mower stuck in the mud either), and everything is growing so fast that as soon as you mow, it seems like you need to mow again. Who has time for all that mowing?

All my cilantro is bolting now, but I just leave the flowers for the little pollinators and, sure enough, they are buzzing around those plants all day long.

Today a new stray cat showed up to be fed, just screaming its head off. I fed it. I don't know if it belongs to a neighbor, is a barn cat, or was dumped out here or what, but I cannot ignore a hungry cat. I fed it some dry food, which it just devoured. Then the dogs saw it, barked at it, and it ran up a tree in fear just before sunset. Nothing Tim and I said or did could get it to come down, though we finally got it to come down a bit so that it wasn't up in the tree's very tip top. I hope it comes down tonight while everything is still and quiet and, if it has a home to go home to, then I hope it goes there.

We have a ton of coons around here right now---the most we've had in years, perhaps sent fleeing from the river bottom lands nearby as the river rises. Raccoons will prey on cats, so I do hope that little cat stays safe from them tonight. Lucky, the last stray we adopted, stayed out all night quite defiantly the other night and then a coon came up on the porch and she went running to hide instead of coming in with me after I chased off the coon. She must have had a rough night out there, and I'm pretty sure she didn't sleep at all, because she slept almost nonstop for 36 hours after she finally came in.

For as much as it is raining, we haven't seen very many snakes lately. I hate to say that for fear of jinxing us in that area. Other than one too-close-for-comfort encounter with a water moccasin in my big hugelkultur/compost bed, I haven't had anything to scream and holler about. The fire ants are horrible and so are the mosquitoes, but that is typical in a very wet year.

All the forecasts and outlooks still look bad for us, rain-wise, and who knows when the rain will finally end. As long as it goes on, so does the flooding. I've been hearing some whispers about some El Nino signs fading, making it less likely that it will persist beyond summer, but even if that is true, it only partially affects how much rain we get and we might still continue in this very rainy pattern even after El Nino ends. And, if El Nino persists all summer, then will the flooding persist as well? These communities that are under water--with schools and stores and manufacturing facilities and churches all standing in water and with water standing inside them----how does the recovery start when it won't stop raining? Flooded water systems cannot really recover until the water recedes from them. It all is so interconnected. How many roadways will be undercut, torn up and destroyed after the flood water recedes? On my garden's worst day, when I look at sad plants suffering from wet roots or too much moisture on the leaves or whatever, I remind myself that we, our home, our animals and our community are in such good shape, comparatively speaking, and relatively untouched by the flooding that it seems silly to worry about a handful of plants. May we all be grateful for whatever state our gardens are in right now because things certainly could be much worse.

Have a great week everyone, and I hope y'all get a sunny day. We had one Saturday and it was glorious!


Comments (32)

  • slowpoke_gardener

    Could someone please tell me what the tall red lettuce is? I bought six of those plants early in the year. Four of them rotted, the two left still taste . The red salad bowl ( smaller red plants ) now taste bitter.

    Don't look at my weedy garden, I have big time work ahead of me to clean it up.

  • AmyinOwasso/zone 6b

    Dawn, it may have been the other thread where you mentioned chiggers. Maybe B vitamins repel them, too? Wouldn't THAT be wonderful? I hate repellant, too. Mean while, I put oil (baby oil, castor oil, whatever you've got. I suppose cooking oil would work) on my lower legs if I expect to be in chiggers. They can't climb through it. Wonder if ticks would get stuck, too? I also rub my legs when I come in to squash any that might be trying to climb. If it all fails, I spray bug bites with the sun burn spray with lidocaine in it. The lidocaine kills the itch.

    That tall red lettuce looks like a romaine to me, Larry. Maybe a summer crisp like Cherokee. But most of the summer crisps have ruffly leaves. Maybe just red romaine. Nobody around here judges weeds.

    We have had bad days around here for tornado warnings and floods. We got another inch of rain last night, but the tornadoes were south of me. Bird creek has gone from major to moderate flooding. Worley's Nursery was under water. I heard that at least the parking lot is dry now. Of course the Arkansas river is flooding bad. The Caney river at Collinsville has gone from major to moderate. However, the Caney, upstream at Bartlesville is predicted to rise back to last weeks high levels (which is still listed as moderate, but looked really bad to me!). They are releasing water from Oolagah lake which is causing the Verdigris to flood near Claremore. I saw pictures of Miami yesterday which is flooded. I don't know what river that involves. Ron is mowing today. It's just the grass is so wet.

    I hope you're all safe. Let's hope for a better week.

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  • slowpoke_gardener

    Amy, thanks, I looked at red romaine, under Bonnie plants, it does look like what I have.

    I tilled in a bunch of weeds today, but I still have a lot of work to do. I hope to plant more cowpeas, okra, and zinnias this afternoon.

    The Arkansas river is supposed to crest at a record level Tue. at Fort smith. I know it must be a helpless feeling for the people living in low areas along the river.

  • MiMi

    Amy... we drove by Worley’s yesterday and there was no standing water anywhere. Quite shocking since a few days ago they were boating around in the parking lot. The parking lot was muddy but by looking at everything else you would of never known it was flooded.... up close it may look different tho. Was also by the Worley’s in Skiatook yesterday but it was dark and couldn’t see anything. I would imagine everything is a total loss there, they were completely under water for several days. Today on Highway 20 at Hominy Creek the road is covered with water. I hope they shut it down tonight till the water recedes. In Skiatook, daughters pasture is a lake and man does it stink, like the bottom of a pond. Their entire yard is standing in water but no danger of house flooding. Everywhere we drove yesterday people were literally fishing on the side of the road.

  • hazelinok


    Dawn, thanks for all the advice about holey plants at last week's thread. I don't mind a few holes, but some plants, like the kale, are being completely eaten. Well, their leaves are. They are still making new leaves. Also, the ornamentals, which I would like for them to look...well, ornamental and not ugly and chewed up and holey. And some of the smaller plants and seedlings just can't take their few leaves been eaten. Like the okra.

    Suppose I'll buy something like Bt K to spray on the plants. I've been leery about doing this. My first year gardening out here, I used an organic spray that burned my plants.

    Netting. I need insect netting.

    Tom ordered some Sluggo. I'll sprinkle that around and get some Bt Kurstaki to put on my cabbage and greens.

    It's interesting that pests don't bother the herbs.

    I actually had a weird thought about planting a bed for cabbage/kale/greens for the worms and then using the worms/caterpillars for chicken treats.

    And I really don't mind sharing with the pests, but many pests are so greedy. Thinking about a book I often read to the little kids, The Hungry Caterpillar.

    My friend's Mom lives in Webbers Falls. She is staying with them now. I don't know what to think about all of the flooding and rain. It's overwhelming.

    I am hoping to have a normal brain again soon. Last night, I was exhausted and finally laid down around 11. Right then, the siren went off. Nope. I'm staying in bed. BUT, the weather guy mentioned "Indian Hills and Franklin", so I got up and told Ethan to go to the bathtub and put cushions over him. And that I might die, but was okay with that because I was too tired to stay up and worry about tornados. He and Tom stayed up and watched the weather for a couple of hours and I snoozed away. My job was a wreck this morning (and I knew it would be last night)...but my thought was...if I die, I won't have to deal with Sunday morning. Someone else would have to beg for volunteers and try to cover children's classes and nurseries, etc. I survived and dealt with the lack of volunteers. I survived that too.

    One of my jobs will probably not be available this fall. My kid is no longer a child. So...finding my new normal will be my goal for this summer. One of my goals.

    I am looking forward to getting some tasks completed and having more time for that. Also, my main job will need a lot of attention. Long story. Not the time or place.

    Marjorie (one of the original hens) is sick again. Her tummy area feels squishy and bloated. I'm sure she needs to be euthanized, but I can't do it myself and Tom said he wouldn't do it. (he hunts and fishes, etc!) She is a pet. My chickens are pets, but especially those first 4. That's why Peggy disappearing last week was so awful. I'll probably call tomorrow and see if a vet can euthanize her. She's in a brooder, away from the others. Poor little thing. Her comb has shrunk too. It's been getting smaller over the past few months. She's never been "right". Once she started laying eggs almost 4 years ago, the eggs were very large and mostly double yolks. She got sick about 3 months after laying. I nursed her back to health, but she never laid another egg. She was fine until January. Obviously she has some type of reproductive issue. I hope having a rooster hasn't triggered something.

    Anyway...hoping to spend some time getting the shop organized tomorrow with Tom. If we can get things straightened up and loads taken to the dump, we should be able to get some projects done soon. I really think I want hinged hoops on two of the beds now. One for the cabbage and then once harvested, zucchini. I haven't grown zucchini in 3 years. I miss it! (don't miss the squash bugs and SVB). The other for my salad bed.

    Also, Ethan is going to help me put down more wood chips in the paths. AND maybe I can finally get the flower/herb beds around the chicken pen planted!

    How is everyone's basil doing. Mine, not so good.

  • Nancy RW (zone 7)

    HJ--you nailed how I felt last night with the sirens!! LOLOL. Amy, Eileen, Rebecca and I keep in tough with the weather. And I laughed at Amy's comment yesterday on FB, that she was DONE. And then Rebecca's comment, maybe something about dreaming about Travis Meyers' voice. . . it was such a beautiful day yesterday (Saturday), I didn't even think about weather. But GDW asked if I checked the weather forecast at about 8:30 pm. I did, and AAAAAAAAGGGHHH.

    Tornado warnings. Not only warnings, but the weather radar map showed two distinct green circular spots, both SW of us all and moving NE. I was SO ticked off. I sent notes to AER--(wait. From now on let's change that a bit to be EAR (Eileen, Amy, Rebecca) and then if any of you want to group all four of us for your financial betterment, you could make it EARN! I turn the hearing into a money maker!)

    I digress. I was so freaked out by it, after such a perfect day. I actually had a gut reaction--my stomach has butterflies in dreadful situations. It always hits the gut. I don't really feel nauseous, but feel "sick" to my stomach.

    So, HJ, the EAR group were all apparently otherwise occupied, and I was nervous and had a nervous stomach, and watched the storms coming closer and closer, but was getting tired, and I thought just like you did. I was sick and tired of hearing sirens. And then was sleepy, and then had no adults communicating with me (Garry was watching House of Cards), so I just decided what will be will be. (Sound like a song?) and went to bed and to sleep. I woke up very early the next morning and saw all the responses from the rest of the EARN crew, some of which pertained to me about 12:30 a.m. Someone suggested maybe they should call me? LOL. Well end of story, all four of the EARN members and spouses if spouses applied, survived. Got lots more. . . will continue.

  • Nancy RW (zone 7)

    We are still here, We are GOOD. Yesterday (Saturday) we decided we'd go to Chile's in Muskogee for their Quesadilla Explosion salad and ribs, bringing our own Head Country BBQ sauce. 69 to Muskogee was closed because of flooding so we turned around, but by then were on a mission to have our Quesadilla Explosion salad so headed north to Pryor. Thankfully SH69 was open to there. We covered a lot of miles, just in quest of the meal. LOLOL

    But the salient point is that so MUCH of the country is covered in water! SO much water.

    I'm nervous about it for my friends and me. The floods are relentless.

    I am having some guilt. We've had a lot of rain, but can take a lot of rain, if it comes 1, 2 inches at a time (which it has this year). And we're on pretty high ground, and on rocky soil, so that we don't have much flooded soil, only in the very most SE corner, not much of the beds.

    I am praising GOD for all the beneficial insects who've been invading my flowers and veggies. I am seeing wasps, bees, lady bugs EVERYWHERE by the dozens! I'm not yet seeing any Japanese beetles.

  • Rebecca (7a)

    At least something is happy about the rain.

  • hazelinok

    Yay, Rebecca! My peas drowned.

    Nancy, I saw pics of your garden on FB. It looks amazing.

    Marjorie passed last night in the brooder. Her eyes were closed so maybe she died in her sleep. I'm so very sad...but, in a way, I am glad to not have to make the call about euthanizing her. AND I don't have to try to explain to veterinarians and their staff that she is a pet. I do have a lot of guilt about not doing it sooner. I'm sure she was suffering over the past week or so. She kept going to a nesting box to sleep instead of the roost. I noticed, of course, and kept an eye on her when I was home, but we were so busy and I feel that I neglected taking care of this sooner. She and Peggy really were the two sweetest hens. Peggy was quirky and talkative and Marjorie was gentle and quiet. Now, they are both gone.

    Maybe one of the hens will go broody again and hatch out some new chicks. I'm down to 14 now.

    Ethan helped me get wood chips on the garden paths. There's more to do, but it is a great start.

    The spot where Asplundh dropped the wood chips should be a great spot to plant something. It's a large area. Maybe I'll do some berry bushes there. Once the wood chips are all used up, of course. The bottom portion is probably compost now.

  • Nancy RW (zone 7)

    I'm so sorry about Peggy and Marjorie, Jennifer, especially so close together in time! I hope one of the hens DOES go broody soon.

    All we have are birds. And we do have one particularly dim-witted Carolina wren couple who decided the perfect place for their home is in the philodendron pot about 6 feet from where I'm sitting at the deck table. The pot is on one of the benches. I tore out one of nests another two were building behind the shutters about 12 feet away a month or so ago,. Surely not the same two, but who knows. At any rate, I just don't have the heart to tear this nest out, so I put another pot next to the philodendron so the cats can't get on the bench. And the edge of the pot where they enter IS under the railing. Still. . . birds! Pay attention, Do you notsee the three cats??

    Thank you, HJ, for the garden compliment. I know we're probably all like this, we tend to see all the bad things or things gone wrong. And I am impatient that many things are taking their own sweet time to grow and bloom.

    I was at the school this morning to visit and see how things are doing. The giant circular bed is very sad indeed, with all the water. But all the tomatoes ARE still alive. I just had any idea. There are a couple raised beds that aren't full yet. Maybe we can move a few of the tomatoes to them,. (The raised beds are of course doing much better.) And the shallower little 4x6 beds on legs are looking fantastic. I put smallish plants in those. . . alyssum, petunias, small marigolds and so forth. They are HAPPY and full.

  • Rebecca (7a)

    I need a better explanation about Porter tomatoes. I loved the ones I got from Bruce at last years SF, so I bought a 6 pack at Stringers this spring. Bruce’s were the small egg shaped ones, and the ones this year are setting more round ribbed fruit. I know about Porter, Porter Improved, and maybe one other strain, but are they really that different? How many strains are there? Bruce, which one did you have?

    I probably should have started more Creole this year.

    One bag bed didn’t get caged, so I guess they’re an experiment this year. I can’t tell which plant is which.

    Theres also an unknown tomato coming up in the beet bed.

    Im struggling to get cucumbers started. Major germination issues, then something eats them if they do come up.

    Green beans. It’s time.

  • MiMi

    I hope everyone’s flowers and gardens survive if this does happen tomorrow...also roofs, cars.... on and on...

  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7

    I'm so far behind I cannot catch up. I read everything and promise to comment on it later. I'm working hard today to beat the rainfall that is in the forecast for tonight and tomorrow.

    Our garden is doing quite well considering the weather. We are harvesting tons of tomatoes now, have 39 different kinds of plants in bloom and every dill plant in the garden except for 3 have swallowtail cats on them. My potatoes are starting to die back so they may be done. I don't think I'll have time to dig them today though. I just hope to have time this afternoon to harvest the snap peas and tomatoes. Two of our 6 or 7 bush green bean varieties have just begun to bloom---Tanya's Pink Pod (pink and white blooms) and Purple Dove (purple blooms). The Texas 1015Y onions are starting to fall over, so they'll be done soon.

    I spent a couple of hours yesterday weed-eating the bar ditch. Now my arms are so sore from carrying that string trimmer around for so long that I am not worth much today. Thankfully it doesn't require much strength to weed and plant. The only herbicide damage I see that is new is from the catnip plants at the SE corner of the garden, so I think we got lucky with the most recent round of herbicide spraying near us.

    I'll be back later today after I work a little longer in the garden. We have so many tomatoes that we ate BLTs for breakfast and for lunch today. That's my idea of a nearly perfect day, meal-wise.


  • Rebecca (7a)

    Only things I got done outside today were harvesting more peas, planting the first pack of green beans (Provider), and spreading Sluggo every-freaking-where. I can tell I’ll need the big jug this year. The pill bugs are crazy! I’ve never seen such an infestation. I have biting flies too.

    My potatoes are a forest, but not dying back yet. I’m starting to wonder if they even will die back as long as it keeps raining on them. They have a couple more weeks to go before the 90 day mark.

    Some of the flower seeds I stuck in the ground last week are starting to pop up.

  • slowpoke_gardener

    The past two days I have cleaned out more brush and disc more area in the wildlife garden and planted more peas, clover, and zinnias. I also planted two kinds of peas in my south garden. I dont have the equipment to it right, and not able to do it by hand any more. The zinnias I planted yesterday I had planned on them lying on top the soil and letting the rain wash them into the grooves left by the disc and cover them with mud. Today when I went over to the wildlife garden to plant Red Ripper peas, I saw the birds having a feast on the zinnia seeds, so I had to replant them before I planted the peas.

  • soonergrandmom

    Amy, the river in Miami is the Neosho, but it isn't unusual for Miami to flood. A friend called me from there on Sunday and said they couldn't have church because no one could get there. She lives a little east of town and said it took 45 minutes to get to Walmart.

    My husband said that they were calling this a 500 year flood and I told him I felt like that was how long this stormy season had lasted. I am so tired of storms. We had a siren today, but the storm actually went north of us. We are lucky to not have to worry about flooding. My heart goes out to those who have lost their homes, vehicles, pets, and even family members. I am not a fan of TV, but during these storms I seem to be glued to the weather channels on TV, computer, or phone for hours.

  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7

    Larry, Your red romaine lettuce also is one of my favorites. It stays sweet and resists bolting better than almost any other lettuce I've ever grown. There is a green Romaine lettuce named 'Jericho' that also is incredibly heat tolerant---it was bred for the Israeli desert, and I expect their summer heat might be a lot like ours.

    Amy, It could be the B-complex vitamin I'm taking to repel mosquitoes also works for the chiggers. I honestly don't know. I dressed carefully to mow and weed-eat our steeply-sloping bar ditch on Monday morning--all 300' of it. (I figured if all of it was cut down short, the precinct road workers wouldn't spray a herbicide around our tin horn and maybe that would be one less case of herbicide drift to hit the garden this year. I'd been waiting forever for the spring wildflowers to go to seed so we could mow and weed-eat.) I wore the thickest pants I could (sweat pants, and yes they were hot!) tucked into ankle-high, leather, steel-toed workboots (ugly as sin), a long-sleeved shirt, safety glasses to protect my eyes and a hat....but I forgot to spray insect repellent on my clothes and boots. By the time I thought of it, I'd been working in the bar ditch for over an hour, and just figured oh well, I'd be covered in ticks and chiggers by the time I was done. When I went up to the house and took a shower to wash off all the ickiness after two hours of working in the bar ditch cutting down knee-high to waist-high natives grasses and forbs, there were no ticks and no chiggers on me. This defies logic. It defies history. It baffles me, but in a good way. So, maybe the B-vitamin gets the credit. The mosquito thing is almost amusing. They fly all around me, are in my face constantly, but don't land on me and bite me. It is surreal and I don't know how taking a B-complex vitamin once daily has this effect, but I am grateful it does.

    I agree that nobody judges weeds here. Some years it is impossible to keep up with them no matter how hard one tries. People here in my neighborhood always tell me that I have such a green thumb and can grow anything---and that baffles me! In our neighborhood, it isn't hard to get things to grow at all---the real challenge is to stop them from growing! With all the rain this year, our entire place is a jungle and I feel like we ought to be out in the yard every weekend with a chain saw just trying to cut back trees, vines, shrubs, etc. before they completely engulf the house and take over the garden. We actually have been trying to do that a bit on the weekends we don't have the grandkids here, but we could do it all weekend every weekend and still not keep everything in check. I have the same issue with all the weeds sprouting all over the garden. I could weed all day every day and still lose the battle with the weeds. This is just one of those years. We've never had hedge parsley (among other things) like we have it this year---as thick and as aggressive as bermuda grass.

    Larry, I watch all the river flooding and all the severe weather like Amy and you have been doing, and am so horrified by all the flooding all along the river. I hope the cresting of the river near Fort Smith is over and done and water levels will begin to fall. My heart goes out to everyone affected by all this flooding. I see all the photos, watch the videos, etc. and still barely can believe what I'm seeing. When we had all that flooding in 2007, I sort of thought of it as a once-in-a-lifetime event. I was wrong. Then, along came 2015, and I figured nothing ever could be that bad again. Right? Wrong! Here we are in 2019, and the flooding is even worse. It is mind-blowing.

    Mimi, I hate the way the ground stinks after it has been too wet for too long. Our soil can do that even without standing puddles because we have such dense clay, but it is exponentially worse after we've had puddles standing in the pastures long enough to kill the vegetation in the standing water.

    I cannot imagine people fishing along the roadsides. That just seems crazy to me. I'm not sure I'd want to eat fish caught in floodwaters since it is likely flood waters have some sewage in them as a result of them flooding some wastewater treatment plants. Uggh.

    Jennifer, I am so sorry about Marjorie. Chickens tend to be very short-lived, which is one reason I avoid naming them and don't make them into pets. It just would be too hard to keep losing them over and over, especially in years when the predator population is so high.

    We have a weather radio, so I don't feel like I have to stay up and watch the weather--though usually I choose to. Sometimes your body just needs rest!

    My basil is doing fine, but the rain really has backed off here a great deal. I wonder if my typical summer drought is beginning already? We've only had about 2.5" here the last 2 weeks, which seems drought-like compared to how much rain has fallen in many areas in the same time frame. I always have basil volunteers in my mixed border of perennials, annuals and herbs that runs along the south garden fence, so even if the basil I planted on purpose doesn't do well, the volunteers generally do fine. Your basil might be getting too much water, and the only remedy for that is for all the excess rain to stop falling.

    Nancy, I was laughing at how much trouble y'all went to in order to make it to Chili's to get the Quesadilla Explosion. (It is my favorite menu item there.)

    I feel like watching the weather takes years off my life sometimes, but it also is important in terms of knowing what is going on and staying safe.

    We've already had 3 official tornadoes in our county confirmed by the NWS which is probably 2 more than we have most years. Almost three more than most years. I doubt we're done with them yet, but most of the time when they occur here, they are way out west and nowhere near us.

    Rebecca, Nice harvest! I agree the rain has been great for most plants in the garden, so at least there's that. Of course, a person whose garden lies beneath a foot or two or three of floodwaters right now would disagree with us.

    My sugar snap peas are producing, but are too wet and look sad. I'll probably harvest from them once or twice more and yank out the plants. Really, with the onset of a more summer-like weather pattern down here, I have been expecting powdery mildew to pop up on them any time now. It hasn't shown up yet, but I am sure it will.

    This does seem to me like the worst pillbug and sowbug year ever---even worse than 2007. Depsite putting out Sluggo Plus several times, I'm still finding all those roly polies eating fruit in our garden, including tomatoes. They have ruined a few tomatoes. While they may be decomposers in general, they still devour all kinds of fruit in my garden and always are much worse in wet years.

    Carol, I am drawn to all the flooding coverage too. I cannot stop watching it---it is about the equivalent of seeing a train wreck. You might not want to watch the train wreck but it is inevitable and a person cannot look away.

    I have heard them talk about this being a 500-year flood. The sad thing is that we could have another 500 year flood next year. Statistics aren't all they're cracked up to be and our weather seems devoted to doing what it wants to do, not what we want.

    Rebecca, When I was a kid and a young adult, the Gene E. Porter & Sons seed company still was in business and still sold seeds of the original Porter. To me, the original Porter I grew up with is the only real Porter. It produces small pink pear-shaped tomatoes that are larger than a bite-sized tomato but certainly not anything close to being a big tomato. It was much beloved in Texas because it was one of the few non-cherry types that produced a harvest even in July and August. There is an official Porter Improved, sometimes referred to as Porter's Pride, also bred by the Gene Porter seed company, that is the same thing as the original Porter only with additional disease tolerance bred into it. The Porter's dark cherry? I have no idea where this came from, but I don't remember the Porter seed company selling it, so I expect it is from a cross or is a mutation.

    I harvested a ton of tomatoes yesterday, including the first ripe ones of the year from about a half-dozen varieties. I am woefully behind on weeding and deadheading, but there's only so many hours in a day and the To Do list is a lot longer than the time available.

    I will be harvesting the first round of sand plums any day now. It is hard to believe they are ripening already.

    Sleep. I need sleep. More later.


  • Nancy Waggoner

    Oh dear. . . . more strong storms and rain. Thinking of you all. I think it'll be another intense day of watching the weather. I just got 2 hours of hard weeding in, then noticed the sky getting dark, so wrapped it up.

    I have a few little tomatoes showing up but will be a long time before we're eating any, I think. And those spindly puny onions have put on a ton of growth and with some Vegetable tone food 2-3 weeks ago are looking mighty decent now, for the most part. Peppers are growing well now. Potatoes, same as Rebecca.

    Hahaha, Dawn, BLTs for breakfast and lunch--perfect! Can hardly wait.

    It is raining so hard right now. Makes me sick for the folks who are flooded or near flooded. We have 1.3" since 10 am. When we went to Lowe's yesterday (in Broken Arrow, since we can't get to Muskogee), we crossed the Verdegris River. We both just gasped in disbelief at what a wide swath the overflow from the river cut. We've had an inch of rain in the past two hours and looks as thought it's going to rain all afternoon. I cannot imagine what this is going to do to the rivers!

    I am so excited and thrilled about all my good bugs that I'm feeling very cavalier about the bad ones--for the moment!

  • hazelinok

    I didn't look at anything in the garden other than the Juliet tomato. Tomorrow I will eat my first 2 tomatoes of the year. How shall I eat them? On my lunch salad? Or with my breakfast? My fav breakfast is an egg on a slice of Ezekiel bread toasted...and sliced tomato on top.

    Tomorrow is Thursday, though. I'm trying to do a "fruit and veg only fast" on those days, so lunch salad it is! (Do you like how I'm sorting through my thoughts online on this forum?)

    Oh, I did notice that the bag of flowers that I accidentally ordered are coming up. Some of them are anyway. I can't wait to see what they are. I'm pretty sure I put the gladiolus in the back. They're tall, right?

    It was good to read everyone's posts.

    It's funny that y'all mention the Quesadilla Explosion salad so often. It was my menu item of choice when I ate meat.

    I saw a post from 360 Farms saying that they are okay.

    Making note of the romaine lettuce varieties that you mentioned. I need summer lettuce. Mine is turning bitter.

    We had over an inch of rain today. Not sure when we will ever get to mow. I don't mind the field, but the area around the house is icky.

  • shankins123

    I have something to add and it's not "gloom and doom". I say that because my veggie gardening the last decade or so has been dismal....DISMAL.

    Well! I have only two small gardens this year (8' X 4' each). I have 4 kale plants that are happily producing; a square of various salad greens that are happily producing; a square of spinach, cilantro, and a couple of green onions (also quite happy); and...one square that contains 3 completely amazing and heavily-netted tomato plants! I put down black plastic when I planted them (no splash-up, no fungal diseases, even in the repeated deluges....amazing!!), I put the cages around them and swathed those things like you would not believe. No bird or squirrel can penetrate that impervious fortress this year, bahahaha!!

    Ahem....so far, I have tripled my harvest from last year - observe my 3 Black Cherry tomatoes.

    Sharon :)

  • Larry Peugh

    Sharon, those are beautiful. My garden is pretty much a flop this year, no raised beds or pots, and no mulch, yet.

  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7

    Sharon, Congrats on the harvest! I am so happy for you and hope you get a gazillion more tomatoes this summer. I'm glad all your hard work is paying off this year.

    Larry, I am sorry it is such a hard garden year for you. If only you could get a couple of weeks without rain so everything would dry out.

    Jennifer, You should eat those tomatoes any way you want them. We've been eating tomatoes with everything and on everything. This week's treat is that we're getting to eat the first Black Krims of the year. I just had two of them for lunch.

    Yes, gladiolas are tall.

    I am glad 360 Farm is okay.

    I saw a FB post from the city of Webber Falls a little while ago that said the water, which was receding a bit yesterday, is back up about a foot higher today. Those poor people! They've been flooded out for so long already, and when they return, their homes will be uninhabitable.

    Nancy, I was mostly watching the non-weather happening here yesterday or maybe the weather that was not happening. We got about 0.30" of rain, but the 7-day QPF had shown us getting 2-3". Oh well, at least we don't have a lot of new mud. I was watching the storms in Texas after Tim sent me a message that he was at a meeting in Plano and the rain was pouring down heavily. After I saw all their tornado warnings and damage, I decided maybe it wasn't such a bad thing that the rain mostly stayed south and missed us again.

    The NWS made our Flood River Warning disappear without a word again yesterday. This has happened approximately 1 million times this year. They put up a River Flood Warning, tell us when it will crest and at what height and all that and I tell Tim it is BS and not happening. A day or two later, the River Flood Warning quietly disappears without explanation. For whatever reasons, their models that forecast flooding aren't working for the Red River this year. It is crazy.

    Our garden looks great if you only look at the pretty things you want to see and ignore the weeds. I spent this morning deadheading a ton of flowers and doing some weeding, and all I accomplished was cleaning up part of two raised beds and the pathway in between them. I didn't even get all the weeds out. I'm going back outdoors shortly to resume the weeding. The garden is full of bees and butterflies with lots of swallowtail cats on the dill, and not too many pests otherwise. There is so much more work to do and I need to really stay focused and not just pause every five minutes to sit and watch the butterflies, bees and hummingbirds.

    I noticed 3 or 4 larvae of Colorado Potato Bugs on a young datura plant the other day, but none on the potatoes. I decided to take a wait and see approach---they were destroying that small datura, but I have dozens more little ones sprouting everywhere so that didn't bother me. I came out and checked the plant about 24 hours later. The CPB larvae were gone but there were 3 young assassin bugs on the plant. I'm guessing I know where the CPBs went and I'm happy to see the good bugs in the garden doing their job. I have noticed that when I am patient and let the garden ecosystem do its job, it usually takes care of most pest insects for me.

    The trumpet creeper vines are blooming now and are so gorgeous. The hummingbirds adore those blossoms so much. We are a lot cooler today than we have been in recent days---only 81 degrees right now, so I'm going to get back out to the garden and try to get a lot more weeding and deadheading done.


  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7

    I worked in the garden until about 6 pm, when Tim came up the driveway an hour early, bringing dinner home with him. (He knows when I am having a garden-obsessed day that I'm not cooking dinner.) I got so much work done this afternoon that I was almost giddy.

    I spent a huge amount of time on Raised Bed #2, which had chives, onions, peppers, beans, dill, fennel and nasturtiums growing in the bed when I started. It still has all those, but I added more dill and roselles today, and left the volunteer salvias that I found popping up there while weeding. I cut back all the chives, which were huge and all over the place and starting to flop around. Cutting them back and carrying all that plant matter to the compost pile took a while as there's about 35 big, well-established clumps of chives in that bed. Then, I transplanted more dill and roselle plants into that bed. They'll be sharing space with the onions, beans, a few fennel plants and nasturiums for a little bit, but the onions are falling over now, so will be done soon, and the beans are producing now...but they'll be done in a few weeks and then I can pull them out and the dill, fennel and roselle will have more space. The dill won't last forever because the swallowtail cats that already are devouring my large dill plants will move on to these smaller ones eventually. So, this one bed's succession cropping goes like this: first to produce were the chives (which, technically speaking, do produce all year, but I cut them back occasionally to keep them under control). The onions will be the second human crop to come from this bed. Meanwhile, the swallowtails are feeding on dill and fennel plants that came up randomly in this bed, to which I added 18 more small dill plants today. The bush snap beans (Contender, Tanya's Pink Pod and Purple Dove) have just begun setting beans and probably will produce throughout the month of June unless we get insanely hot or they get hit by a huge spider mite attack or something. They will produce enough bush beans for us to eat them several times a week and also to fill up the deep freeze with a year's worth of frozen beans. The nasturtium plants growing along the bed's southern edge are edible, but I mostly grow them just for the fun of it. Once the beans are done and I pull them out, that leaves the roselle and herb plants, which are mostly for the butterflies, with the chives along the northern edge of the bed. The roselle plants I transplanted were about 6" tall and they will grow well all summer (so well, they have to be staked with 4 to 6' tall steel t-posts to hold them upright), eventually getting 5-7' tall. They are spaced 4' apart with dill plants in the middle between each 2 roselle plants. At some point, either the heat or cats will wipe out the dill and I'll pull those plants, though hopefully they'll go to seed first and leave seeds for next year's dill volunteers. The roselles will spread out to fill in the space where the dill had been. The fennel may get eaten down to the ground, but it usually regrows and lasts all year. Once the beans come out, I have zinnia plants started in tiny paper cups (they are just now sprouting) that will replace the beans. Oh, and at the far east end of this bed, there's 8 jalapeno plants, and their first harvest will come tomorrow. I thought I'd get it done today, but Tim came home early, so I lost an hour of gardening time. I just described that whole full mess of a 4' wide by 35' long bed to illustrate how I succession plant so the bed is producing a harvest from March (chives) until the first freeze in November (roselles). I like a full bed because it helps keep weeds down if you don't leave a lot of bare space in between plants. There's also some random Texas hummingbird sage plants (S. coccinea) popping up in this bed because I grew them there last year. I'll leave as many as I can and dig up and move the others elsewhere. So, that bed got most of my attention this afternoon, and I also weeded it, the pathway north of it, the next bed to its north, and the pathway and bed that are next in line to the north.

    Both of those next two beds have tomato plants in them, so there wasn't a lot to do. I had just harvested tomatoes Monday, and will harvest again tomorrow, but I did weed these beds. Then, I added borage plants (they hate excess moisture and will rot in my clay if we are too wet, so I've been holding them in their Solo cups a while) to the ends of each tomato bed, and occasionally in an opening here and there between a couple of tomato plants. I went back and planted a third row (in between the two rows of tomato plants) of roselle plants there in the smaller of the two tomato beds. The roselles are small now, but by the time I am getting sick of harvesting too many tomatoes and decide to pull out those plants, these roselle plants will be getting big and starting to crowd the tomatoes. After the tomato plants come out of the ground (probably in July) in Bed #3 (don't worry, I have 4 more beds of tomato plants), the roselles will fill in that space. Along the north edge of that bed there's marigolds growing, and tomorrow I'm going to transplant something to the southern edge, probably some sort of celosia---I have Dracula celosia going in paper cups and also some taller Celosia cristatas, and Dracula would look good with the roselle, except their colors might be too much alike. I could mitigate that by planting chartreuse ornamental sweet potatoes as a living mulch underneath the roselles for some color contrast. See how my garden evolves? Tomorrow I'll figure out what to add to the bigger tomato bed. It is 7' wide so I have a fairly large open space in between the two rows of tomatoes that might get the celosia cristata plants. Tomorrow's big project is to weed the asparagus bed.

    After that, I have more flowering plants (cleome Rose Queen, Violet Queen and Helen Campbell white) to add to the asparagus bed. If I finish that bed tomorrow, I'll move on to the next bed, which has the Sugar snap peas, Heidi tomatoes and 4 more varieties of snap bush beans. If not, that bed is the Saturday job.

    I have at least 13 flats (maybe more like 16) of plants in paper and plastic cups to cram into the front garden since I've pretty much given up hope that the back garden will be usable. By the time it dries out, it will have head high weeds, so I'm thinking we'll cut everything down with a string trimmer back there and solarize it for 6-8 weeks. I don't know if I can cram everything into the front garden that I had planned for both gardens, but I'm going to do the best I can.

    That's how I am spending this week---trying to finish up a plethora of succession planting (often called plant cramming here at our house, since it often consists of me cramming more plants into a bed than I should), weeding, deadheading and harvesting before the rain starts up again. When is rain due again? Let me go check the forecast.....

    So, rain returns to our forecast with a low chance Saturday, and then there is rain in the forecast every day and every night through at least next Thursday. That basically gives me Friday and Saturday to do a ton of work. I hope to spend tomorrow in the garden from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. I think I can do a lot tomorrow if I stay focused and don't run into any major issues...like a venomous snake in the garden. (Hasn't happened yet this year, so I'm hopeful the trend continues.)

    I also mulched a lot today. We have a persistently weedy spot right to the south of the garden shed. It is about a 10' x 10' space between the shed and the garden's entry arbor. It has had cannas, four o'clocks and irises forever, but I've dug them out and will replant them elsewhere as they were wildly overgrown and very crowded and moving into the pathway on their quest for world domination. We moved my ornamental windmill (it is 12' tall) and stock tank (bottomless as it now is 30+ years old) from the useless back garden to the front garden this past weekend and put them in that 10' x 10' space. We laid down cardboard to keep down the weeds, filled the stock tank with a fresh hugelkultur mix (I've been hoarding wood for it) and I planted a bunch of stuff in it, including some gladiolus bulbs, ornamental sweet potatoes, roselle and dill. We also had moved three large pots, each containing one Cape Honeysuckle plant, to sit along the western fence line in that area. Today I mulched the ground in that entire 10' x 10' area, which nicely covered up the not-so-beautiful cardboard, and moved six medium sized containers filled with shade coleus in there to sit in front of the three large pots of Cape Honeysuckle. I even mulched the pots and the stock tank container. I need to get more mulch this weekend as the main path that runs in front of the garden shed really needs deeper mulch on it.

    It feels so good to finally be dry enough and rain-free and able to work in the garden all day long.

    The bummer of the day? My six beautiful, healthy, thick and lush tomato plants in large containers between the house and the garage? The plants I have as insurance in the safest part of our property where I think drift is least likely to kill them, even if the herbicide drift from one of our neighbors gets every plant in the front garden...those safe backyard plants? They all have herbicide damage. It could be from drift. It could be from volatilisation. It is very slight, only on the top 6 or 8" of growth, and I am baffled that anything made it up the hill, past the house, around the tornado shelter, greenhouse and the old shed and managed to hit those plants. As soon as I showed it to Tim, he held up his hands and said something like "I swear, I haven't used any herbicides back here". Of course he hasn't---we don't use them! He was was as stunned as I was that drift reached these plants. I was not 100% shocked---we saw a neighbor spraying a herbicide on his fence line over the weekend, but I watched and he was being very careful and keeping it really low to the ground, and I didn't think I had anything to fear. (sigh) He was working several hundred feet east of these tomato plants, with acres of his woodland between him and these plants. I am not sure if the drift came from his herbicides or if someone south of both his place and ours might have been out with herbicides that day. One of these years it will get to the point that I only can grow tomatoes safely in the sunroom or greenhouse, but both of those would involve having to mitigate a lot of heat.

    That's my full garden report.

    Oh, and for lunch I ate Black Krim tomatoes. I can't remember if I mentioned that earlier. Notwithstanding the fact that excess rainfall waters down the flavor, they still tasted pretty good.

  • hazelinok

    Your garden sounds beautiful, Dawn.

    Are you growing okra, melons, cucumbers, or southern peas this year?

    I (again) harvested asparagus and strawberries. That has become a daily thing. And the Juliet tomatoes.

    I have fruit on the Sungolds, Lime Green Salad (I think that's the name), and one of the two Early Girls. Are Jet Star and Supersonic later to set fruit? My friend gave me a Cherokee Purple (it has blossoms now) and a Brandywine. It doesn't look great suddenly. Also, the Heidi that Bruce gave me looks sick! And this just happened. It was fine two days ago. Both of those are planted away from the other tomatoes--wherever I could find a spot. The Heidi is actually in a large SmartPot.

    There was something nasty and very weird on the strawberry patch. I'll come back with a picture. (It's on my phone and I'm on the laptop). It's bizarre. And gross. Looks like vomit almost.

    The jalapenos have little fruits. The sweet peppers still look bad. I fertilized them this afternoon. Maybe they'll bounce back. I started 12 more peppers seeds and they've germinated.

    I found a little worm/caterpillar on an okra seedling. Something has been chewing on them...maybe this guy and his friends.

    My garden looks okay. Not great, but okay. It's still so enjoyable though.

    I do want to start watermelon in pots so they'll have some size when I pull out the onions in a month or so. As soon as I have time, I'll put in the Seminole seed. And the southern peas. I was going to go to Vegfest, but I think it's a "mini" one and they're not having all the stuff, so maybe I'll stay home on Saturday and plant seeds instead. Also, I was going to tend Dale and Carrie's garden and care for their pets while they are in Florida, but they have someone else coming in.

    The flowers look nice and I have a lot of stuff coming up from the packet-of-flower seeds/bulbs-that-I-didn't-order-on-purpose. I'm excited to see what they all are.

    So many projects. Can't wait to complete some of them.

    Two days and no hens have escaped. And Stormy is broody again. I would just let her sit on her eggs, but I am leaving on the 12th and don't want to leave Tom to deal with it.

  • slowpoke_gardener

    I weeded some in the north garden, then went around the house to check to see if the PEPH and Texas Bigboy peas have sprouted in the south garden, the had not sprouted, but the deer had beat me to checking the garden. They seem to know when I plant something they might like. Its not like they are hungry, with all the rain we have had the woods and fields look like a jungle.

    I have planted over 15# of Red Ripper peas for the deer in their garden, they really should be over there weeding their own garden.

  • Patti Johnston

    Dawn, several Plant Swaps ago you gave me some comfrey. I planted them under my cherry trees. They are doing great! Question: when do you cut them down for mulch? I’m afraid I’ve let mine too long. They are blooming and the few bees I have love the blooms. Should I be heartless and cut them down now to get another crop of mulch or let them go?

    Thanks, Patti Johnston

  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7

    Jennifer, I was supposed to be growing okra, southern peas, melons, cucumbers, winter squash, summer squash and gourds in the back garden but the constant Spring rain ruined that plan after the front garden was mostly filled with other plantings, leaving me little to no space to squeeze them in. Well, really the tomatoes were to be in the back garden too, but the muddy quagmire made that impossible too, so the tomatoes ended up in the front garden, leaving even less space for anything else. When I moved them there, I just figured the back garden would dry out eventually, and it is beginning to, but it is such a weedy mess, since weeds will grow in heavy mud, that I really don't even want to tackle planting back there this late. My fear is that our rain will suddenly stop and I'll have a huge back garden filled with young plants that will need a lot of water. The rain has largely dried up here, though the lower end of the front garden still is very wet. The upper portions of the front garden have dried out enough that the soil is fairly workable but not so dry that I have to water anything, except for newly transplanted seedlings. So, I have half the garden I planned, and the heat has arrived here. We've been in the upper 80s all week and are expected to hit 88-90 degrees today.

    So far, I have squeezed okra into the front garden, taking out the sugar snap peas (they are burning up in our near-90s high temperatures) just yesterday and replacing them with Jambalaya okra plants that I had growing in red Solo cups. I have a couple of summer squash plants, and cannot figure out how to squeeze in winter squash plants unless something dies unexpectedly and opens up a space for them. After I dig the potatoes, that will open up a 4' x 10' raised bed, so I guess I will put southern peas there. I still don't really have a place to plant any melons or cucumbers. In some years I have grown both of them on the garden fence, using it as a trellis, but with the way herbicide drift keeps hitting the front garden, anything on the fence is first in the line of fire so I sort of hate to plant anything there at all. At least if I have random flowers along the fence line, they seem, for the most part, to be more resilient and to bounce back from getting herbicide drift damage. I could plant melons and cucumbers along the northern fence line, but that's the lower end of our strongly sloping garden (sitting several feet lower than the upper end) and it still is very wet down there. The plants I have there now (Heidi tomato plants and some herbs) are producing but the plants are too waterlogged and look horrible and I am sort of amazed they still are alive. I don't think melons or cukes would fare well down there this year unless we dry out a lot. With potentially heavy rain in the Sunday forecast, drying out might not happen. I have grown cucumbers on the north garden fence before, but not in recent years---the woodland has moved across the 10 feet of open space that used to serve as a buffer between the woodland and the garden and now trees and vines are trying to grow right up to and through that fence line, making that fence line a bit shady. We lost control of that open buffer space in 2010 when we got almost 80" of rain and all the woodland plants went crazy and exploded into growth. We need to spend time this winter clearing it out. We can't do it now because of the risk of dropping a tree on the garden fence. We'll have to wait for the off-season when it wouldn't matter so much if the fence was destroyed. Well, it would matter, because we'd have to rebuild the fence, but there wouldn't be garden plants exposed to deer in winter if the fence was damaged like there would be right now.

    I do have about a 20' row of bush beans in the same bed as the okra. Those are just now starting to bloom, so they'll likely be producing throughout June, depending on how soon we hit the mid-90s, which tends to shut down bean production. I might be able to replace the bush beans with southern peas if we don't keep getting too much rain. I think late June would be pretty late to plant melons or winter squash though and it only would be possible anyway if we dry out some. When I transplanted the okra after taking out the sad-looking sugar snap pea plants, I found the soil there was still really, really wet. Thus, it seems like melons those probably will come from the Farmer's Market this summer. We can get really good locally-grown melons here, if anyone was able to get them planted this year. A lot of the good melon-growing areas here are on lower-lying ground near the river. I don't think they've been flooded, but they may have been too wet at planting time.

    It just isn't an ideal situation at all this year. I probably should have planted only half as many tomato plants as I had planned, reserving one of the two large raised beds currently filled with tomato plants for non-tomatoes, but I didn't. I have contemplated taking all the tomato plants out of one raised bed fairly early, as soon as I finish harvesting their first big round of fruit, just to have space for something else. I kinda hate to do that, but then, we're getting a lot more tomatoes than we can eat anyway, so I need to start canning now or the fruit sitting on the counter is going to get overly ripe. I'm not used to having to start canning quite this early. I could take out those two dozen tomato plants in the smaller of the two tomato beds and hardly miss them. I don't know if I will. It is hard to take out plants that are producing. It isn't quite as hard though when you're already overloaded with ripe fruit, so that might help make it easier. Those tomato plants are interplanted with basil, borage, marigolds and other plants that would make planting cucumbers or melons there a real challenge, so I wouldn't gain much by taking them out except I could plant more flowers and herbs there. Really, I am trying to be content with what I do have planted because there's plenty of people in OK and AR with flooded gardens, yards, homes, etc. that really are suffering and losing everything, so having to skip planting a few favorite veggies this year is so very minor by comparison.

    JetStar and Supersonic can be a little late to set fruit, but usually not extremely late. This has been such a weird year weather-wise that nothing would surprise me. With tomatoes, when we have high moisture and high humidity, tomato plants can go downhill overnight. Diseases like bacterial speck, bacterial spot, Septoria Leaf Spot and Early Blight are much worse in years with weather like this. While I usually don't have trouble with the more serious wilt diseases like southern blight or fusarium wilt, they also seem a lot worse in wet, humid years----not in my garden, but just in a lot of people's gardens in general. I would expect we'd see more of those across the state this year than usual. I even have wondered if this might be one of the very rare years we have late blight in OK. Normally we are too warm and mostly too dry for it, but with all the moisture and all the cool weather in May, we may have had a period of time when it could have developed. Hopefully not, though, since it is a totally devastating disease that can completely destroy a tomato planting in just a few days....and there is no cure, nor can you salvage any fruit---they all are infected and rot.

    The weird white stuff on your strawberry plants does look like some form of slime mold, though not necessarily the right color and texture to be dog vomit slime mold, which is a real thing. It is peculiar because slime molds usually grow on the ground, and then they quickly die away as soon as the soil dries out a little. They feed on decaying plant matter in the soil. Slime molds are just unicellular beings that thrive on decaying matter and tend to be short-lived when they do appear, often disappearing within a few days. While it is rare here, you can get slime mold on strawberry plants, on the leaves and even on the fruit. Normally we do not have high-enough moisture or humidity levels to support this sort of slime mold on strawberries, but it looks like your plants do have it growing on them right now. Don't worry, the slime mold is a growth but it is not an infection, so your plants aren't ill or anything---they just have an unwelcome guest temporarily growing on them. If it is dry enough, you might be able to scrape it off the plants. If the plants are mulched, the slime mold likely started growing there since, obviously, your strawberry plants are not decaying plant matter. It would help if the next round of rain would miss your garden so more drying out can occur and the slime mold will just go away on its own.

    I have been finding and killing a lot of armyworms on plants in my garden. Mostly I am finding them while they are very small--maybe a half-inch long at most, so have been able to kill them before they can do too much damage. I have seen other unidentified caterpillars and have left them alone if I don't know what kind they are. I don't want to spray with Bt because I have swallowtails caterpillars all over the place, anywhere that I'm growing parsley, cilantro, dill or fennel for them. I think I have those plants in 4 or 5 different locations and it is a deliberate choice to spread them around so that the songbirds won't be able to find and eat the swallowtail cats as easily.

    Larry, Your deer are smart---checking to see if some of their favorites have sprouted yet. We are seeing the deer a lot more often too. Sometimes they walk right by the garden fence while I'm in the garden. I have a feeling that if I were not in the garden, they might walk right in through the gate (they've done it before) and help themselves to whatever they are craving. I have no really good explanation why the deer are checking out the yard and garden as much as they are lately, and I've been wondering why I am seeing them so much. I suppose I could blame it a little bit on the river being so high--it is running only about 3 feet below flood stage--but the river bottom lands frequented by the deer aren't even under water, so why more of them are up here on higher ground this last month or two is something I really don't understand. There's plentiful native food for them as we certainly are not in drought. I'm having the same issue with the wild turkeys. The dogs will start barking like mad and I'll know there's wild turkeys in the front yard. They stroll right down the driveway from out west behind the barn, which is the area they always come from and return to, walk down the middle of the driveway a couple hundred feet to the front garden and then either slip off into the woodland adjacent to the garden or turn around and walk back up the driveway like they own the place. I put out cracked corn and a little hen scratch for them west of the barn each morning and they have become quite spoiled. Often, when I walk out the back door, the wild turkeys are waiting for me at their feeding spot. They take off into the back pasture as soon as they see me, but they don't go far. They just stand in the tall grass watching me, and come back to eat as soon as I had back towards the house. We've never had as many wild turkeys before as we've had this year. I see them in flocks of as many as 7 or 8 at one time. Some come from our woodland, and undoubtedly are living in it or the nearby pasture or both, and others come from our neighbors' pasture and woodland area. I hear them all day long, so I know they are around even when I'm not seeing them. Our neighbor who used to hunt them passed away a couple of months ago and I didn't hear his kids or grandkids back there hunting during the spring turkey season---undoubtedly they were occupied with other things. So, maybe we're just seeing more because they feel like they're in a safer spot with that property behind us currently unoccupied.

    Patti, I just cut them any old time. Like you, I hate cutting them down while the bees are visiting them so much, so I usually wait until they get so big that they are flopping over on the ground, which is happening now. I haven't cut mine yet, but will do so soon. You can cut them back pretty much any time you want, and you can cut them back as hard as you want. I have cut them back almost to the ground some years. They regrow like crazy and are big again in the blink of an eye. Often, I cut back half of them, leaving the other half for the bees. Then, when the ones I cut are about ready to bloom again, I'll cut back the other half. It doesn't matter though. You can cut them all at one time. When I've done that, the bees just switch to other flowering plants until the comfrey comes back into bloom.

    I worked in the garden longer on Friday than I have in a long time...from around 7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. I weeded, weeded, weeded seemingly all day long, but also was able to get quite a lot of herbs and flowers tucked into little places here and there in the beds. I finally feel like I made a lot of progress with the weeds---not nearly enough, but enough that it gives me hope that I'll have weed-free beds in another week or two. Not that they will stay weed-free, but they do look a lot better now with all those sprouting weeds pulled out. It takes me so long to weed such a large garden though that if I start at the highest raised bed at the south end of the garden, then by the time I work my way down through the rest of the garden, from south to north, and eventually get back to the first bed, it has new weeds sprouting and the whole weeding cycle starts over again. I need to do some more mulching in the trouble spots. With all this rain, the whole garden seems to be a weedy trouble spot and I don't have enough mulch for the whole thing.

    With potentially heavy rain in the forecast for Sunday, I'm going to skip grocery shopping and running errands today if I can and spend as much time as possible in the garden again today, or at least until it gets too hot to stay out there. I probably stayed out in the heat too long yesterday and I know I didn't drink enough fluids, but I really tried to stay hydrated. I can grocery shop and run errands on a rainy day. I need to spend the sunny day in the garden. I was amazed at how many small armyworms I found and killed. I've been killing them for weeks, and more just keep coming. Their name suits them. I wasn't even looking for them....just killing them as I came across them. Often they were on small weeds that I was pulling, or on plants near the weeds....a reminder that we try to keep our gardens weed-free for just this reason....to give the pests fewer places to hide. I don't mind looking at weeds in the garden that much, but I don't like knowing the weeds are providing a home for pests that I don't want in the garden in the first place.

    Speaking of pests, I've been finding and killing a lot of green stink bugs lately, and I'm finding them in about the 4th instar stage. I don't know why I don't find them younger than that. Perhaps they're hatching and growing outside the garden and don't move into it until they're at the 4th instar. I never see their eggs either, or the newly hatched nymphs. Regardless, so far I'm seeing a lot more green stink bugs than brown stink bugs. I've hardly seen any squash bugs at all and when I do see them, they are sitting on non-squash plants looking confused, perhaps because the squash plants are under micromesh netting and they cannot get to them. So far I think I have been successful at killing every squash bug I've found. One advantage to not having many cucurbit crops this Spring is that the squash bugs cannot find anything to eat. Yay! I found a leaf-footed bug inside my garden shed and killed it. I haven't seen many of them yet, and I am glad, as they are quick to fly away when you spot them. I mostly just watch for them on the tomato plants. Right now it is likely they're feeding more on tree fruit. Speaking of tree fruit, the first sand plums are beginning to ripen now and I need to start picking them so I can make some jelly. I'm really sort of surprised we have any at all because we had multiple late freezes after they bloomed that I figured would have killed all the fruit. The freezes killed a lot of the fruit, but apparently not all of it.

    Have a great day everyone, and Happy June! The heat is arriving right on schedule, unfortunately.


  • Rebecca (7a)

    I feel like I’ve had a full day, and it’s only 2:00. I met a friend at Cherry Street Market at 8, loaded up on veggies and had breakfast. Stopped at Lowe’s, at work, Stringers, and the grocery store. Then home for lunch and an hour outside. And a shower.

    I finally am almost done planting my SF plants! Most of them were very potbound. I came home with more plants today. I’ve lost a lot to the rain, so I’m having to replace some things. I bought a pink foxglove, 2 portaluca, a 6 pack of red salvia, and some purple gomphrena. Planted those and a few other things I had started - a few zinnias, a nicotiana, mixed morning glories, and a couple more tithonia. Also hid a tomato plant among the lilies on the south side of the house. We will see how that goes. The direct seeded zinnias are starting to pop up, but the bush beans I put in Tuesday haven’t appeared yet. I scattered around some plant tone and Sluggo too.

    Has anyone grown Diva cucumbers? I’ve seeded them 3 times, and nothing is coming up. At the same time, County Fair has 3 up, and 2 Telegraph. None of them are very happy, but they’re up. I was really looking forward to trying the Diva, but I don’t know if it’s the rain or the seeds that are the problem. It’s hard to be too wet for cucumbers, and the pots seem to be draining well. I’m going to try my last few seeds tomorrow, and if they don’t come up, I’m going back to my General Lee and whatever else I have left in the box. Maybe I’ll pre-sprout the last few DIva seeds.

    After talking to the gang at Stringers, I don’t feel bad about my slow garden. Everyone’s garden is just sitting around in the rain sulking.

    I have compost now, so I can start the rest of the bush beans, and the first squash.

    One potato bag looks like it’s starting to die back, so I dug around it and got a couple nice potatoes to go with dinner tonight. They haven’t bloomed yet, but in about 2 weeks it’ll be 90 days in the ground. I can’t tell if they’re dying back due to excessive water or being mature. I could really use some of the bags they’re in for squash.

    My mom is going to Fort Worth this week, to help ferry my nephew back and forth to a law enforcement camp he’s doing with the police department. He’s really interested in it as a career, and he needs something cool like this right now. He’s had some bullying issues at school, and the school has been far less than helpful about it.

    In the meantime, my rheumatologist is trying to get me approved for a new lupus treatment. They’re sending off all the records and blood test results to my insurance this week, and to the manufacturer financial aid program. Fingers crossed. The fatigue, brain fog, and pain sometimes gets disabling. The iron infusions I had this past week should help too.

  • Nancy RW (zone 7)

    Rebecca, hope so much for approval. Prayers and crossed fingers for you. I am so bummed you have these problems. I am sure I wouldn't handle them as well as you do. Blessings.

    How old is your nephew? How long's the camp? What a great opportunity for him, right?

    Absolutely spot on about so many having problems with the gardens. I know two folks within half a mile of me who garden. We're all luckier than so many of you, and I'm luckier than those two, since our vegetables are all in raised beds. I mowed the yard today. . . it's still pretty damp in the southeast corner (which DOES get squishy with 3 inches or more of rain. . . but it's what, 3 days later and I was able to mow. And it was perfect weeding this morning.

    Dawn, if I spent from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the garden --well I couldn't because I'd be dead after the first 7 hours. I was almost dead after weeding for 2 hours and then mowing the entire yard. We have an enormous side yard on the north end of the property. (North of the shop.) I mow the front third of it every week, but only mow the back two thirds every 2nd or 3rd week. It's rocky in back and the green tundra grass (that's what I call it) doesn't grow very fast.

    I got a kick out of you tucking things in here and there, and that's what I'm doing. I have a fun raised bed between the onion bed and the potato bed that has bolting spinach and pak choi, some peppers, lime basil, Gaya melon at the other end, a couple okra plants, some bush beans, and your Indian stripe tomato (which looks fabulous). Everything looks great; well, the pepper plants are a little slow this year, but all look good, nonetheless.

    I have a question. I thought four o'clocks would be blooming by now. They are eNORmous. I saw one little red bloom this afternoon. NE folks--are yours blooming yet?

    And bee balm is just fixing to bloom. . . Probably in the next day or two. Everything seems a little bit slow. Hydrangeas certainly were, and they are very pink, but they look great. Still not fully turned pink. On the other hand, I have two tubs on the deck with nasturtiums that are huge, too, so obviously it hasn't been hot hot hot here. I'm liking it.

    The black hollyhocks are kind of cool, but wish I had a color that popped more. Won't do THAT again. I think the other one in that flower sun bed is not black, though. Not sure what color it will be. The monster hosta is getting bigger and bigger. I love it--and I LOVE yucca blooms! We have 3 of six yuccas blooming. They're so pretty!

    I saw a grisly murder today in the hollyhock bed. Some bug had a little ladybug in its grip. It kinda looked like a spider. . . it wasn't though. . . and it wasn't a lot bigger than the ladybug. I quit looking.

    Okay outta here. GDW and I have to go have hamburgers at our favorite place in town. I'll have to finish later.

  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7

    Rebecca, I have grown Diva several times. I don't remember any particular problem with getting it to sprout. Maybe you got a batch of inferior seeds? Or, could it be all the moisture y'all have had?

    My potatoes are in the same shape yours are in. It is hard to know if they are done, or just sulking because we had received so much rain over the last few months. I haven't dug them yet, but I might as well because I do think they are dying back regardless of the reason.

    I hope your nephew has a great week at the camp. It is flooding in some parts of Fort Worth tonight, though the areas I read about are nowhere near your sister's community. They merely had a whole lot of rain fall in some areas in a very short time frame.

    I hope you get approved for the new lupus treatment. Maybe it will help.


    I was pretty much dead. I still am. lol. I simply had to do it. We have been so wet until the last couple of weeks, and now we're getting too dry. So, when that measly 3/10s of an inch of rain we got a few days ago softened up the soil enough to make pulling weeds easy, I had to do all the weeding I could. I didn't just weed---I pruned, deadheaded, planted and mulched too.

    I intended to repeat all that today, but remember, I'm dead from doing it yesterday, so I only lasted 3 hours out there today. In my own defense, before noon we already had hit 88 degrees at our house and the heat index was 93, so I was just dying out there. My body certainly isn't acclimated to that kind of heat yet. I came inside just to sit in the air conditioning and cool off a little bit, but then I absolutely, positively could not make myself go back out there, so I gave up and called it a day.

    My four o'clocks aren't blooming yet either. Partly they're dealing with issues of being shaded out by the big mimosa tree that sits west of the garden fence, between the garden and the larger pecan tree, and I cannot take out the mimosa because the hummingbirds and swallowtails love it and because it shades my shed from noon onward. Partly they seem like they've put all their energy into tons of foliage, as some of them are at least 4' tall if not taller. I am sure they'll bloom soon, but maybe not for another couple of weeks. I really think mine no longer get enough sun. Let's just blame it on the weather because we've had a lot more cloudy days than sunny ones.

    I hope the burgers were good!

    Because it got so hot so early, after I gave up on getting any more work done outdoors, we went to the grocery store, ran all the errands, came back home and got all the animals inside, including the chickens who do not like to go up into their coop until sunset, because a storm was coming. It was a full day, but then we were indoors and done with everything by 5 p.m. so I felt like we got a lot done today.

    My garden is strange. We were so wet from September until about 2 weeks ago that everything just stayed off-color, stunted, stalled in growth, pathetic light yellowish-green color, you name it....except for this one thing. All the flowers are blooming like mad, and the tomatoes are producing like crazy despite being absolutely the saddest most pathetic-looking plants ever. I guess it is a good thing that the flowers and the fruit are doing so well because all the foliage is sparse and sick-looking and sad. I'm worried the tomato fruit will sunscald because the foliage just isn't there, and I don't know how plants with such skimpy foliage are producing so much fruit. I feel like I need to feed the plants some nitrogen, but then with rain in the forecast for every day and every night (more about that in a second), it seems pointless to feed anything right now. Any fertilizer I add either won't be taken up by waterlogged roots or will leach away if we get heavy rainfall. Since it didn't rain tonight, if it isn't raining in the morning, I may feed them with Neptune's Harvest or fish emulsion or something tomorrow morning, if it isn't raining in the morning. Maybe they'll have time to suck up the liquid fertilizer before rain finds us.

    I planted the last of the herbs today, so there's no herbs-in-waiting any more. I planted a flat of celosia plumosa. I'm getting all the little nooks and crannies filled in all the beds, but it was so hot, even at 9 a.m., that even though I transplanted plants from red Solo cups that had nice (but not root-bound) root systems, everything wilted the minute I put it in the ground. Instead of waiting and watering a bed when I was through transplanting the new plants into it, I had to water each plant right away. Yesterday was the same. It is hard to plant late when the weather has gone from cool to hot almost overnight and the plants are not enthused about it one bit.

    Why isn't it raining at my house? It got all stormy looking this evening. The wind blew. We had thunder. We had lightning. We had wind. It rained so hard to our north in town (Marietta) that water was running through the streets like a river, which was a bit of a problem because this is our annual festival, Frontier Days, and there traditionally is a street dance on Saturday evening. How do you dance in the water?

    It rained so hard to our south, with such fierce winds, that trees and power lines came down in Gainesville and elsewhere, I-35 flash flooded north of Denton and they had to close down the interstate in both directions. I saw a video of someone kayaking down a road in Sanger, for Pete's sake. It flooded at least in some parts in my hometown of Fort Worth. Apparently getting 2-4" of rain in a very short time frame causes that.

    At our place? A brief moment of rain that, at most, might have added up to 1/100th or possibly 2/100ths of an inch of rain. I had to go out and water the plants in containers because they couldn't wait any longer for the rain and it was obvious the rain had missed us.

    The rain has been missing us consistently for a couple of weeks now. Either we get none at all or we get just a small amount, no matter how much falIs elsewhere in the county. I didn't think the rain would miss us today. Oh wait. It is June. June is summer. We don't get rain here in summer. Never mind. I understand the problem now, but that doesn't mean I like it.

    Seriously, after a couple of weeks of the rain mostly missing us, some plants (generally the smaller ones) look a little thirsty, I'm having to water the container plants twice a day, and our mud puddles have dried up. I don't miss the mud, but the plants are missing the rain.

    The QPF promises a lot of rain over the next 7 days. I believe that will happen in some places. I'm not so sure it will happen here. Our local TV met said tonight that we'll get it on Wed-Thurs. We'll see, I guess.


  • Nancy RW (zone 7)

    Haha re almost dead.

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