July 2020, Week 5....and Hello, August

Today we start the final week of July and see our first glimpse of August at the end of the week.

What's happening in your yard and garden this week?

Here at our place it is just hot and dry, hot and dry, hot and dry. Our last real rainfall was July 2nd, and that moisture is pretty much long gone by this point.

I continue watering the new plantings and the containers by hand, and we continue harvesting veggies. The flowers are in good shape, all things considered, and the zinnias and cosmos are putting on a good show of flowers while remaining pretty healthy. With no rain falling, the zinnias haven't had any disease issues, so at least there's that. I let all the volunteer flowers that popped up in the pathways stay there this year, so the pathways are filled with zinnias, cosmos and salvia plants that are doing pretty well considering they are growing in about 3" of mulch on top of landscape fabric. Every now and then I pull one or two of them out to keep enough of a pathway open in the path that I actually can walk without stepping on plants, and so far they are just growing in the mulch---none of them have put roots down through the landscape fabric. It is surprising how well they are growing despite having shallow roots.

Almost the host plants for the swallowtails are in bloom now, with the fennel and dill plants all blooming, and some of the parsley. Only one parsley plant is not blooming, and it was the last one that I planted. A few daylilies have their last scapes of blooms now, having bloomed later into the summer than usual, and I haven't even done all that good of a job of deadheading them.

Pests still are pretty scarce here. I have seen robber flies sitting on plants waiting for prey to come along, which is unusual. I hope we have enough to keep them fed. I'm still not seeing any squash pests or cucumber beetles (not that I am complaining), no leaf-footed bugs, no aphids and not many stink bugs at all. There's a few grasshoppers, but not many, and a lot of young crickets, but more so out in the grass than in the garden, which is the opposite of how it usually goes. There are lots and lots of song birds so undoubtedly they are helping control pests as the birds often are in the garden. The longer my garden goes without having pesticides sprayed in it, the better it gets. Sometimes it is hard to trust the process, but trusting the beneficial insects to take care of the bad guys does pay off.

The garden is getting sort of weedy, but I have to be really careful about weeding in this heat because of the risk of timber rattlers coming out of the woodland adjacent to the garden, so I'm mostly ignoring the weeds unless they are on the edges of the beds along the lumber framing of the beds and I can see clearly there's no snakes lurking beneath those. In cases like that I do yank out the weeds here and there.

We aren't having to mow the lawn because it isn't growing after going most of this month with no rainfall.

Some of you have a fair to middling chance of rainfall this week. If so, I hope you get it!

Have a good week everyone, and check in here and tell us how your plants are doing.

August arrives on Saturday, and the good thing about that is that it means Autumn and better weather is getting closer every day.


Comments (42)

  • jlhart76
    8 days ago

    Pic on the left is something I've been growing for 3 years, trying to figure out what it is. It got about 3ft tall but no blooms. A few weeks ago I had a 'discussion' with it that either it blooms or I'm pulling it. Well, now it's blooming! Anyone have a clue what it could be? The yellow flower is the bloom.

    Pics on the right are 4:00s & zinnia. I have zins randomly scattered around & they bring a nice splash of color among the greenery.

    And my best performing tomato is one growing just outside my bed. It has maybe a dozen cherry size tomatoes on it, while the rest have nothing. Maybe I should have the 'discussion' I had with my mystery plant.

    Best Answer
  • Larry Peugh
    8 days ago

    Everything I have needs water. The only water it gets is from a hand-held hose, and not a lot of that.

    I forgot to turn on my fence last night and the deer got in my sweet potatoes. When I went across the highway yesterday eve to turn on the fence over in the wildlife garden, a doe came out about 30 40 yards and watched me," I have to hook the fence charger into the 12 volt system on the tractor." I guess she thought, " well, no pumpkins tonight, looks like we will have to eat sweet potatoes, peas, and cantaloupe for dessert",

    I just cant seem to get caught up. I am trying to replace some sub-flooring today. I have 3 tractors that need repaired, only one will run now. If I cant keep a tractor running, I am pretty well dead in the water. I have been driving the truck more, and riding the mower, but they wont replace a tractor.

  • hazelinok
    8 days ago

    Dawn, you have chances of rain too, right? We are supposed to get between 1 and 2 inches but I'm not counting on anything...hopeful, but not expecting it.

    Larry, sorry about your sweet potatoes. I'm never caught up either. Maybe that's just the way it is when you garden. There's always something to do. Too much to do usually.

    I've about had it with squash of all types. Then I started thinking about why last year was so good with the Seminole. It's possible it is because I grew zero squash for the 2 years prior to last year. Maybe that gave me fewer squash pests last year? There were squash bugs, but the Seminole outgrew any damage they may have done...not that I saw much damage.

    This year is completely different. Oh, we've had good harvests of squash, but I'm so very tired of the pests. I managed to kill a SVB moth as it was sitting on a butternut leaf this morning. I saved it for HU to see.

    SO...all of that to say that maybe I'll do an every third year with squash. Except maybe a few plants (possibly bush varieties or the self pollinator ones) under a netting of some sort. But, all other squash only every 3rd year.

    Larry mentioned sweet potatoes...Hmmm....maybe instead of winter squash on those "non squash years", I could do sweet potatoes. I often interchange the two in recipes.

    The garden is tired and dry but looks okay, I guess I'll need to water stuff tonight. It's been a productive beast so I cannot complain. When your pantry is full of produce as well as your freezer...what's there really to complain about, right?

    Except I do want to complain about squash pests and lack of rain.

    Jen, I don't know what your pretty yellow flower is.

    Some of you might have seen my swallowtail caterpillar that I posted on FB OK Garden Network yesterday. I checked it last night and it had the webbing. It is gone this morning. Do you think another insect took it? Or did it move itself? I know nothing about any of that. I'm still confused on how and when it got on my shoe. That was a weird deal. But funny.

    Sad she's gone.

    Does anyone have a zinnia that doesn't get mildew? I love them so much, but they don't stay pretty long.

    Tonight, we are doing some pickling. Bread and butter jalapenos and pickled okra.

    We've also been planning the fall garden. It's time to pull out a few things to prepare for the fall things.

    Our list is: green peas, carrots, spinach, kale, radishes, lettuce, beets, turnips, parsnips, shelling beans, and possibly more collards and swiss chard. Several varieties of some of those.

    Hoping everyone gets a good soaking this week. That would be a real blessing.

  • Nancy RW (zone 7)
    7 days ago

    This is a beauty, isn't it? But I don't know what it is! It's one of the school plants. I have labels on them all, but they're so thick in that bed, can't get to the bottom to find the label. I've been googling striped tomatoes and don't recall planting ANY of the ones I've found. I have them on my spreadsheet, but the spreadsheet is on the big computer, not my laptop. Ah. Just logged into Office online. It HAS to be Speckled Roman. This angle doesn't show, but it IS longer, not round. Many of the tomatoes on that bush had the BER. Hopefully, it has gotten over it now.

    Nothing got done today. We had company from noon to 3:30. It's so weedy in the beds now, and the lawn needs mowed. Well not gonna get done today. Maybe first thing tomorrow I can jump up and get busy. So far behind here.

    Jen--I'm guessing that's one of the new fancy varieties of echinacea. Just a guess. Others might know for sure.

  • Rebecca (7a)
    7 days ago

    I watered today, so if we get rain, you can thank me.

    Finally, brought in 10 tomatoes with no BER. Flowering has definitely slowed, but maybe next weeks cooler temperatures will help. New fall tomatoes doing well so far.

    My June planted bush beans are hanging on and starting to bloom. But they look kinda pathetic.

    okra storage question. With only 2 plants, it’s taking a bit to save up enough pods for a meal. How long do they keep in the fridge, or can I just throw them straight in the freezer? I had 4 plants, but this is all that survived. I also know what will be done differently next year.

    Starting to plan fall garden too. Summer can suck it.

  • Larry Peugh
    7 days ago

    Jennifer, thanks for the concern over my sweet potatoes, but as it turned out the deer getting into them may have been a good thing. I had been wanting to weed them, but did not want to wade out into the vines because I did not want to press them down, but since the deer had already done that, I went ahead and weeded them, finding that they were very, very dry. I also found that I have some sweet potatoes that are big enough to eat now, and I still have 2 months of growing season left. Now I have to worry about gophers and rats. I will have to start watering them also. I have been watering them a little, but not enough.

    I have zinnia I will send you. I have not notices any problem with them, except they are very dry. The ones I planted in the garden look good, but they get watered. I am not sure, but I think they are California giant. I have over a pound that I did not get to plant this year. Let me know if you would like to give these a try.

  • HU-422368488
    7 days ago

    okra can keep in the frig for a week or so. You can throw them in the freezer too if you want.


  • AmyinOwasso/zone 6b
    7 days ago
    last modified: 7 days ago

    Okra can be "oven blanched" too for longer freezing. I do mine for like 5 min at 350*. Ron brought home some okra from work. OMG! I've gotten at least some okra the last few years, but the flavor of this one was exceptional. I think, from it's appearance it is green velvet, or emerald velvet. I grew it early on, and liked it, but I've been trying other things. Next year I will be growing that.

    Had to do some driving Friday. Hadn't driven in a long time. Made my knee hurt. Saturday was daughter's baby shower, in Glenpool. Another couple of hours in the car. Then Bartlesville yesterday. I'm worn out with that much activity.

    I got the echo to Dad. I made it work, only they have it situated so all you can see is the ceiling. Someone from the retirement center is supposed to go by today and plug things in properly and move it to a shelf by his chair. There was poor audio yesterday. I think it might have been my sister's tablet interfering. I hope. Lost the internet entirely for a few minutes while setting it up, don't know how often that happens. They had plastic screens set up in their lobby and 2 visitors were allowed per resident in these screened areas. (NOT what I was told on the phone.) I think my dad enjoyed being out of the apartment. We had to have our temperatures taken and say we weren't having symptoms in order to get in. Of course everyone wore masks.

    It's thinking about raining. There's a little line over us now, but no water yet. I watered pool row yesterday morning, but I didn't water anything last night. I want enough that I don't have to water pots.

    Have good week!

  • hazelinok
    7 days ago

    Welp, it's pouring at work (south OKC). Ethan is at home and says it's not there.

    Told him to bring in the dogs anyway just in case. We'll see if we get any. We're often a dome of no rain at our neighborhood.

    Thanks, Larry! I'll send my address through FB messenger. I would love to try out some of those zinnias.

    We have jars of pickled okra and bread and butter jalapenos now--HU and I. Not a lot, but a start.

    The burgundy okra left the brine with a pink tint. Sort of pretty.

    Amy, how is the velvet okra different?

    Rebecca, are you feeling better? What are you planning for your fall garden?

    That's a pretty tomato, Nancy.

    I want to go home, but do not want to walk to my car in the rain in these shoes.

  • AmyinOwasso/zone 6b
    7 days ago

    The okra I grew was Green Velvet or Emerald Green velvet. You know how okra pods are kind of spikey? These aren't and they feel like velvet. The ones I grew were not woody even if you let them grow a little long. They aren't as productive as Stewart's Zeebest or Heavyhitter. But, then, too, it was in my early days and I think the first year they were in pots, so any harvest is remarkable. Now, maybe it's because these were my first homegrown FRESH okra this year but the flavor was SOO good. Sometimes the others just don't have the same okra taste. These were also flawless pods, no spots or anything. (Probably means they weren't organic.) But I remember what I grew making very "pretty" pods. These picked young could certainly be enjoyed raw.

  • farmgardener
    6 days ago
    last modified: 6 days ago


    I posted this in last weeks link so had to copy and move - so forgive me if you see it twice Houzz seems to continually confuse me 🙄
    1 hour ago1 3/10” rain and 73 degrees - unheard of last part of July. Hoping a few cooler days and this blessed moisture will allow my tomatoes to set a few blooms. While the rest of you are tired of tomatoes I’ve only had 3 so far, not counting a handful of cherries. I pulled out the green beans this morning, not sure what to plant back there. Getting a small mess of PEPH peas every other day and still enough squash and okra.I need to make refrigerator pickles this week. I wish I liked plain cucumbers, but not happening 😁Larry, I feel your pain - the rabbits ate all my sweet potatoes back to about 1-2” last night. Not sure which I despise more -squirrels or rabbits! We have deer around but the dog keeps them out mostly. He’s getting older and sleeps in the garage at night and he lies in the hall during the heat of the day. He’s a farm dog, never liked being in the house until this year and he’s decided the cool tile feels pretty good. Last week I shot a skunk I figure was rabid, it was walking with head almost on the ground and wobbling around - then smelled one near the chicken house this morning. I only have 3 guineas left. Trying to decide if I want to buy more chicks or guineas or just turn the chicken house into a small greenhouse and buy eggs. Between the coyotes and hawks and owls it seems a losing battle. Like the rest of you I’m hoping for a fall garden. Hope the rest of you get some rain and cooler temperatures even for a short time.

    The hummingbirds are thick today, not sure if it’s the rain or the cooler temps.

    Also have noticed too many grasshoppers showing up the last few days. From 1” to 5”, I hate seeing them. News said they are really terrible out in west part of state.

  • hazelinok
    6 days ago

    Amy, thanks! I want to try those next year.

    Is everyone getting rain?

  • jlhart76
    6 days ago

    Farmgardener, I've had 4 -- FOUR -- cherry tomatoes this year. I have a small handful growing, and one on another plant that may be a medium sized fruit. The only plant doing anything right now is a volunteer from last year that I didn't have the heart to pull back in March when I saw it growing in the walkway. Now I'm glad I didn't!

  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7
    Original Author
    6 days ago

    Jen, I don't recognize your yellow flower. Maybe something in the silphium family...like cup plant or one of its relatives.

    Larry, I haven't gotten caught up on one single thing this year. My garden's nickname is Weeds R Us.

    Jennifer, Supposedly we have a good chance of rain tonight and tomorrow, so we're still waiting to see if the forecast pans out. Lately they are as wrong as can be with our forecasts, including being off by several degrees on forecast highs and on max heat indices, so I've pretty much lost faith in anything they say. No rain here of any substance since July 2nd, so we're getting beyond dry, and I hope they are right and we get some tonight or tomorrow. I cannot even tell you how many days this summer we have watched rain progress southward through the state all day long expecting it to arrive here in the overnight hours only to have it just evaporate and disappear when it gets near us, or go west of us or east of us or anywhere but here. Or, we get dry thunderstorms with plenty of wind, thunder and lightning but no rain. It is so dry the Bermuda grass is brown. I keep hoping it will die, but y'all know that no Bermuda grass ever has died right?

    Every now and then I take off a year from squash, and do have substantially fewer pests the following year.

    Even the zinnias I've purchased that are disease-tolerant will get mildew some years. Mine don't have any this year, but I think it is the luck of the draw, and also the fact we've gone about 3.5 weeks without rain. As long as they stay dry, they are pretty disease-free. As long as it stays as dry as it has been lately, all of my garden is pretty much disease-free. Let a little rain fall at this time of the year and that can change quickly.

    Nancy, That is the oddest Speckled Roman I've ever seen. Most of mine get to about 6-8" long and are very much an oblong shape with a pointy blossom end. Yours looks so much more round than any I've ever seen in person before. I have seen some fairly rounded ones in photos, though, so I know the plants can throw off some odd shapes and yours must be doing that.

    Rebecca, You can hold okra quite a while like HU said, or can freeze it. It will be tasty either way.

    Are you feeling better? I hope that you are.

    Amy, I like Stewart's Zeebest for its productivity, and it was originally selected from a planting of Louisiana Green Velvet and reselected and refined annually---the Stewart's were selecting for flavor and branching ability, and I guess that is how they ended up with some monster plants.

    farmgardener, That rain must have been awesome! I'm so glad you got it.

    Skunk issues are the worst, and we often have rabid ones out wandering around in the daytime. One day I was out walking a dog quite a long ways from home---about a mile away. A friend blew by me in her vehicle at a high rate of speed, went home and came racing back---she had seen a skunk out further down the road, between me and our house, and she wanted to shoot it before I encountered it on the way back home. Now that is a true friend, and I don't know what I would have done without her because it is likely the skunk would have come after the dog and I, and it is a pretty deserted stretch of roadway where the few homes that are there sit hundreds of feet back off the road, so it wasn't like I could run quickly to someone's house to get away from the skunk.

    We are down to our last three chickens and won't replace them once they're gone. We've fought the predators for over 20 years and I'm just done with all that. I've loved our poultry the whole time we've had them, but it is hard to keep losing them to predators, and we have so many predators---just as I am sure you have too many predators too. I'm just not willing to do it any more. We started out this year with 5 and have already lost 2, so I doubt we'll end the year with any. I'll eventually repurpose the chicken coop into a garden shed or something. It is too shaded to turn into a greenhouse.

    Hummingbirds have been thick here for the last week. It is a bit too early for the migration, so I've just assumed the babies have left the nest and are flying around fueling up. We have a ton of trumpet creepers in bloom for them, and lots of flowers they love in the garden, so the visits to the feeders had tapered off until about a week ago, and now they are hot and heavy around the feeders again.

    I've seen some horrible photos as well of grasshoppers and their damage out west and am hoping they stay away from us. So far we've only a few. A ton of babies hatched out 2 or 3 weeks ago but something must be eating them because I'm not seeing them now. The big ones come from the fields to the garden every now and then, but not in large numbers yet--just 1 or 2 here or there.

    Jennifer, Still no rain here, but I haven't lost hope yet. I'll keep hoping for it tonight and tomorrow. It is getting closer to us on the radar, so hope is still alive. If we don't get any rain in the next 24 hours, I guess I'll need to water everything pretty well. I'd been focused only on watering the plants in containers and the perennial plants that I have planted in a raised bed in the garden this summer this is serving as a holding spot for them until we can get the new landscaping beds built. The rest of the garden undoubtedly needs rain or irrigation after the last three hot, dry weeks. Today a turtle, a mid-sized red-eared slider, came to the yard just outside the back door, apparently looking for water. I made him (or her) a large puddle in the driveway. It is getting pretty dry when the turtles start hanging around outside the back door hoping to catch a human with a water hose in their hand. : )

    I didn't do anything outdoors today but focused instead on cleaning the house. Tim came in from work and announced that was hot and muggy outdoors. Gee, I never would have known. (grin) I told him that was why I was indoors--to avoid that heat and mugginess.

    Over the weekend we bought a nice outdoor carpet for the deck we haven't built yet. I wanted to get one while Lowe's still had them. Sooner or later the pressure-treated wood will be back in stock (although probably only in 8' lengths as the stores say they're still getting those, but not the 16' lengths) and we'll be able to find enough lumber to build the deck. In the meantime, the rolled-up carpet will sit there, standing up in the far corner of the mudroom, mocking us and taunting us for thinking we'd be able to build a deck when all of America is cocooning at home and apparently snapping up all the pressure-treated lumber for their projects over the last few months. The lumber shortage cannot last forever.


  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7
    Original Author
    6 days ago

    This morning we awakened to a scant 0.01" of rain in the rain gauge, but there's good storms to our west, at least based on how they look on the radar, and I can hear thunder so hopefully the rain will reach us soon. Even a quarter-inch or half-inch would be better than nothing.

  • hazelinok
    6 days ago

    We've had 1.25 inches. I'll take it. I would like a little more. Not 7 inches that Yukon received, though.

    Dawn, I hope it's coming for you soon! It's just lovely out right now. Lovely in its own way--in the way that it is July and cloudy, damp and 73 degrees!

    I stayed in and cleared out about 3 months of paperwork that has been seriously neglected. If would be a great time to pull weeds, but I probably won't do that today. I'll catch up on laundry instead.

    Maybe I'll make some salsa. Dinner is Mexican Quinoa stew. It's not really stew weather, but it's almost close.

    So...are poblano/ancho hot for y'all? I have grown them one other time and didn't care for them really. They were mild--not hot at all and not that great. However, my calwonders are slow this year so I grabbed a poblano to slice up on my salad for lunch yesterday. It had HEAT. This opens up possibilities. I dried a lot of them LAST time I grew them, but ended up tossing them all a few months ago. They were taking up valuable space in the pantry. But, these have heat and would be used during the year. It might be time to get out the dehydrator.

  • HU-422368488
    6 days ago
    last modified: 6 days ago

    Sometimes the heat of a pepper can vary with the weather, hotter temps hotter peppers (Stressing the plants) . The hotter ,dryer weather we've had lately probably made the Poblanos hotter. Now that it's cooled down and rained , the Poblancos heat might reduce back down.

    I've had Caynenne peppers that didn't have hardly any heat at all.






  • Lynn Dollar
    6 days ago

    Next year, I'm planting fewer tomatoes and gonna add peppers, cilantro, and thinking about maybe garlic. I think some people call it a salsa garden, but mine is gonna be aimed at pico de gallo. We use pico almost daily and when made from home grown tomatoes, wow.

    I've grown bell and banana peppers before, but not the chili peppers. Gonna be a new deal for me.

  • hazelinok
    6 days ago

    I prefer pico de gallo over salsa too, Lynn. Throw a few onions into your garden plan and you'll be good to go!

    Cilantro hates hot weather btw. Why?! Why does it have to hate hot weather?! I have planned for several years on trying to grow it indoors during the summer. But haven't. There's hot weather substitutes for cilantro....and they're okay, but not cilantro.

    Good links, HU.

  • Lynn Dollar
    6 days ago

    I grow about three bunches of Dixondale onions every year, so that won't be a problem.

    I plant my tomatoes about 4 to 5 foot apart with rows spaced 4 foot apart. Can I grow cilantro in between tomato plants ? If it hates hot weather, then it won't be fighting for sun with taller indeterminate tomatos.

    Was wondering the same thing about basil. I think I read somewhere, that basil is a good companion plant to tomato ??? I'm not sure , maybe I was dreaming. It would be a good thing to be able to use that space between tomatoes. Mrs Dollar traded some tomato for basil at her work and we used it this grilled corn recipe .........and wow ! It was good

    Grilled Corn on the Cob with Basil-Parmesan Butter

  • hazelinok
    6 days ago

    Well, in the last hour I have made pico de gallo minus the cilantro. Had some cilantro flakes. Not as good as fresh.

    AND found an herb growing kit that my Mom gave me. It's cilantro. So, I started it and it's sitting on my window sill.

    Lynn, I'm not sure on the putting the cilantro in between tomatoes. It won't hurt the tomatoes, but my cilantro is in a shady area during the afternoon and it still bolts once the weather heats up. BUT, you could try it. Might as well, right? I have some dead ones in the herb garden now. They'll drop the seed and I'll have a nice crop once it cools down.

    That recipe looks great!

    Many people say that basil is a great companion for tomatoes. Dawn mentioned that she puts it with her tomatoes and never has hornworms.

    Unfortunately I put mine too close to the tomatoes and the plants are shaded out, so don't have much basil this year. Anyone see plants anywhere? I'm going to be sad when I'm checking the freezer for pesto this winter and have none. Note to self: check Lowes for basil plants.

  • HU-422368488
    5 days ago

    I might have some volunteer basil plants out east , i'll look.


  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7
    Original Author
    5 days ago

    We never got much rain, but after lots of rainy, drizzly crap for 2 days that never seemed like very much was falling at one time, we ended up with 7/10s of an inch in the rain gauge. I was hoping for more, but do appreciate every drop that fell. I also am glad we're not back under water like we were for most of the last year with

    Poblano peppers are rated between 1,500-2,500 Scoville Heat Units, so they generally are low-heat, but will be hotter in hot, dry weather....and will cool off again in cooler, wetter weather. I stopped growing them because we wanted tomatoes that had a nice amount of heat to them, so now we mostly grow just jalapenos, serranos and habaneros for hot peppers, and bell peppers for sweet peppers.

    Cliantro is cool season and will bolt in hot weather, but some years I grow papalo or culantro as hot weather substitutes for cilantro. They don't taste exactly the same as cilantro, but close enough.

    We prefer fresh pico as well, but will make and can salsa more for the winter time when the ingredients for pico are only available in grocery stores....and grocery store produce is not a favorite of ours, so we tend to just eat salsa in winter and pico during the fresh produce season.

    I scatter cilantro around the garden everywhere, with no rhyme or reason to it, just squeezing in plants wherever I can. It will bolt once your daytime highs start hitting 75 degrees, so its spring season is short here. I do the same with basil and many other herbs. I don't squeeze borage or comfrey into spaces like that---they are big, rampantly-growing monsters who need their own space, and both will use all their own space that you give them, and then they will use everybody else's space as well. I do believe that growing basil with tomato plants keeps the hornworms away because my yard and garden in general have oodles of hornworms, and yet they very rarely get on the tomato or pepper plants that are interplanted with basil. Most of my herbs reseed themselves, so I really don't plant them anymore---I just watch to see where they pop up in the spring time and then I dig up small volunteers and move them to where I want them to grow. It is a wonderful thing when your garden becomes a self-seeding garden and saves oodles of time. I can focus on growing a few things (tomatoes, peppers, etc.) from seed indoors to transplant out later, knowing all the herbs and most all the flowers reseed every year and make that part of gardening easy for me.

    The cooler temperatures are nice but....our dewpoint is 77 so even though our temperature is a relatively cool 87 degrees, our heat index is 11 degrees higher than that so it still feels awfully hot and muggy out there. Tomorrow is supposed to be simply awful, and then better weather returns for a few days after that. Still, whatever weather we are having now is not as bad as what we had a few weeks ago when the heat index values were in the 110-120 range, so that's something for which we all can be grateful.


  • Nancy RW (zone 7)
    4 days ago
    last modified: 4 days ago

    I also love pico de gallo, and I make it just like the link you showed HU, cept for measuring. lol I used Mr. Snow tomato and Arkansas Traveler for ours this evening, just to make it festively colored. I had frozen cilantro, both in ice cubes and in olive oil. I used the olive oil stuff today. I had frozen quite a bit of it, as I knew I would NOT have any in the hot summer. And there was this definitely not low-cal dip I made at the suggestion of a daughter. Velveeta, tomatoes, jalapenos, onion, hamburger. I'm sure some of you have probably made it--I never had. In fact, I don't think I've ever bought Velveeta before.

    I love having our cilantro forests now, as it so happily self-seeds. Planting it toward the end of August would allow it time to mature, and then you can have it all winter and let it go to seed in April/May--and then you can have it every year. Or at least it works for me. OSU says Aug. 1-15.

    I haven't done anything in our home garden, really. Pulled a few weeds, but mostly we are Weeds R Us, too, Dawn. I spent the morning mostly cutting back bee balm and echinacea, until it began raining again. We had half an inch yesterday, another half inch today. I cut up a tigger melon today and it was quite "mealy." That's no good. Did I leave it sitting on the counter too long? And I threw some more tomatoes in the freezer. We've been eating summer squash 3 times a week--at least. Always baked, with our buttered cracker crumbs and grated Parmesan. It's our favorite summer veggie. I've decided that whether I like okra or not, from now on will always grow the burgundy variety, just because it's such a beautiful plant. Maybe sweet potatoes, too. The ones at the school are phenomenal! Suzanne and John were so excited--they counted 20 swallowtail caterpillars on their clump of fennel. It's a nice-sized clump, but I don't think it will support 20 cats. I may have to take them reinforcements from here. It would work better to move the cats out here, but I know S&J would be sad. HJ, tell me about Armenian cucumbers. Do you peel them? I wasn't very happy with the ones I used to put with the vinegar dressing and onions. The cucumbers were kind of "tough." I hadn't peeled them. I'll try again with peeled ones. We're harvesting plenty from both here and the school. And plenty of okra at school. We're starting to have 2-3 kids in once a week now, just to have fun in the garden. And they do. Oddly, we have a fancy new playground on the other side of the school "yard," but the kids have stayed in the garden. How cool is that?

    Well, the tithonia lived. Yay tithonia! And the peppers are growing this week like they were given steroids. Speaking of steroids, both Jerry and Tiny got over their colds. Best of all, Tom didn't catch it! Tiny planned and successfully executed getting from the floor to our ceiling beams the other day. And zipped back up there today. I'm sure he thinks he is very smart, as he smugly looks down at the rest of us from his perch.

    I got my computer back. It apparently has been cured. Good to have it back. I like the Mac, but am not crazy about lap tops. I much prefer the big screen. I hope you all are taking care. Best.

  • hazelinok
    4 days ago

    Dawn, glad you got some rain. We only got 1.5 inches approx. It's not even muddy because we were so dry. But, guess what? I'm not dragging the waterhoses around today or tomorrow. For that I am grateful.

    The humidity today was awful. Jen came out around 6 and luckily it was cloudy so we didn't sweat to death.

    Nancy, Jen and I found swallowtail caterpillars on the dill in the kitchen garden this afternoon. Several of them.

    My Armenian cukes have always been tender and sweet. I harvest them small for personal eating. I don't peel them. If they get too big, they go to the chickens. Last year there were so many that I chopped them up and put them in the freezer for the chickens. I still had some this year and the chickens enjoyed the frozen treats on a hot day.

    Not sure why yours aren't good.

    AND I'm not sure why mine are so slow this year.

    Glad your kitties are okay, Nancy. Juno is going to the vet on Friday. Something is causing her to pee in unapproved peeing spots. Can't have that. At all. Hoping it's a simple UTI (not that I'm happy she's in pain, of course. )

  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7
    Original Author
    4 days ago

    Nancy, The classic Velveeta-Rotel dip with meat added is a staple at Chris' fire station, especially in fall and winter. They sometimes add hamburger meat, and sometimes add bulk pork sausage instead of ground beef and sometimes add a can of cream of mushroom soup when they are adding either the hamburger or sausage. They can make a crockpot full with all that extra stuff added and then eat it almost as a meal replacement.

    I just love that the kids prefer the school garden to the fancy new playground. I feel like school-aged kids, and probably many adults, are starved for true interaction with Mother Nature---the plants, the insects, all of it....somebody wrote a book once that suggested ADD and ADHD are greatly improved by adding the Great Outdoors to children's lives. That's some important food for thought right there.

    I'm glad Tom was able to stay healthy and that both Jerry and Tiny made full recoveries. Our Pumpkin is a climber like your Tiny. He is the only cat who routinely scales the 8' high garden fence. He thinks nothing of climbing a post, walking along the top piece of lumber that anchors the fence at the top, and then climbing down another post. Sometimes he just sits up there on top of the fence, surely feeling like he is lord and master of all that he surveys around him. He has the worst delusions of grandeur of any cat we've ever had. I am pretty sure Pumpkin thinks he rules the world, or at least his part of the world. He also is one of the few cats we've ever had who likes to climb a tree to get up on top of the house. Why? I don't know. Does a cat need a reason? Yellow Cat was the same way, but he usually got up on the porch roof of the house to escape from coyotes or bobcats and then he'd scream at a window and I'd open the window and let him inside. Once, I got him inside just seconds before a bobcat came around the corner of the roof and would have gotten him, but usually the bobcats just move on if a cat scampers up a tree and onto the roof.

    Mealy melons can be too old, had too much moisture while growing or...some melons are just prone to mealiness. Tigger isn't worth eating anyhow, lol, being so bland and all so I don't know if it is naturally mealy or not because we don't eat them. Tigger reminds me of the very old heirloom melon called Queen Anne's Pocket Melon, which is a bland and boring melon too, flavor-wise, but highly aromatic. Back in the era before daily showers and anti-perspirants/deodorants, women would carry a Queen Anne's Pocket Melon in their pockets sort of like a sachet partly to perfume themselves and partly to protect their senses from the awful odors around them. I feel like the only real use for Tigger or Queen Anne's Pocket Melon is to grow them as ornamentals to perfume the garden, yard or house, at which they excel. They look pretty similar, although when I grew Tigger it was a larger melon than Queen Anne's, but that might have been a weather difference because I grew them in different years. If only Queen Anne's and Tigger melons tasted as great as they look!

    I'm glad you got your computer back. I made the switch to a laptop 5 or 6 years ago and now it feels strange to sit at Tim's desk and use the desktop computer. I like the portability of the laptop.

    Jennifer, Any rain is better than none! I wish we both had gotten more, but then on the other hand, we'd be miserable if we had gotten the 5-8" that caused flooding in some areas. Nobody's gardens or yards benefit from that much rain at once. Today and tonight there's another chance for rain, so at least there's that. Unfortunately, most of OK is at risk for severe thunderstorms tonight, including hail and winds up to 80 mph. Our part of our county is too far south for me to think this actually will happen down here as the storms almost always peter out before they reach us, but I expect someone in OK who is further north than we are will get the nasty weather.

    I only like Armenian cukes harvested young and small for human consumption and think once they get too big their texture and flavor suffer. I will let them get gigantic though for the chickens and the deer, slicing them in half and putting them on the ground so the chickens can have a melon-pecking party. Then, the deer and coons come along at night and clean up whatever the chickens left behind. In 2011, which was the last year of Grandmother Deer's life as far as we know, she came to me daily and patiently waited while I put out icebox melons and Armenian cukes for her. I think those melons kept her alive that summer, and shortly after autumn arrived she disappeared and we never saw her again. Our next door neighbor, who passed away himself a few weeks ago, asked me in 2012 if I had seen her, and I told him not since September. He missed her too. I thought I was the only one who watched over her, but apparently he did too. She and her daughters had raised their babies at our place ever since we moved here, often leaving newborn fawns just outside the garden fence where I was working, while they went off and fed, and in her last couple of years of her life, Grandmother Deer made me nervous by following me around the yard. I would retreat indoors if she was getting too friendly and too close. I think she became addicted to summer melons and cucumbers, and was happy to give them to her. Just like an aging human or dog, she sort of shrunk down and got frail and thin as she aged. The melons pleased her so much once she was that old.

    Hopefully Juno only has a UTI and they can treat her and the inappropriate urination will stop. Sometimes a cat does that because it is upset about something else, I guess since they cannot speak to us, they show their displeasure in other ways.

    This past weekend we scored some 8' long pressure treated lumber to at least start the deck-building process. It is stored in the garage until we can accumulate enough of it to actually build a deck. Since 16' long pressure treated lumber is not expected to be back in the stores anytime soon (maybe not for the rest of this year), we will make do with whatever we can get. I am sure that we'll be out there again this weekend looking for more lumber. I think Tim said he needs 32 more boards of a certain size to build the deck as he has it drawn out on paper. I have no idea how long it will take us to find that much, but maybe we can find it in small amounts here and there, because no one has it in large amounts. We will remember 2020 as the year that the weather and corona virus-related shortages made it impossible to get anything done in the yard, I suppose. I hope that 2021 will be a better year. At this point if we only got the deck built this fall, at least we'd feel like we accomplished something. Once the deck is built, we can work on building pathways, raised beds and fencing. I'm hoping September weather cools down without getting too rainy so we can get some things done.

    A friend of ours killed a copperhead on his sidewalk the other day. He usually has more of them get into his garage and shop than we do, and I think that it is location-driven because there's big empty pastures across the road from him with the river west of them. This has not been the worst snake year ever...far from it...and I hope that doesn't change. I think we can count the number of venomous snakes we've encountered so far on one hand, and that is rare. At least two of the feral cats have disappeared and both of the were snakebitten before they disappeared, so I suspect they did not survive their snakebites.

    I'm just sitting here watching the noon news and our local TV met doesn't seem to think we will get much rain out of tonight's mess, especially our county. He isn't giving us much hope. lol. I'd rather he be honest, as he is, and not make us think we are going to get rain that isn't really going to arrive here in any sort of appreciable amount. Every day I watch the rest of OK getting rain on the radar and wonder what is wrong with us. Of course, what is wrong is that all of our rain fell between last October and this May. Since then, it has been fairly skimpy. If it isn't going to fall, then fine, we'll get to work on the yard.


  • Larry Peugh
    3 days ago

    It is really hard for me to stick my hand down among the plants in the garden. I have never seen a copperhead in the garden, but still dose not make me brave..

    It started raining pretty hard a few minutes ago, and now it is very light. I hope the rain last all night, but I am sure it wont, but I wont send any of it back.

    I did not do anything today, but I am still hurting from my waist on down. There is so much that I need to get done. I will say that there in not a lot of weeds in any of the gardens, but the lawn sure needs mowed. The mower is setting out in the lawn with a flat, I had been using it for a powered wheelchair to cut down on the number of steps I take in a day. That really seems to help in the long run. The tractors and lawn mower are life savers.

    The rain has already stopped. I went outside to turn on the electric fence around the south garden, and could see three deer just across the pasture fence. They didn't even run when they saw me. I looked like they were working their way to the north garden. It has a wire around it but it has not been turned on in 2 or 3 weeks. They had been eating around the fence till a few days ago, then had to step in to get a few peas. I noticed today that the peas needed to be picked. My best guess is that the deer plan on picking peas for me tonight. So far the deer are the only ones that have eaten peas this year.

    I am happy about my sweet potatoes. The deer got into the sweet potatoes a few nights ago, and when I was checking the damage I noticed that the soil was already mounding up around the plants. ( I have shallow soil). I could see that I already have sweet potatoes large enough to eat, with still another 2 months of growing season left. If I have plenty of mulch I dont notice the sweet potatoes pushing out of the soil, but that is not the case this year, I ran short on mulch this year, and it looks like next year will be just as bad.

    Note to self. Get the other fence charger hooked up on the north garden. The deer are going to clean me a spot to plant a fall garden tonight and I want to get something planted in that spot before it grows up.

    Good night all, its started raining again, and I sure like to sleep while it is raining.

  • hazelinok
    3 days ago

    I like to sleep while it rains too, Larry.

    Dawn, super happy you got some lumber!

    How did you know the feral cats were snakebitten?

    There wasn't much time for gardening today. We took the K to the science museum. There were two other "summer camps" there--so not crowded. Everyone over 2 had to wear a mask and they were policing that--even calling out people who had it under their noses.

    It was still fun. We got to take the masks off while eating lunch. They had all the different groups in certain areas...and eating at different times. And there were people EVERYWHERE cleaning. Many of the 'hands on" exhibits that would be difficult to clean after each use, were closed. Like the space capsule and wind tunnel--two of the coolest experiences.

    Then I had a late afternoon meeting at my other job. Just depressing.

    Picked up 2 chicks from Atwoods. A little irritated about that, but I'll explain more later. Forgot the pine shavings so ended up having to run back into town--but Moore this time--to get them.

    I had a few minutes left of daylight at that point, so grabbed the okra. Noticed that one of the watermelons had burst. The chickens got it, but I did taste it and it was sweet and good. I guess I left it on the vine too long.

    So far Momma Blossom has accepted the "after dark" move to the nursery. The chicks have been put under her now. So far so good. I did go out to check a few minutes ago and one of the chicks wasn't under her and was peeping it's head off. I put it back under her and all is well again. Not sure what happened, but she had moved slightly to the side of the brooder. I'm about to go check again. She was a good momma last year.

    After the vet visit, I'm not sure what I'll work on tomorrow. I would like to weed and pull out old plants. Clean up stuff a bit.

  • C Caldewey
    3 days ago

    Hazelinok, I grow my tomatoes in big plastic pots, and have a basil plant in each one and they're HUGE. Same thing last year. No bug problems with my tomatoes, but the rains caused some splits in my cherries.

  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7
    Original Author
    3 days ago

    Larry, We often have had copperheads and timber rattlers in the garden. I know they are there before I even see them because the little frogs and toads start disappearing. When I see them, I promptly leave the garden. My biggest fear is that one day a venomous snake will park itself between me and the garden gates and I won't be able to get to a gate to leave the garden. There's no way I could climb the 8' fence, so I guess I'd just be trapped in the garden unless I could reach my gun, which usually is somewhere in the garden with me, and shoot the snake. I abhor a weedy garden, but once the snakes pop up in or directly outside the garden, I abandon the weeding effort. It is just too risky. Some years we have those rough green tree snakes and I don't mind them. They are about the same color as canna leaves and will wrap themselves around a canna and sit there perfectly still waiting for something tasty to come along. They are almost sociable---they seem to like hanging around in the garden and don't flee when they see me. For a few years we had rat snakes occasionally. I think they were after the voles. We haven't had voles in the garden, as far as I know, in several years, and haven't seen a rat snake in the garden in several years. I hate most snakes. One year, and I think it was in 2015 when we had 78+" of rain, we had crayfish in the garden. They had holes in the garden paths that were filled with water and that's where they hung out. Within days, we also had Graham's Crayfish Snakes in the garden eating the crayfish. I'd never even seen one of those snakes before and haven't seen them since, and marveled at how quickly they learned there were crayfish in the garden and came in to prey upon them.

    We haven't had enough rain for the lawn to grow enough to be mowed. I think it has been 3 weeks since Tim mowed it. The Bermuda all had turned brown, but with this week's rain, it is greening up again so I guess it will grow now and we'll have to mow it.

    One of our neighbors had to start using a powered wheelchair in his latter years. For the longest time, he had used an ATV to get around while in his 80s, but finally got to the point where it was too risky getting in and our of it. He didn't want to fall and break a hip. He sure did use his powered wheelchair well though---for him it was a great tool. He took it out every morning to get around the yard and check on things, and to go to his chicken coop to gather eggs and to feed his chickens and guineas. That powered wheelchair allowed him to have pretty good mobility into his early to mid-90s. I hope your powered wheelchair allows you to get out and about and go things that are too hard to do without it.

    Jennifer, We found the semi-feral mama cat (the one who raised babies underneath our pickup last summer) near the pool, growling and in pain, and clearly snakebit. We couldn't see a snake in the twilight, but she was highly agitated as if it was still there and she was looking for it. We tried to get her to eat and drink, but she wouldn't. She'd recently had a litter of kittens elsewhere but came to our house every morning and evening to eat, so we couldn't lock her up in the house to try to help her heal. She left, headed south to go home to her babies, limping all the way, and we never saw her again so it is pretty clear she died. Whoever was sheltering her and her babies---I hope they found the kittens and bottle fed them. The second one was a feral kitten with fang marks on her rear paw. She was about 5 weeks old and her mama had disappeared several weeks earlier, but a male cat, probably the father, was here with her and her litter, looking after them. She was here limping around for a couple of days and then she too disappeared. We assume she went off and died. Often, when a cat has been bitten, there is swelling at the wound site and visible fang marks, and sometimes if it was a copperhead, there is a copper-colored rash. Our cat, Shady (half of the twin duo Slim and Shady) was bitten on his abdomen by a copperhead when he was a couple of years old. He developed the horrible copper-colored rash, and when he had healed and the rash went away, he was left with a scar where the rash had been, and hair never regrew in the scar area. He lived another dozen years after that, and he was lucky. Most cats don't survive a copperhead bite to the abdomen. Our worst snakebite cat was Ranger, bitten on the face, and temporarily paralyzed. It took about 10 or 12 days of intensive medical care by our vet (he is a cat specialist) to save her life, and when he let her come home, her eyes still were paralyzed wide open. He wasn't sure if that damage was permanent and said we'd have to wait and see. She slept in a closet with her face in the corner for several weeks---it was the only way she could get sleep with eyes wide open, and gradually regained the ability to close her eyes. You never could see the fang marks on her---just the swelling of her face. In our early years we lost more cats to snakebites, but rarely lose them nowadays. Feral cats are a different story---they roam far and wide and you cannot even catch them if they are hurt, though some of them will let you pet them briefly if you've been feeding them long enough that they trust you.

    It sounds like y'all had a fun outing with the kids. I long to take the grandkids someplace fun, but we still are playing it safe. The cases in their county and ours have skyrocketed in the month of July, so sticking close to home seems safest for all concerned. They are dying to go somewhere like the playground, the zoo or the movies and we are dying to take them, but we're waiting for conditions to get better. The playground or the zoo probably would be the first place we'd take them, but not just yet. Thankfully we have the swimming pool, which keeps them happily occupied in hot weather. Tim and I will go to the grocery store, feed store and Home Depot or Lowe's on the weekend, but always try to get out early and be in the stores first thing in the day before they get too busy. People in our part of OK are not doing that great of a job at wearing masks---we see a lot of them with their masks beneath their noses, for example, but they are a lot more serious about it in Texas--they have to be because the cases and numbers of death down there have exploded in the last 2 months, though we are seeing somewhat lower numbers of cases (but more deaths) down there this week. Tim has all of his employees back at work now except for two.

    We were speaking earlier about whether this year's flu season will be bad. I have been reading reports that down in the southern hemisphere where it is flu season, they are seeing substantially lower numbers of flu cases and experts think the cause is two-fold. First, the flu migrates around the world with world travelers, beginning in the spring, sort of sowing the seeds worldwide for the next flu season. With international travel basically shut down this spring/early summer, less people traveled so less flu got spread around. Secondly, wherever people are wearing masks and/or are locked down, flu transmission rates are low. So, what does that say about the upcoming flu season in the USA? I have no idea, and think it will depend on how many people are wearing masks and for how long. Based on how Covid-19 has spread this summer in the USA, I'm not convinced enough people are wearing masks properly to halt flu transmission either. I guess in a few months we'll know one way or another. I've been stocking up on cold and flu medications in case it is a bad flu season. Last year, with only the flu known to be here in the Jan/Feb time frame, you still couldn't find any cold/flu medication, hand sanitizer or wipes in the local stores and that was pre-Covid-19. This was at a time when both colds and the flu, plus a very bad and very widespread stomach virus, were making the rounds through the local schools and communities. It seemed like everyone was sick. So, I'm not taking any chances and already have bought and put away what we need for the 2020-21 cold and flu season in case we have a repeat of that again this winter. It isn't like there's that much hand sanitizer in the stores yet, and what is there is unknown brands that are hard to trust. There's not many cleaning wipes either, though we found some at Sam's Club recently and also at Costco when we went there on July 5th, so I have those stored away---enough to last us all winter I think. We always carry Wet Ones in the cars, but those are hard to find now, so I keep packages of baby wipes and hand sanitizer in the cars so we can clean off our hands after being inside a store. Jana's hospital is pretty full of sick people, but she is very careful and has so far stayed healthy, for which we are grateful. I worry about her being exposed to the virus, but she rarely works on the Covid floor, so there is some separation between her and the folks ill with it.

    It rained last night. The rain was the most minor part of the storm, which was more of a wind event than anything else. We had lots of thunder and lightning, so Jersey had to go hide in the master bedroom closet, which is her safety place when there is thunder. I got the cats in, and the dogs outside to the dog yard and back in again, just before the storm hit. I hurried the chickens into the coop an hour earlier than usual and closed it up just as the strong wind was arriving. I fed the feral kittens and cats and then brought the empty dishes inside to wash them just as the raindrops arrived. I was worried Tim wouldn't beat the storm home, but he got home about the time the wind was tearing his precious pool cover off the pool. Later, after the windstorm had lessened, he saw a gray shape floating in the pool and thought a feral kitten had fallen in---he went running outside to check on it, and it was Mr. Shark (the pool's floating chlorine dispenser, lol). Normally you don't see Mr. Shark at night because he is underneath the pool cover. Many people here lost power---most of them north of us, but a few of them south of us down in Thackerville. We never lost power here at our house (and that is typical, even when others near us lose theirs), but when I went to bed last night, about 15,000 people in southern OK were without power, and at least 1500 of those were in our own county. Wind gusts varied during the storm from the 40s to the low 80s (in the Paul's Valley and Davis areas), so lots of trees came down, limbs came down, power poles and power lines came down, etc. We only got a half-inch of rain, but we so thrilled to get even that much.

    I'm looking forward to the cooler temperatures we are supposed to have for the next few days. Tim and I plan to be out tomorrow looking for the rest of the lumber we need to build the deck. We'd like to wait until we have all the material to build it before we to start building so we can finish it all in one or two weekends, but if we don't find more lumber on Saturday, we might start building the first section on Sunday anyway. I'd love to be out plant shopping, but the deck is the priority now, to be followed by building beds and fencing, so additional plant shopping can wait until fall. Anything in the stores now probably is really struggling in the heat anyway. The nurseries and garden centerrs down here do not put many plants on clearance like the stores up in central OK seem to---they hang on to them until well into autumn. They will put plants on clearance if they have been neglected and are on the verge of death, but I won't buy a plant that is more dead than alive.

    Have a great day everyone. I think the temperatures might be bearable for once, here, on the last day of July. It is strange to think that August begins tomorrow. This summer has been so odd that it doesn't really feel like it should be August already.


  • jlhart76
    3 days ago

    HJ so graciously let me come get some tomatoes so after I hate a few handfuls I put the rest in the dehydrator. Sliced in half, they filled two trays. Almost as good as having my own harvest.

    My dad & his wife bought a golf cart for their property. They have maybe 2 acres cleared, so it makes it easy to get around. Especially hauling stuff, they can hook up the little trailer to it & manage small loads. Since we're planning our next house to be our final move, I'm planning the garden with accessibility in mind. I want water spigots at the corner of each bed so I don't have to drag hoses, high raised beds that I can sit on the edge & work, a sturdy garden seat that's low enough to use but easy enough to stand back up, & some sort of vehicle to haul stuff as needed.

  • hazelinok
    3 days ago

    Jen, when you want more, come on out. And, in a way, they are sort of your tomatoes too. You gave me the seed for at least half of them.

    It was almost chilly here this morning and I like it. I went out at 6:15 to check the mom and chicks...and to open their broody box so they could come out for food and water. Momma isn't letting them out yet, but I snuck the one remaining fake egg out from under her, so maybe she'll take them to eat and drink soon. They're already 2 or 3 days old because she didn't actually hatch them last night, but she doesn't know that. SO, they probably need to eat and drink soon.

    That's sad about the feral cats, Dawn. Nature isn't always pretty or kind.

    Juno had blood in her urine, so is now on antibiotics.

    And...I still haven't made a plan for the day. I should do that soon or I might just sit here and fall asleep.

  • Larry Peugh
    3 days ago

    We got rain last night, but not enough to make puddles, but it did soften the ground so could do some much needed weeding. I dont ever remember my garden being this weed free at this time of the year. I am not saying its clean, just better than normal.

    The deer did not hit my north garden like I thought they would last night. I expect they did not hit the south garden either, because I turned the electric fence on before I went to bed. I have not checked the south garden of the wildlife garden yet. The wildlife garden has to be changed before next year. I have to get all the area I want to use for food in one spot so it is much easier to string an electric fence around it. The large brush pile has to go, it is just a critter den. I sorta liked the idea of a critter den when I was setting the areas up, but this Covid thing has me thinking more about food more for me than the critters. I will still plant things for them, but not as much, and not as close to my food.

    For any of you that are thinking about something to make life easier in old age, I would like to suggest a small 4 wheel drive tractor. That is if you have a very large lot of a little land, they are a real life saver. One reason I like the small tractor is that you can get so many attachments for them. The little ones are not very hard to get on and off. I plan on building an extra ramp or extra steps to help me get on and off when that time comes. The zero turn mower is a life saver also. I have a handrail across the front of mine to aid in getting on and off. The neat thing about a zero turn is, they will go almost anywhere they can get traction. They do not do well in a ditch at all ! I have had mine stuck many times, then I have to go get the tractor to pull it out of a ditch that had a wet, muddy bottom. My neighbor bought a new small John Deere a few weeks ago and loves it. It has a front end loader, drive-over mower deck, a 4' tiller, disk, and a few other attachments. He has a much nicer place than I do, and much more money.

  • luvncannin
    3 days ago

    This is my new helper. She will be here next week while I am in ft worth.

  • Larry Peugh
    3 days ago

    Kim, that seat look really nice I have wanted one for a long time, but I think my junkie garden would be hard to get around in. If I had raised beds or wider spaces between the rows, that would be milch free I think I could use one better. I have 3 rubbermaid low stools and harbor freight stool that I use. I like the Harbor freight stool much better than the rubbermaid stools because it has become harder for me to get up from the low plastic stool. The harbor freight stool is made of aluminium, it stays in the garden just like the other stools, and I expect it will last longer, but it cost about 2 or 3 times what the plastic stools cost. I have a folding, sitting/ kneeling gardening stool, but it has stayed out in the weather and the wood in the seat is rotted. I will have to tear it apart and redo the seat. I want to buy another Harbor Freight stool, when, and if I am in Ft. Smith again and they are selling the stool for $20.00 again.

    I just called the Greenwood Farmers Co-op, and still no fall gardening seed in stock yet.

    It just started raining again, I am sure happy to see the rain. I dont think it will last long, but if we get enough of these pop-up showers it will sure help the gardens. I cleared out a spot large enough to plant arugula this morning. Its still a little early to plant a lot of the fall stuff, plus if I had some young plant coming up the insects would eat them. I have some very happy birds in the garden, and I really enjoy watching them. The Mocking are jerks, but so much fun to watch. I can start up a tractor or lawn mower, and here they come, trying to find an easy meal. If you get in an area that they dont want you there, they dont mind letting you know.

    Well it has stopped raining now, it was short, but sweet.

  • luvncannin
    2 days ago

    I so enjoyed the garden today. I spent an hour and a half before sitting and two hours after.

    I am officially a granny nanny

    best job I ever had. Now I am there four day’s a week it’s easier to keep up with the garden.

    planted several things to day and will finish planting on Sunday.

    my grandson is such a great help when he wants to be.

    he is in charge of the garden. We made him a chart that he can read and he is so excited. I told him pray for rain so he doesn’t have to water as much.

    I need to find rain gauge so he can keep track if we get rain. I will be calling every day and check in. It can’t be worse than my daughter lol

  • slowpoke_gardener
    2 days ago

    The deer ate the cover off my sweet potatoes. I noticed that they were ahead of normal, It is the first of August, two more months of growing season. Will I need to dig early this year?

    I had trouble getting slips on time last year. This year I placed small potatoes in a tray of very damp potting soil and placed on a heat mat and had slips sooner than I wanted.

  • Lynn Dollar
    2 days ago

    About cilantro and shade ........ I've got this spot on the south side of the house. Its normally filled with volunteer zennia , but this year I did not get a lot of volunteers. I'm thinking about planting cilantro here.

    The eave of the house will keep it shaded at the Summer Soltice, when the sun is straight up and down. The zennia always has to lean out to get sun. But I'm thinking if cilantro does not like hot weather, then it won't really need sun in June and July.

  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7
    Original Author

    Jen, Everyone here with big pieces of property seems to have utility vehicles of one sort or another. We don't. We just walk everywhere and consider it good exercise, but we can pull a cart behind the riding mower if we need to move something heavy. This evening I had to do a little hippity hop over a small non-venomous snake in the driveway, and I laughingly said to myself that I just got 30 seconds worth of aerobic exercise. Then, Tim had to act like a 6-year-old boy poking and prodding at the snake, and I kept asking why he couldn't just leave the poor little thing alone. Why does seeing a snake turn a 60-something year old man into a little boy again?

    Jennifer, Poor Juno---wishing your kitty a fast recovery. It wasn't exactly chilly here but it was nice---in the upper 60s before the sun came up. It warmed up fast and Tim started telling me how hot and miserable it was, and there I was thinking it was pretty nice out there. Perhaps the difference is that he is in a climate-controlled office all day long every day during the work week so he doesn't experience/perceive the heat the same way those of us who are outdoors do. Even later in the day he told me it was too hot, and it was 82 degrees. When I pointed that out, he said it must be the heat index, so I checked that and it was 84. I thought it felt really good and he didn't think that at all. Maybe his Yankee blood is betraying him...after almost 4 decades of living in TX and OK.

    Falling asleep would have been okay---sometimes a person just needs a good nap!

    Larry, Those little pop-up showers always miss us. I watch them fly by on the radar and sigh. I've given up wishing and hoping for one to hit us. We had great rainfall back on July 1st or 2nd, but then everything missed us until this week so we were really dry. It felt good to get some rain again, and I'm sure it won't last long. I still had to hand-water containers this morning.

    My garden is weedier than usual. I plucked a few weeds while hand-watering nearby containers this morning, but it is so snakey that weeding is risky now, and I'm not going to risk my safety by doing hard core weeding. With a garden surrounded on three sides by trees, we just have too many snakes slithering into the garden for me to let my guard down. Every time I hear a conservationist type person proclaim that timber rattlers are rare and endangered, I just roll my eyes. Here at our place, I see them more often than I see any other type of snake most years, so the timber rattler population seems plenty healthy to me in this part of the country. I'd be happy to see a lot less of them.

    I think Tim's next mower will be a zero-turn. I notice he is looking at them a lot nowadays, probably just waiting until the old mower finally dies. We have a dear friend who was a John Deere repairman for several decades, and he was the busiest person I've ever seen---he literally could have worked 24/7 and never, ever caught up on all the repair tickets, and he was busy year-round, not just in the traditional growing season. That made me think twice about buying a John Deere. We had a John Deere push mower and it was the absolute worst piece of garbage in the form of a mower that we've ever had---it was constantly broken and we bought a different mower to replace it after less than 2 years.

    Kim, That looks nice, but when I look at those in stores and compare them to where my body would be if seated on one of those in my own garden, I think I'd have to bend over so much, like it would put me higher than I needed to be if I was weeding or mulching or planting in the raised beds or, even worse, at grade level. It wouldn't be bad if I was harvesting from plants 2-3 feet above the ground. You'll have to let us know how yours works out for you.

    Larry, I bought all my seeds for 2020 and 2021 back in February and March since I wasn't sure what the Covid-19 supply chain issues would mean for gardeners since most seeds are grown overseas nowadays. I'm not sorry I did that either. I don't have to worry what the stores do or don't have in stock. The fall seeds always seem to show up in the stores here in August, so maybe they'll be in stock soon in the stores near you. I haven't seen any at the stores here yet, but then, with Covid-19 around, we aren't in the stores as often as usual either.

    Kim, I'm glad being a granny nanny is working out for all of you and for the garden too. It seems like a win-win situation.

    Larry, I think they'll hold until whenever you did them. I've had them pop up early like that some years, and I just throw more dirt over them and ignore them and harvest them at the usual time. You can get some big monster potatoes the longer they are left in the ground, so if you don't want them big, harvest them whenever it pleases you to do so.

    Lynn, Cilantro bolts once temperatures hit 85 degrees, so it likely won't be growing much in summer, especially on the south side of the house where sunlight may reflect off the house and onto the soil and heat it up more. It will grow great in spring, fall and part of winter. If you can cover up your cilantro in winter when the temperatures are dropping below 20 degrees at night, you can keep it growing for quite a while into winter, especially warm winters. A lot of folks here in southern OK sow new cilantro seeds successively every 2 or 3 weeks from fall into winter so they always have new plants coming along to give them a constant supply of cilantro. Cilantro's leaves will need some sunlight in order for photosynthesis to occur in order to fuel plant growth, but I've grown it in as little as 4 hours of morning sun, and then in shade the rest of the day in the warm season.

    I didn't really garden today, other than going out very early just after sunrise to water all the container plants. The hummingbirds were at the feeders before the sun came up. When I was opening the drapes and raising the blinds at the dogs' favorite window where they like to sit and watch the world go by, we had 3 hummingbirds at one feeder and 2 at another and they were busy easy and zipping around. I don't usually notice them quite that early but they seemed hungry this morning. Perhaps they are fueling up for the migration south that will begin soon.

    The deer were out back waiting for me to bring them deer corn this morning. They are greedy and impatient, but if I feed them deer corn, they leave the wild birds' food and the hen scratch alone for the most part, so I feed them.

    We found more pressure-treated lumber for the new deck, so now we have about 75% of what we need. Tomorrow we need to remember to get all the hardware. The building supply section of Home Depot really seemed reloaded today, as if maybe they'd had some good deliveries since last weekend but most of what they had gotten in seemed to be drywall, tons and tons of drywall, and interior lumber, not the pressure-treated lumber. I was so excited about finding the long-sought pressure-treated lumber that I completely forget to go outside and see what was in the garden center which, in this particular store, is at the opposite end of the building. This particular store (the next closest HD to us is 60 miles away so we don't go that far often) is small and often doesn't have a very good selection, so finding anything has been challenging this year, but I also know that finding pressure-treated lumber for yard projects is an issue nationwide. I guess everyone who's been staying home more has been busy improving their yards and gardens.

    Today's weather was awesome. I hope it lasts awhile. Tim was not as impressed with the weather as I was, but he works in air conditioning all day and I think he forgets how awful the August heat normally is. It is hard to believe it is August.


  • jlhart76

    HJ, I may take you up on it! I'm still waiting for my "bumper crop" of fall tomatoes to start blooming. Think I'm out of luck this year.

    The husband is gone playing animal transporter so I'm home with our pups & 3 guests. Sadly that means I can't do much in the garden this weekend. And Monday I've desperately got to mow; grass is getting ridiculously high. I may take the squirt gun out back & try to mow tomorrow (we got cheap super soakers & they are surprisingly effective at containing overactive puppies). Otherwise I'll be out there early Monday trying to get at least the front done before the yard police come through to bug us.

  • dbarron

    I mowed last night, and it wasn't too bad (less than 80..but close to that). I did the back yard and gotta do the front today. I seldom do both in one day, I'm kinda lazy that way and feel one is enough. The thing that takes the most effort is moving the 40 or 50 pots that live in my two pot jungles. I found that lifting and moving them, so I can mow where they were...is more exercise than mowing the whole yard (even though it's a push mower).
    At least the front has only planted plants and the garden hose as obstacles.

    We've received probably 1.5 inches of rain in the last five days, so I fear I will have at least one more mowing ahead..because the grass is green again.

    Don't get me wrong, i'm grateful for the rain, but I wouldn't have minded greatly if the grass stayed dead.

    I've began (only one so far) picking tomatillos from my one bush as of late this past week, hopefully get at least enough at one time (soon) to make salsa. They're not very big, but there's 10-20 on the bush currently.

    Oh and the pot jungle, I look at it and realize it's composed of houseplants summering outside and perennials that I sowed this year, which due to size weren't ready to be put in the landscape until this year's vigorous overgrowth of their neighbors wouldn't have choked them out (plus need to water them individually vs in pot jungle). Looking forward to September or maybe October when they can take their permanent places and no longer be in little pots. Maybe next year, I don't start seeds, because things are kinda full you know? All I'm hoping next year is some zinnias (which failed this year..because someone started them early in pot and they never recovered from it..bloomed and died at 3-4 mini-inches tall) and scarlet runner beans (which I have blooming now, but no signs of any beans...but then no cross-pollination, because only one hill made it to maturity), both of which are annuals and I will have learned my lesson and simply direct sow them.

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