Saturday, July 30, 2011

It's still way too hot here.

One day of a little rain but other than that it's been pretty miserable.

I've gotten a bit done this week -- I planted the other blueberry and the three hostas. Watering every day (sometimes twice a day), along with icing and shade cloth, has kept the blueberries alive, but the first one is about to drop its leaves.

I lost a few of the strawberry plants, too, but the daylilies seem to be doing a bit better. Several of them had leaves drying up. The cabbages seem to have established nicely, as well as the rosemary.

I also planted some basil, one plant behind the magnolia, the other off to the side in my established herb bed. Both seem to be doing fine, but they're in partial shade.

I'm beginning to think that I should plant like I did back in southern California -- with summer being the "dead" season. I know how to keep things alive over the winter with protection, but in this drought keeping plants alive over the summer is becoming a challenge.

If you're new to overwintering, this is the time to start thinking about it here in the North. I completely recommend this book Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long. If you have winters that drop below freezing, it's a fantastic resource.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Hot hot hot

I don't think it has gotten below 100F for the high point of the day in several weeks now, which is quite unusual for here. It did rain once (you can imagine the humidity!!) but that was a while ago. You go outside after about 10 am and you feel like you've walked into an oven.

I put in the second blueberry bush yesterday. Before I put it in, it had been sitting by the garage in the shade -- today it looked at me as if to say, "what is going on here?!?" so I put shade cloth over it like I had already done for the first one.

A friend of mine is putting ice around her plants at night and watering in the morning to keep them alive, so I've started doing that for these blueberries. We'll see what happens.

Is it unusually hot and dry where you are? What are you doing to keep your plants alive?

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Discouraging week

Never fear, the blueberry plants are fine. :)

But for some reason, the company that is re-doing our street (it's going from a private to a public street) has gone into a frenzy of digging drainage ditches in everyone's front yards without warning. In as they didn't even tell the HOA they were going to do this.

So I look outside one day to find my planter GONE. Only a pile of bricks and some twisted rebar remain.

The only consolation, if you want to call it that, is that other people have had damage to their property as well.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Interesting week

As in the Chinese way of "interesting".

I have these plants in my pond waterfall, and I wondered if they might be edible. So I investigated, and discovered that they are! They are called elephant ear, or taro, and the tubers are edible when cooked. Millions of people eat these!

So I had too many in my waterfall, and it was sucking the water out of the pond because it has been so freaking hot lately, so I pulled one out, and cut off the leaves, and cleaned off the tuber, cooked it like a potato, peeled it and took a bite.

It tasted to me like a cross between cucumber and celery. Pretty good, actually. I was feeling encouraged -- I had a ton of this really tasty stuff, just growing in my waterfall. Amazing!

And that's when it all went wrong.

I was just swallowing this tasty treat when my mouth felt like a thousand mosquitoes with fire stingers had attacked the inside of my throat. I dropped the piece in my hand and rushed to the mirror -- my throat was beet red and swollen, 30 seconds after eating one tiny bite.

Short story is that I'm fairly allergic to this particular plant. I took Benadryl for days while this little bite ran its way through my system, and I was kicking myself the whole time.

I seriously could have died. And other than sneezing at pollen, I've never had any kind of allergy, to food or otherwise. Needless to say, I've been giving away plants on Freecycle again.

The really stupid part is that I know better. I know how to test for allergy, how to acclimatize myself to new foods. I thought that because I've never been allergic to any food that I didn't have to follow those rules.

In other news, I planted one of my blueberry bushes. It doesn't like the heat, but it seems to be still kicking. Just like me.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Pomegranate day

This week I went to the local nursery and picked up some hostas, two blueberry bushes and an pomegranate bush, all ones that are supposed to do well here in zone 7a. Well, today my husband and I got the pomegranate tree in the backyard.

These have orange-red flowers and bright green leaves (and thorns, so I mulched well so I won't have to weed!) I've wanted one of these since I moved here, because I love pomegranates and I miss the tree we had back in California. Hopefully this one will do well. :)

Related page:
What Types Of Trees Should You Use In Edible Landscaping?
You Can Have Edible Garden Hedges!