Monday, June 14, 2010

Hail Danger

Ok, so I took these pictures a few days ago (6/11) and it's taken me this long to ACTUALLY get them posted here but I guess better late than never? It's still pretty accurate anyway.

We had a little shift in the weather this weekend. We went from hot and dry to cold and damp with the cold being ushered in by some wicked thunderstorms. Before the front arrived, I tried to cover the garden as best I could, just in case. I've got my usual sheer curtains and it doesn't show in the photo but I've also added some old window screening to some of the smaller spots. I'll need to take that back off soon as I think it shades the plants more than the sheers do. I also quickly re-assembled the tomato trellis-structure. Over the top I have a double layer of chicken wire, slightly offset. Once the tomatoes get taller, I won't be able to use my hoops. I hope if big hail comes along the wire might save the plants. Of course, it can still come in the sides- I have some more sheer fabric I can wrap around the whole bed.

Sometimes I wonder if all this covering is pointless since if big nasty hail comes along, it will shred that fabric tout de suite, but I do think it's worth a try at least. I do think it helps the plants avoid the battering from the more likely pea-sized hail.

We were fortunate again in this last round of storms, we got some much-needed rain and we only saw very small hail. Some other areas of Colorado were much less fortunate. There was talk of golf and tennis ball sized hail in other areas.

The Red Pontiacs in the potato bin are showing good growth lately. I did add some more mulch the other day but I don't think the bin is going to end up very tall this year. The potatoes are showing flower buds this week and I suspect once flowering begins, top growth will likely end. I did get them into the ground somewhat late this year.

I'm not having much summer squash success so far. First, I started the seeds indoors WAY too early. When I planted them out, the zucchini didn't make it (I suspect high wind brought their demise). I planted seeds which should have sprouted by now I think but there's no sign of them. I'm pre-sprouting a few more just to check the seed which is new this year- I just opened the package to direct sow more. The originals were 2008 seed. The cucumbers seem stagnant too and seeds are slow to sprout there as well. I replanted those the other day.

This poor squash is the saddest story of them all. While watering the non-sprouting seeds the other day I noticed one of my pretty pattypans looked wilted. I hadn't watered them for a couple days and thought perhaps that one was dry. I gave it a drink & left the garden. The next day, it looked sadder still. When I looked closely at the stem, it was a bad scene.

Yep, those little white strings are all that's left of it's stem. I'm not sure of the culprit but when I pulled back the mulch I saw several of my little roly-poly pillbug "friends". I am hesitant to blame them since by the time I looked closely, the plant was dying but I've read stories from those who think they do eat live plants too. Something has also been snacking on the bean cotyledons. I haven't spied that culprit yet.

On a happier note, the lettuce are finally growing big enough to harvest some leaves. I harvested the mustard greens after my last post as the plants were sending up flower buds. I flicked off 5 or 6 caterpillars and found a couple more when I was washing them, but I'm quite sure I got them all off. After I took this photo, I snipped off all the leaves that were big enough to eat. I normally would have let them grow a little bit bigger but I decided to harvest them, just in case the hail really did come this time. At least this way, I got to eat some!

After a cool few days (highs in the 50's), we should be closer to 80 tomorrow (technically, that's today, it's a little late tonight). Hopefully I'll get the perennials & herbs on my front porch planted this week. I hoped to do it today but another thunderstorm rolled through shortly after I went outside. While I'm sure my mild fear of lightening comes from an early childhood incident , I've heard enough stories of local people being struck by lightening in the past couple years, I don't stay outside much when the thunder starts. Like the weatherman says - "When thunder roars -get indoors"!!

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