Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Heat Wave and No Rain

It's not a pretty combination, and frankly there aren't enough rain barrels in the world to compensate for a long-term lack of rain.

We're at the pivotal growing point where lack of water can really impact the amount of produce that comes out of the garden. No rain = no blossoms = no tomatoes-no cukes - no squash - no peppers.

The container garden is doing somewhat better than the big garden in the yard, probably because I have the big water barrels up here and it's much easier to carry water for them.

The Scottish heather is just about to bloom -you know we had to have lots of Scottish heather.

The Monarda are just slightly past their peak - the butterflies have been stopping by and clustering on the flowers.

The bees are next door at the Provence Lavender. It seems to continously blossom. Not really enough to cut and dry, but enough to enjoy. Next year I may give up on vegetables and just grow herbs.

One yellow tomato is almost ready (Golden Jubilee), but you can see the effects of lack of moisture. The tomato leaves start to roll upward, sortof like a taco shell. And these have been watered, but the afternoon heat dries them out as fast as I can add water to them.

Still, the Roma's have blossoms coming, so maybe all is not lost.

But the Mr. Stripey's (my favorite), while loaded with fruit, are having a difficult time with the actual stalks and leaves. They may or may not make it. Tomatos are very sensitive to inconsistencies as far as water goes. They prefer being watered once or twice a week, and having lots of warm sun in between. Unfortunately, with no rain and intense 90 degree heat, they need some water almost daily, meaning the gardener has to find that fine line of water/heat that makes them happy.

Of course, the inedible coleus' are doing fine. Wonderful. Peachy. At the very top right, see those red/green leaves ? Those are the seedlings that were a couple inches tall a week or so ago.

The hanging coleus basket is doubling in size, and the new leaves are coming out brighter than the old ones, with a yellow patch at their center.

Nessie is still watching my boxwood basil (big afro of a plant on the right -just brush it and you smell like basil the rest of the day. Who needs perfume?). In the same pot, to the left, is lemon basil - the scent is exactly like cutting open a raw lemon. Green peppers further to the left, loving the hot sun, and their roots in that black pot.

The basic rule to remember with a container garden is: water. In the heat we're having here in Virginia (upper 80's and lower 90's and higher) and with no rain in sight, containers will need water everyday. Ignoring them for even a day can mean the loss of a plant (particularily vegetables).

Herbs of course are exempt from this rule. Herbs, after all, are beneficial weeds, and could care less what humans do.

Next year, I may plant only herbs. It's much less nervewracking.


  1. Love all the pictures - and the herbs and coleus look great.

  2. You have now officially sold me on trying my hand at coleus. I will have to find some to plant!