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July Garden Update

Adventures of Old Nebraska Dave

This summer, time has just gotten away from me. Here it is July already with 100 days of frost-free gardening left for my area. Everything looks good except for the tomatoes. The plants are looking good, but the tomatoes are only the size of a golf ball. These are supposed to be regular-sized tomatoes. The first ripe tomato was today and it had a bad spot where I suspect a hail stone hit. We've had three hail storms since the first of May and high winds up to 100 mph in some parts of the city. Tree cleanup is still in progress a week after the event. The spring here was cold and wet so the warm weather plants are weeks behind where they are supposed to be.

Weeds

This is what happens when a gardener goes away for 10 days. My granddaughter in Las Vegas graduated high school, so a 10 day trip was in order to enjoy the celebration of graduation and visit my family there. My parents made the first move 20 some years ago. Then my sister followed a couple years later, and when my kids graduated from high school they moved there as well. So the pressure is on for me to move there. I moved away once to St. Louis for seven years and vowed never to move away from Nebraska again when I returned. Yes the weather is hot and muggy in the summer and freezing cold in the winter, but I just like the different seasons. There's very distinct seasons here with each being just what the season should be. When one season gets tiring, the next is right there to take its place. No, this is where I'll stay until my dying day.  Besides, gardens don't grow in Las Vegas. The soil is nothing but rocks, gravel, spiders, and snakes. And lets not forget the sun that gets so hot that anything plastic melts and milk from the store sours on the way home if not put in an ice chest. It's just not for me to live there.

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Less than an hour's work and the pathway is cleared of the nasty weeds. This grass will mature with the Velcro seed head that sticks to anything cloth, especially shoe laces. Not only that but it re-seeds itself with thousands of seeds.

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The fences are all in place and the corn is tasseling in the first bed. This year I have four beds of corn planted two weeks apart. This is the first bed and I'll be eating corn before the end of July. Last year I had two beds of sweet corn, so I'll be munching twice as long as last year. I may even freeze some for winter eating.  

This is the squash planted from store-bought squash. A friend of mine gave me the seeds to plant from a squash she bought from the grocery store. My plan was to let them cross over the path of one bed and into the sweet corn bed next to it. So far that plan seems to be working. From watching how the vine plants grew the last five years, I discovered that because the full sun was from 6 a.m. to about 4 p.m., most of the sun came from the east and the vines would crawl toward the east and not so much to the west. I did have to clip a couple of rogue vines but, as expected, the vines crawled to the east. Observation in a garden can make life much easier sometimes. A line of cucumbers were planted along the backside of the squash and a leaning fence was provided for them to crawl up over the squash plants. When I was gone, the cucumber growth was prolific and they should have been trained up on the fence grid, but instead started growing in with the squash. I did get a few cucumbers to climb the leaning fence, but I'm not certain that I succeeded with them all. So far I haven't seen any damage from the dreaded vine borer, but the damage comes in about another couple of weeks if it's going to happen. I'm hoping the cucumber and squash mix will confuse the little white fly and the squash and cukes will be safe from the nasty killer worm.

The tomato plants are looking good, but don't have many blooms and the tomatoes that are ripening are very small. They have had a rough go of it this year by surviving three hail storms and a severe wind storm. The spring was a cold, wet one and not favorable for warm weather plants.

Potatoes are just past the flowering stage. Some folks pick off the flowers, but I usually don't. I tried that a couple years ago and couldn't really tell a difference in the harvest. The vines are starting to dry up, so the potatoes will be harvested toward the end of July. I so like the early potatoes. The taste buds will be enjoying sweet corn and potatoes before long.

What all are you enjoying from your garden? I hope everyone is having a great garden year.  Be well, drink lots of fluids, and get ready for an abundant harvest.